Against the backdrop of ongoing population ageing, informal care occupies an important place on European political agendas. This article discusses informal caregiving by middle aged and older persons in the Netherlands and other European countries, with particular emphasis on the role played by motives. The data are drawn from SHARE. Our results show that in the Netherlands, it is mainly feelings of being needed and obligation that increase the chance of informal care being given. Deriving pleasure from an activity, by contrast, reduces the likelihood.