Abstract The current status of our understanding of the low energy nucleonantinucleon (NN̄) interaction is reviewed. We compare several phenomenological models which fit the available NN̄ cross section data. The more realistic of these models employ an annihilation potential W(r) which is spin, isospin and energy dependent. The microscopic origins for these dependences are discussed in terms of quark rearrangement and annihilation processes. It is argued that the study of NN̄ annihilation offers a powerful means of studying quark dynamics at short distances. We also discuss how one may try to isolate coherent meson exchange contributions to the medium and long range part of the NN̄ potential. These pieces of the NN̄ interaction are calculable via the G-parity transformation from a model for the NN potential; their effects are predicted to be seen in NN̄ spin observables, to be measured at LEAR. The possible existence of quasi-stable bound states or resonances of an N̄ plus one or more nucleons is discussed, with emphasis on few-body systems.