Objectives - To assess work history and labour force participation among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (IRA) in the Netherlands, Method - A random sample of 1056 patients with RA aged 16-59 years from 17 rheumatology practices in the Netherlands was examined. Data on disease status and outcome were obtained by a questionnaire including standardized instruments, such as the Rapid Assessment of Disease Activity in Rheumatology (RADAR) and RAND-36 questionnaires. Labour force participation was defined as having a paid job. Results - Of the study group with a mean disease duration of 12 years, 3527% held a paid job (men 56.7%; women 27.7%). When standardized for age, sex, and educational levels, the labour force participation of patients with IRA was 61.2% compared with 65.5% for the general population, which was not statistically significant. Disease duration of six years and more was negatively associated with labour force participation. Conclusions - After controlling for the confounding effects of age, sex, and education, the labour force participation of patients with IRA in the Netherlands is only slightly lower than that of the general population.