Netherlands

„Nederlandse Biologie Olympiade“

Netherlands

Contact data

Country coordinator

Name:
Dr. Roel Baars

Hosting institution

SLO, Institute for Curriculum Development
Postbus 502
3800 AM, Amersfoort
Netherlands


Structure

Appointing institution
Organization & structure

The competition is organized by an independent foundation (Stichting Biologie Olympiade Nederland) with its own governing board and advisory committee. The foundation works together with a large group of volunteers (former participants, teachers, university staff, and others), and partners closely with SLO, the National Institute for Curriculum Development for in kind and administrative support. The foundation is supported financially primarily by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and receives additional funding through several sponsors.

The competition is structured in three rounds that are spread out from late December through the beginning of June. The final selection takes place at Wageningen University and Research.

Number of students in first round

Between 7,500 and 10,000

Tests

First round: exam at school, about general biology (high school curriculum). Focus is on problem solving, insight and reasoning, hardly on factual knowledge. Only closed questions. No preparation required. Developed in collaboration with teachers and assessment experts at the Cito institute.

Second round (~150 students): thematic round in two parts. Optional preparatory day at a thematically interesting venue (e.g. plant breeding facility), mostly to motivate and stimulate participation. Obligatory exam at school. Contents provided in a separate syllabus (level beyond high school). Focus is on advanced problem solving and a fair amount of reproduction. Mostly closed questions. Developed internally (former participants).

Third round (20 students): week-long event with masterclasses on roughly 12 university level biology topics, including practicals. Each topic is assessed, either by theory exam or practical skill. Hosted by Wageningen University. Students stay at a nearby venue. Lectures and practicals are mostly taught by university staff.

N.B. If necessary, the second round exam can be held at home (in case schools are closed) and the third round can be held online (in case university is closed) with a reduced practical component.

Training

No preparation is required for the first round, but old exams are available online to practice.

Students receive a thematic syllabus to study for the second round.

Students receive "Biology" by Campbell to study for the third round. They are encouraged to study as much as possible, since this increases their chances for a place in the IBO team significantly.

After the final selection round, the top-4 is specifically trained on selected topics and skills that are useful for the IBO. This amounts to a maximum of 3 non-consecutive days. The rest is self-study, for example by practicing old IBO exams.

Study materials

Thematic syllabus, "Biology" by Campbell, old IBO exams, various lectures and smaller information booklets (e.g. statistics).

Awards & prizes

The top-10% of all participants in the first round receive a digital certificate of participation.

The winner of the national competition receives a €1500 scholarship fund provided by a educational publisher to support their first year in university. The top-4 students receive honorary medals. All contestants in the final round receive a certificate of participation. The best student who is not in his/her final year of high school receives a personal copy of "Biology" by Campbell.

The school of the winning student receives a trophy that passes from school to school every year.

Depending on sponsor support there can be additional prizes, such as calculators, a microscope, or scientific magazines.

Education

Type of students

All students in secondary education, starting from 4th year (out of the maximum 6 years), in the upper two levels 'havo' or 'vwo'.

School year

September - July

Biology hours/week

Varies per school and year, between 1 and 3 hours per week

Hours of Classes/week

Typically 25 hours/week

Public Relations

Promotion

Promotion (leaflet and poster) is sent to all high schools at the beginning of October. Yearly biology teacher conference.

Promotion contact

Promotional materials are sent jointly with the other national olympiads through a subsidiary party.

Statistics over the year
  • 2020: 7971 students from 266 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2019: 9584 students from 286 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2018: 9477 students from 291 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2017: 11203 students from 301 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2016: 11110 students from 306 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2015: 10140 students from 282 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2014: 10022 students from 275 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2013: 9307 students from 262 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2012: 9396 students from 264 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2011: 8712 students from 292 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2010: 8317 students from 261 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2008: 5723 students from 217 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2007: 5611 students from 217 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2006: 5630 students from 234 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2005: 4834 students from 207 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2004: 4097 students from 207 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2003: 2369 students from 160 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2002: 1573 students from 159 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2001: 1041 students from 135 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2000: 1292 students from 158 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 1999: 1382 students from 176 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 1998: 1458 students from 183 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 1997: 1470 students from 180 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 1996: 1339 students from 180 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 1995: 1108 students from 170 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 1994: 892 students from 135 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 1993: 620 students from 127 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 1992: 548 students from 112 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 1991: 294 students from 75 schools (0% of eligible schools)

The latest estimate of eligible schools is approx. 500. Historical data is unknown.

Media coverage

Media coverage is generally low. Only local newspapers and a partner organisations copy our press release (either online or in written form).


Downloads

Logo of Nederlandse Biologie Olympiade [PNG, 59.2 KB] Download Poster of Nederlandse Biologie Olympiade [JPG, 434.9 KB] Download Leaflet of Nederlandse Biologie Olympiade [PDF, 1.4 MB] Download