Background: Ommoord District residents of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, age 55 and older, completed a two-stage interview to assess the risk factors for chronic disease and disability. Methods: In the in-home Stage I interview (N = 7,983), demographic data and medical history were collected by a trained lay interviewer. During Stage II, a physician interview and examination were conducted at the study center. Subjects (N = 7,129) were asked about their history of psychiatric disorders and 6,596 responded. Results: The lifetime prevalence of self-reported psychiatric disorders was 5.44% for unipolar and bipolar depressive disorders combined, 0.27% for psychotic disorders, 0.08% for alcoholism, 0.05% for drug addiction, and 3.71% for other diagnoses. Residents reporting a psychiatric diagnosis of depression were more likely to be currently taking an antidepressant medication (p < .001) and an antipsychotic medication (p < .0001), to be in current outpatient treatment (p < .001), to have been hospitalized for psychiatric illness (p < .001), to have undergone electroconvulsive treatments (p < .001), and to report a history of having made suicide attempts (p < .001). Conclusion: The self-reported lifetime prevalence of affective disorders was similar to the rates found in the Stirling County Study (Canada) and the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Survey (United States). The lower prevalence rates of the other psychiatric disorders may reflect underreporting or an age cohort effect, or may be due to the nonresponse bias.