"The two cultures", a concept launched by C.P. Snow in 1959, points to the schism between science and the humanities, two distinct professional cultures which not only has gone separate ways, but also developed deep tensions between them. Historically, medicine is part of the scientific culture as well as that of the humanities. However, contemporary doctors see themselves first and foremost as scientists, and modern medicine leaves little scope for the tradition of the humanities. Including humanities in medical undergraduate, graduate and continuous education does not necessarily make doctors more humane, but insight in these disciplines may stimulate reflection and broaden their perspective on the practice of medicine. Given the expectations and pressures for efficiency to which doctors and other health care workers are subjected, a greater emphasis on the humanities in medicine may be of help to doctors in coping with their patients, society--and themselves.