Fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance is of particular importance in wheat breeding programmes due to the detrimental effects of this fungal disease on human and animal health, yield and grain quality. Segregation for FHB resistance in three European winter wheat populations enabled the identification of resistance loci in well-adapted germplasm. Populations obtained from crosses of resistant cultivars Apache, History and Romanus with susceptible semi-dwarfs Biscay, Rubens and Pirat, respectively, were mapped and analysed to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for FHB severity, ear emergence time and plant height. The results of the present study together with previous studies in UK winter wheat indicated that the semi-dwarfing allele Rht-D1b seems to be the major source for FHB susceptibility in European winter wheat. The high resistance level of the cultivars Romanus and History was conditioned by several minor resistance QTL interacting with the environment and the absence of Rht-D1b. In contrast, the semi-dwarf parents contributed resistance alleles of major effects apparently compensating the negative effects of Rht-D1b on FHB reaction. The moderately resistant cultivar Apache contributed a major QTL on chromosome 6A in a genome region previously shown to carry resistance loci to FHB. A total of 18 genomic regions were repeatedly associated with FHB resistance. The results indicate that common resistance-associated genes or genomic regions are present in European winter wheats.