„Nederlandse Biologie Olympiade“


Contact data

Country coordinator

Dr. Roel Baars

Hosting institution

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


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 financially supported 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 December through the beginning of June. The final selection takes place at Wageningen University and Research.

Number of students in first round

Ranging from 5,000 to 10,000.


First round: exam at school about general biology (limited to high school curriculum). Focus on problem solving, insight and reasoning. 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 and exams on various university level biology topics, including practicals. Each topic is taught and assessed independently, the combined score determines the winners. Hosted by Wageningen University. Students stay at a nearby venue.


The final round combines training and selection for the IBO (one week, group of 20). Afterwards, the IBO team receives some additional training during a maximum of three non-consecutive days. All other preparation is done individually, for example by practicing old IBO exams.

Study materials

Thematic syllabus for the second round, "Biology" by Campbell for the third round and IBO, 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 an 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.


Type of students

All students in secondary education in their 4th, 5th of (final) 6th year.

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

Promotion contact

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

Statistics over the years
  • 2023: 5815 students from 224 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2022: 6128 students from 211 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2021: 5307 students from 182 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 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).


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