The role of the land surface in controlling climate is still underestimated and access to information from the boreal-forest zone is instrumental to improve this situation. This motivated the organisation of NOPEX (Northern hemisphere climate-Processes land-surface Experiment) in the southern part of the European boreal zone. This paper summarises results from NOPEX in its first phase, dealing with spring- and summertime conditions. Two concentrated field efforts (CFE1 on 27 May-23 June 1994, CFE2 on 18 April-14 July 1995) were carried out with coordinated measurements of energy, water, and CO2 budgets at 13 ground-based sites and at various airborne platforms. Flux aggregation was a central issue in the heterogeneous, patchy NOPEX landscape. It is shown that simple land-use-weighted averaging of fluxes from fields/forests/lakes agree well with regional fluxes. Momentum fluxes can be parameterised over the whole area with a roughness length of approximately 1.5 m, whereas fluxes of sensible heat and other scalars depend on the averaging scale, Local measurements of soil moisture can be classified and meaningful averages can be deduced with a 1 km resolution. Lakes play an important role and differs in both diurnal and annual cycles compared to the forests and fields. Multiannual data from an agricultural and a forest site has allowed quantification and modelling of seldom occuring phenomena. One unexpected result was that the Norunda Common forest acted as a source and not a sink of CO2. The successful completion of CFE1-2 and a pilot winter campaign (CFE3) will lead NOPEX into its final phase, devoted to wintertime processes. Measurements and model results reside in SINOP. the System for Information in NOPEX, open for NOPEX participants. Data from CFE1 and CFE2 are released on CD as an integrated part of this Special Issue. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.