Rhizobia bacteria engage in nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis, a mutualistic interaction with legume plants in which a bidirectional nutrient exchange takes place. Occasionally, this interaction is suboptimal resulting in the formation of ineffective nodules in which little or no atmospheric nitrogen fixation occurs. Rhizobium leguminosarum Norway induces ineffective nodules in a wide range of Lotus hosts. To investigate the basis of this phenotype, we sequenced the complete genome of Rl Norway and compared it to the genome of the closely related strain R. leguminosarum bv. viciae 3841. The genome comprises 7,788,085 bp, distributed on a circular chromosome containing 63% of the genomic information and five large circular plasmids. The functionally classified bacterial gene set is distributed evenly among all replicons. All symbiotic genes (nod, fix, nif) are located on the pRLN3 plasmid. Whole genome comparisons revealed differences in the metabolic repertoire and in protein secretion systems, but not in classical symbiotic genes.