Sleep disorders can lead to significant morbidity. Information on sleep in healthy children is necessary to evaluate sleep disorders in clinical practice, but data from different societies cannot be simply generalized. The aims of this study were to (1) assess the prevalence of sleep disturbances in Dutch healthy children, (2) describe sleep habits and problems in this population, (3) collect Dutch norm data for future reference, and (4) compare sleep in children from different cultural backgrounds. A population-based descriptive study was conducted using the Children's sleep habits questionnaire and the sleep self-report. One thousand five hundred seven proxy-reports and 262 self-reports were analyzed. Mean age was 8.5 years (95% confidence interval, 8.4-8.6), 52% were boys. Sleep problems in Dutch children were present in 25%, i.e., comparable to other populations. Sleep habits were age-related. Problem sleepers scored significantly higher on all scales. Correlations between parental and self-assessments were low to moderate. Dutch children had significantly more sleep disturbances than children from the USA and less than Chinese children. Cognitions and attitudes towards what is considered normal sleep seem to affect the appraisal of sleep, this probably accounts partly for cultural differences. For a better understanding of cultural influences on sleep, more information on these determinants and the establishment of cultural norms are mandatory.