Neutrons form a penetrating neutral probe, which makes it possible to use neutrons scattering techniques to study bulk materials, localise both light and heavy atoms and to distinguish between isotopes (e.g. hydrogen and deuterium). These properties make neutron scattering complementary to X-ray scattering when studying crystalline properties of matter. In addition, neutrons possess magnetic moments of the same order of magnitude as the atomic magnetic moments in elements and this makes neutrons highly suited for studies of the order and interactions between the magnetic moments in magnetic materials. This will be illustrated by reviewing the ordered magnetic structures found in some simple elements and in some chemically more complex systems containing several magnetic elements. The different scattering techniques (two- and three-axis neutron scattering, small angle neutron scattering, polarised neutron scattering (polarisation analysis) and magnetic X-ray scattering) and their relevance for the particular study will be elucidated. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.