In the Netherlands a survey was conducted to estimate the prevalence of paratuberculosis in dairy herds. In total 15822 cows of at least 3 years of age, belonging to 378 herds were tested using an absorbed ELISA. Of these herds, 55% (n=207) had one or more serologically positive cows. Of the positive non-vaccinated herds, most had one (n=98) or two (n=49) positive cows. The percentage positive cows per herd was 2.5+/-3.2%.The true prevalences on cow and herd levels, based on a test sensitivity that ranged from 0.3 to 0.4 and a specificity that ranged from 0.985 and 0.995, were estimated at 2. 7-6.9% and 31-71%. Seven herds had been vaccinated against paratuberculosis and these herds had a significantly higher percentage of serologically positive cows (23%) than the non-vaccinated herds (2.5%). In conclusion, a small percentage of the dairy cows and a high percentage of the dairy herds in the Netherlands is serologically positive. The percentages true infected cows and herds are difficult to estimate precisely due to uncertainties in test sensitivity and specificity.