This paper describes the Nordic Indicator Project that aims at describing and analysing the quality of care for important diseases in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). The Council of Ministers decided to appoint a working group for quality mapping with the aim of giving Nordic citizens, politicians, health workers and authorities the opportunity to evaluate and compare performance across the Nordic countries. The working group selected 36 prioritised quality indicators, including cancer indicators, for benchmarking between the Nordic countries. Additionally, 40 ‘potential indicators’ have been identified for future developments. This international projects document how difficult it is to do international benchmarking. The experience of the Nordic Council of Ministers Quality Project has shown that even for common indicators as survival and mortality rates for breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer etc., it is difficult to yield data that are representative to the international nations as a whole. It seems that modern health care systems are not able do document their quality. At national and international level we need to invest in quality measurement systems and in international collaboration.