Europe's population is becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, and epidemiological studies indicate that there are remarkable differences in cardio-metabolic risk factors between ethnic groups living in the same area. Variations observed in the distribution of cardiovascular risk factors in these communities may therefore help explain-at least in part-the different burdens on cardiovascular diseases. So far, the underlying pathophysiology leading to ethnic variations in the prevalence of cardio-metabolic risk factors is still poorly understood but it is likely to represent the complex interactions from several innate and environmental factors. Tailored prevention and treatment strategies should therefore be implemented in those "high-risk populations," but data derived from randomized clinical trials are still limited. This article will provide an overview on the role of ethnicity on cardio-metabolic risk factors and cardiovascular diseases, focusing on type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia based mainly on Dutch and British data.