The increasing number of longer-living patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and serious side effects of treatment urged us to study the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and persistent (treatment-related) symptoms in unselected patients after different treatment modalities and compare HRQoL of patients with a normative population. The population-based Eindhoven Cancer Registry was used to select all patients diagnosed with DLBCL from 2004 to 2010. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) was completed twice, with a 1-year interval. Detailed data on treatment were extracted from the Population-based HAematological Registry for Observational Studies. Two hundred fifty-six patients responded (84 %, T1). Compared to patients treated with rituximab combined with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone every 21 days ((R-)CHOP21), those who underwent (R-)CHOP14 more often reported tingling in the hands and feet (27 vs 42 %, p = 0.02) and fatigue (35 vs 46 %, p = 0.03) and reported a lower global health status/HRQoL. Mean HRQoL was statistically and clinically relevantly lower among DLBCL patients compared to a normative population (p < 0.01). Persistent tingling in hands/feet was reported more often by older patients and patients treated with (R-)CHOP14 independently of the other characteristics. Furthermore, patients who reported symptoms exhibited significantly lower HRQoL compared to patients without symptoms/worries. Patients treated with (R-)CHOP14 reported more neuropathic symptoms, more fatigue, and a lower HRQoL than patients treated with (R-)CHOP21. Alertness for persistent symptoms that occur during and after treatment of DLBCL patients is needed and may help to avoid lasting negative influence on their HRQoL.