Creating your First Graph Database in Neo4j

Are you ready to dive into the world of graph databases? If so, Neo4j is the perfect tool for you! Neo4j is a powerful and scalable graph database that allows you to store, manage, and query your data in a meaningful and efficient way. In this article, we will take you through the process of creating your first graph database in Neo4j.

What is Neo4j?

Before we begin, let's take a moment to understand what Neo4j is all about. Neo4j is a graph database management system that allows you to store and manage your data in a graph format. A graph consists of nodes and edges, where nodes represent entities and edges represent relationships between those entities.

What makes Neo4j unique is its superiority in handling relationships between data points. Unlike traditional relational databases, data in Neo4j is stored in a connected graph format. This enables Neo4j to efficiently navigate and query vast amounts of data, making it particularly suited for scenarios where relationships between data points are paramount.

Setting up Neo4j

To get started with Neo4j, you need to first download and install it on your local machine. You can download the latest version of Neo4j on the official website at

Once you have downloaded Neo4j, you can install it on your machine by following the instructions provided by the installer. After installing Neo4j, you can launch it using the desktop icon or by running the command neo4j start in your terminal.

Neo4j’s default port is 7474 which can be accessed from a web browser on the same machine running Neo4j.

Creating Your First Graph Database

Now that Neo4j is up and running, let’s create our first graph database. We will create a movie database that will store details about actors, directors, movies, and their relationships between them.

Here are the steps to create your first graph database in Neo4j:

Step 1: Open the Neo4j Browser

Launch a web browser on your local machine and navigate to http://localhost:7474/browser/. This will open the Neo4j Browser, which is a user interface for querying and managing Neo4j databases.

Step 2: Create a New Database

Hover over the :play movies button on the home screen and click on the Open button that appears. This will load a Cypher editor on the right side of the screen with a pre-defined set of queries.

Step 3: Add Data to the Database

In the Cypher editor, copy and paste the following code to add data to the database:

CREATE (TheMatrix:Movie {title:'The Matrix', released:1999, tagline:'Welcome to the Real World'})
CREATE (Keanu:Person {name:'Keanu Reeves', born:1964})
CREATE (Carrie:Person {name:'Carrie-Anne Moss', born:1967})
CREATE (Laurence:Person {name:'Laurence Fishburne', born:1961})
CREATE (Hugo:Person {name:'Hugo Weaving', born:1960})
CREATE (LillyW:Person {name:'Lilly Wachowski', born:1967})
CREATE (LanaW:Person {name:'Lana Wachowski', born:1965})
CREATE (Keanu)-[:ACTED_IN {roles:['Neo']}]->(TheMatrix)
CREATE (Carrie)-[:ACTED_IN {roles:['Trinity']}]->(TheMatrix)
CREATE (Laurence)-[:ACTED_IN {roles:['Morpheus']}]->(TheMatrix)
CREATE (Hugo)-[:ACTED_IN {roles:['Agent Smith']}]->(TheMatrix)
CREATE (LillyW)-[:DIRECTED]->(TheMatrix)
CREATE (LanaW)-[:DIRECTED]->(TheMatrix)

This code will create nodes representing the movie, actors, and directors and edges representing the relationships between them. For example, we create a node for the movie 'The Matrix' and nodes for the actors Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Lawrence Fishburne, and Hugo Weaving. We then create edges between these entities representing the actors who acted in the movie and the directors who directed the movie.

Step 4: View Data in the Neo4j Browser

After executing the queries, switch to the Browser pane and run the following query:

MATCH (m:Movie) RETURN m

This will retrieve all the movies in the database and display them in the Result pane on the right. You can expand the nodes to view the details of each movie.

Step 5: Query the Database

In the Cypher editor, let's run a few queries to demonstrate how Neo4j can be used to explore relationships in data:

// Show all actors who acted in the movie 'The Matrix'
MATCH (m:Movie {title: 'The Matrix'})<-[:ACTED_IN]-(a:Person) RETURN, a.born

// Show all movies directed by the Wachowski sisters
MATCH (m:Movie)<-[:DIRECTED]-(d:Person)
WHERE IN ['Lana Wachowski', 'Lilly Wachowski']
RETURN m.title, m.released

These queries will retrieve all actors who acted in the movie 'The Matrix' and all movies directed by the Wachowski sisters respectively.


In this article, we have shown you how easy it is to create your first graph database in Neo4j. We hope that you now have a better understanding of what Neo4j is all about and how it can be used to store and manage your data in a more efficient and meaningful way.

There is a lot more to Neo4j than what we have covered in this article. We encourage you to explore the official Neo4j documentation and community resources to learn more about the power of graph databases and how Neo4j can be used to solve real-world problems. Happy graphing!

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