This monograph on the subthalamic nucleus accentuates in Part I the gap between experimental animal and human information concerning subthalamic development, cytology, topography and connections. The light and electron microscopical cytology concerns the open nucleus concept and the neuronal types present in the STN. The cytochemistry encompasses: enzymes, NO, GFAP, calcium binding proteins, and receptors (dopamine, cannabinoid, opioid, glutamate, GABA, serotonin, cholinergic, and calcium channels). The ontogeny of the subthalamic cell cord is reviewed. The topography concerns the rat, cat, baboon and human STN. The descriptions of the connections are also given from a historical point of view. Recent tracer studies on the rat nigro-subthalamic connection revealed contralateral projections.