AIM: To assess and compare the secular trend in age at menarche in Dutch girls (1955-2009) and girls from Turkish and Moroccan descent living in the Netherlands (1997-2009). METHODS: Data on growth and maturation were collected in 20,867 children of Dutch, Turkish and Moroccan descent in 2009 by trained health care professionals. Girls, 9 years and older, of Dutch (n = 2138), Turkish (n = 282), and Moroccan (n = 295) descent were asked whether they had experienced their first period. We compared median menarcheal age in 2009 with data from the previous Dutch Nationwide Growth Studies in 1955, 1965, 1980 and 1997. Age specific body mass index (BMI) z-scores were calculated to assess differences in BMI between pre- and postmenarcheal girls in different age groups. RESULTS: Median age at menarche in Dutch girls, decreased significantly from 13.66 years in 1955 to 13.15 years in 1997 and 13.05 years in 2009. Compared to Dutch girls there is a larger decrease in median age of menarche in girls of Turkish and Moroccan descent between 1997 and 2009. In Turkish girls age at menarche decreased from 12.80 to 12.50 years and in Moroccan girls from 12.90 to 12.60 years. Thirty-three percent of Turkish girls younger than 12 years start menstruating in primary school. BMI-SDS is significantly higher in postmenarcheal girls than in premenarcheal girls irrespective of age. CONCLUSION: There is a continuing secular trend in earlier age at menarche in Dutch girls. An even faster decrease in age at menarche is observed in girls of Turkish and Moroccan descent in the Netherlands.