Soil samples were analyzed with community-level physiological profiles (CLPP) using Biolog™ ECO-plates in the Netherlands Soil Monitoring Network (NSMN; 704 samples) and in a European-wide transect (73 samples). The selection of sites was based on a representative sample of major soil texture types, land uses and climate zones. This method for determination of CLPP was specifically designed to be applied in large and long-term monitoring activities. It encompassed a solution for the inoculum-density dependence of colour formation patterns in ECO-plates, through stepwise dilution to extinction of the bacterial inoculum. The CLPP in Dutch and European soil samples appeared to be reproducible and sensitive to land use and/or soil texture. Although the method is selective, CLPP based parameters correlated well with other microbial parameters and soil characteristics. Consistent patterns in CLPP and soil habitat characteristics are emerging, as brought about by environmental disturbances, land management and soil texture. The applicability of CLPP analysis in monitoring systems is discussed.