Abstract We have investigated the basement in the Barents Sea region and its relationship to the magnetic anomalies observed. Besides magnetic field image analysis (incl. pseudo-gravity), we performed both 3D inversion and 2D forward modelling to characterise the geometry of the top-basement and the distribution of magnetisation and density. For the 3D inversion, the influence of the input parameters has been studied in detail, and large uncertainties have been encountered over some areas. On a regional scale, the petrophysical parameters and not the geometry of the top-basement dominate the magnetic anomalies. The 2D models assist in linking together the main crustal units of the Barents Sea, which are expressed by different magnetic basement characteristics. Based on our inversion and modelling work we have compiled a map which shows the different basement domains and their structural trends. The map allows us to interpret the possible extension of Timanian, Caledonian and Uralian magnetic terranes in the area.