Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is a developmental field defect with impaired cleavage of the embryonic forebrain as the cardinal feature. The prevalence is about 1 in 11.000-20.000 in live births and 1 in 250 during embryogenesis. In most cases, craniofacial abnormalities are associated and reflect in 80% of cases the degree of severity. The severity is of marked variability and ranges from cyclopia to minimal craniofacial dysmorphism, such as mild microcephaly with a single central incisor. The etiology of HPE is very heterogeneous and comprises environmental factors (e.g. maternal diabetes) and genetic causes. Approximately 50% of HPE cases are associated with a cytogenetic abnormality (the most common of which is trisomy 13) or a monogenic syndrome. Based on recurrent cytogenetic abnormalities, there are at least 12 genetic loci that likely contain genes implicated in the pathogenesis of HPE. Currently, four human HPE genes are known: SHH at 7q36, ZIC2 at 13q32, SIX3 at 2p21 and TGIF at 18p11.3. Over the past 13 years, 16 patients with HPE have been observed at the Department of Clinical Genetics at Maastricht. Some of them are briefly presented in order to emphasize the spectral nature of HPE and the etiological heterogeneity. One patient appeared to have a partial 18p deletion due to a maternal cryptic translocation t(1:18) and, in addition, a SHH mutation. The mildest affected patient presented with microcephaly and a single maxillary incisor; she had a submicroscopic 7q deletion. Finally, we propose a protocol of etiological work-up of HPE cases.