„Vlaamse Biologie Olympiade“

shared membership & team with: Belgium french

Contact data

Country coordinator

Marleen Van Strydonck

Hosting institution

Vlaamse Olympiades voor Natuurwetenschappen
p.a. KU Leuven - departement Chemie

Celestijnenlaan 200F, bus 2404
3001, Heverlee


Appointing institution

Biology Teachers Association - Vereniging voor onderwijs in de biologie, de milieueducatie en de gezondheidseducatie vzw

Organization & structure

The Flemish Sciences Olympiads (sections Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Geography) are coordinated by a University Coordination centre at KU Leuven (printed matter, inscriptions, sponsor hunting, website, markings, final rounds…).

Each section has his own organizing committee and working groups and takes independently care of the tests.

Biology teachers are responsible for their students application. They apply directly in a web database. An application fee is due (5 € / student).

The Biology Olympiad is organized in three rounds: round 1 in January, round 2 in February or early March, the final round in April.

The top two ranked will attend the IBO.

Please note

  • The process above selects the 2 Dutch-speaking Belgian students.
  • The 2 other Belgian students (the rest of the Belgian IBO delegation) are selected through the Belgium: Olympiade de Biologie
Number of students in first round

average of the last 3 years: 2400


Round 1: multiple choice; 25 questions; 2 hours; online in the participating schools; for approx. 2300 students most of them grade 12, a minority grade 11.

Round 2: multiple choice; 30 questions; 2 hours; at some of the Flemish Universities; for approx. 200 students.

Final round: theoretical test (40 questions; 2,5 hour) in the morning, practical test (2 parts, each 1 hour) in the afternoon; at one of the Flemish Universities at turn role; for 17 students (= finalists)

The questions for each round are provided by different working groups, composed of secondary school teachers and university lecturers. They are responsible for the selection of the questions out of a longlist, they work mainly by mail.


Easter Holidays: 4 day training with 17 finalists; with overnight stay at Youth Hostel.

Training venue: University of Antwerp, campus CDE.

Study materials

High school textbooks.

Selection of model questions available online; tests (former IBOs) online.

A training syllabus is provided to the 17 finalists.

Awards & prizes

The awarded prizes are diplomas and science (text)books.

Almost no money is involved (one € 150 grant is awarded to the top grade 12 laureate)

Medals are awarded at each level (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze, participation medal to all other laureates).

Unfortunately no specific access to anything (University or so) is linked to NBO awards.


Type of students

Students applying for the Biology Olympiad are typically in grade 11 & 12.

Participation is individual, on a voluntary basis.

Biology Teachers are supposed to be the application driving force.

School year

Begins: 1st of September

Ends: 30th of June

Biology hours/week

minimum 1, maximum 2 hours per week

some schools organise project hours, where students work on a group project; these projects can cover all subjects, they are not necessarily all biology or science projects

Hours of Classes/week

32 lesson hours (each hour lasts in reality 50 minutes) for general education

it can be up to 36 hours in technical and vocational education

Public Relations


The NBO promotion and communication is carried out in close co-operation with the Chemistry, Fysics and Geography National Olympiads (information mailing, website, ...). This promotion is carried out by the secretariat Flemish olympiads for Natural Sciences

In October, they send an information package (folder, poster, instructions…) to each & every secondary school, to a wide group of science teachers, and to Science journalists.

This information is also available on

Promotion contact

Anne Wouters

c/o KU Leuven, dep. Chemie

Celestijnenlaan 200F - bus 2404

3001 Heverlee


Statistics over the years
  • 2022: 2324 students from 238 schools (25.2% of eligible schools)
  • 2021: 2114 students from 217 schools (23% of eligible schools)
  • 2020: 2332 students from 231 schools (24.4% of eligible schools)
  • 2019: 2463 students from 232 schools (24.5% of eligible schools)
  • 2018: 2379 students from 235 schools (24.8% of eligible schools)

The number of participating schools remains fairly constant, around 25%.

The number of participating students (average of 35%) has known a small decrease in 2021, due to the Covi-19 pandemic.

The statistics are based on an average of 945 eligible schools and approx. 722 000 eligible students.

Media coverage

The result of the NBO (laureates) is sometimes published in local newspapers.

Media coverage is very limited.


Logo of Vlaamse Biologie Olympiade [PNG, 64.8 KB] Download Poster of Vlaamse Biologie Olympiade [PNG, 688.5 KB] Download