The bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans strain CH34, originally isolated by us in 1976 from a metal processing factory, is considered a major model organism because it withstands milli-molar range concentrations of over 20 different heavy metal ions. The genome of C. metallidurans CH34 is composed of two large circular chromosomes CHR1 and CHR2 of, respectively, 3,928,089 bp and 2,580,084 bp, and two megaplasmids pMOL28 and pMOL30 of, respectively, 171,459 bp and 233,720 bp in size. At least 25 loci for heavy-metal resistance (HMR) are distributed over the four replicons. One out of five proteins is associated with either transport or transcription while the relay of environmental stimuli is governed by more than 600 signal transduction systems. The CH34 genome is most similar to the genomes of other Cupriavidus strains and also bears similarity to more distantly related species as a result of gene transfer and through the presence of large genomic islands. The presence of at least 57 IS elements and 19 transposons and the ability to take in and express foreign genes indicates a very dynamic and complex genome shaped by evolutionary forces.