About the olympiad

What is the Brain Olympiad? 

The Dutch Brain Olympiad is a challenging knowledge competition about neuroscience for high school students and is part of the International Brain Bee, the international competition with participants from over 50 countries. The Brain Olympiad consists of a number of components:

  • Multiple Choice knowledge test
  • Recognize brain structures in anatomical specimens
  • Diagnosis of patients (live or video)
  • Live Q&A final round

The event

Secondary school students of 16 years or older can participate in the Brain Olympiad. The Dutch Brain Olympiad takes place on one day, in 2019 this was March 16. Teachers, parents & classmates of participants are also welcome on this day. We invite everyone to dive into the fascinating world of the brain during the Brain Expo, a poster exhibition about current brain research, and during a lecture by a prominent brain scientist.

Profile and preparation

The Brain Olympiad started in 2019 with a low-threshold knowledge competition (in English). Students who know the information from Brainfacts (approx. 70 pages) of the Society for Neuroscience can participate in the Brain Olympiad without any problems. For the students wanting to go even deeper, the Brain Olympiad provides a study guide, composed of neuroscientific textbooks that are used in introductory courses at the University.

The topics in this guide are of course about the brain, in which biological, psychological, medical and artificial intelligence aspects are discussed. The fascinating world of the brain can be approached from all these different (study) perspectives. The Brain Olympiad offers insight into what is known and is still undiscovered about the brain.

Every secondary school student can register to participate in the Dutch Brain Olympiad. Neuroscience is a broad field where psychologists, physicists, mathematicians, biologists, (bio) chemists, computer scientists, philosophers, linguists and economists work together to study the functioning of the brain. That is why the preparation subjects do not fit exactly into one secondary school profile and we want to emphasize that every student can register, regardless of which profile they have chosen. However, the study material does require some prior knowledge about biology, physics and mathematics. That is why we expect pupils from 4 and 5 VWO and 4 HAVO with Nature & Technology profiles (with biology) and Nature & Health (with physics) to be able to master the material most easily. Final exam candidates are of course also welcome.

NB The international competition has its own study material.

What can you win?

As with all Olympiads, the Brain Olympiad follows a multi-stage model. There is currently one national preliminary round in the Netherlands. In addition to honour and fame, the winners will have access to the national conference on brain sciences: the Dutch Neuroscience Conference. The winners will spend a day with the Brain Olympiad team to take a look at the practice of a neuroscientific conference and get to know the latest discoveries. In addition, the Brain Olympiad aims to send the winner to the International Brain Bee competition to represent the Netherlands there.


The 1st Dutch Brain Olympiad was organized at the Donders Institute for Brain Sciences at Radboud University Nijmegen, on March 16, 2019.

You will be able to register for the second edition from the start of 2020.