The DRAMA library, developed within the European Commission funded (ESPRIT) project DRAMA, supports dynamic load-balancing for parallel (message-passing) mesh-based applications. The target applications are those with dynamic and solution-adaptive features. The focus within the DRAMA project was on finite element simulation codes for structural mechanics. An introduction to the DRAMA library will illustrate that the very general cost model and the interface designed specifically for application requirements provide simplified and effective access to a range of parallel partitioners. The main body of the paper will demonstrate the ability to provide dynamic load-balancing for parallel FEM problems that include: adaptive meshing, re-meshing, the need for multi-phase partitioning. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.