Abstract The soil compartment is an important interface between the atmosphere and the subsurface hydrosphere. In this paper a conceptual approach for regional hydrologic soil modelling (RHSM) is presented, which provides two important qualities for modelling. First, the soil compartment is directly coupled to the atmosphere via the land surface and to the aquifers. Second, extremely fine (5 cm vertical) resolutions of the soil system can be realized at regional scales (several hundreds of km 2). This high-resolution modelling could be achieved by parallel computation techniques. The RHSM approach is applied to the Beerze–Reusel drainage basin, which belongs to the Meuse River basin. Moisture transport in the soil system was calculated with extremely high vertical resolution at a regional scale based on rainfall–evaporation data for the year 2000. As a result, highly resolved regional groundwater recharge pattern addressing the heterogeneity of soil systems could be determined.