Objective: To determine whether there is a difference between patients with a cerebral infarction and those with an intracerebral haemorrhage with respect to the development of independence in activities of daily living over the first year post-stroke. Methods: Patients after first-ever stroke who were admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation programme were included. The study had a longitudinal design and measurements took place at admission, 8, 10, 12, 26 and 52 weeks post-stroke. The relationship between the development over time of activities of daily living independence, measured by the Barthel Index, and type of stroke was analysed using Generalized Estimating Equations. Results: A total of 229 patients with cerebral infarction and 45 with intracerebral haemorrhage were included. From 12 to 26 weeks post-stroke, patients with cerebral infarction showed a significantly faster recovery. The time window for recovery was more restricted for patients with intracerebral haemorrhage; a statistically significant increase in activities of daily living was found until 10 weeks post-stroke in patients with intracerebral haemorrhage, whereas patients with cerebral infarction showed statistically significant recovery until 26 weeks post-stroke. Conclusion: The differences in activities of daily living recovery between patients with cerebral infarction and those with intracerebral haemorrhage should be taken into consideration in rehabilitation management. © 2008 The Authors. Journal Compilation. © 2008 Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.