In 2005/6, nearly 3000 moss samples from (semi-)natural location across 16 European countries were collected for nitrogen analysis. The lowest total nitrogen concentrations in mosses (<0.8%) were observed in northern Finland and northern UK. The highest concentrations (>= 1.6%) were found in parts of Belgium, France, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria. The asymptotic relationship between the nitrogen concentrations in mosses and EMEP modelled nitrogen deposition (averaged per 50 km x 50 km grid) across Europe showed less scatter when there were at least five moss sampling sites per grid. Factors potentially contributing to the scatter are discussed. In Switzerland, a strong (r(2) = 0.91) linear relationship was found between the total nitrogen concentration in mosses and measured site-specific bulk nitrogen deposition rates. The total nitrogen concentrations in mosses complement deposition measurements, helping to identify areas in Europe at risk from high nitrogen deposition at a high spatial resolution. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.