The Groningen Biological Diving Association Calamari is a fun and active student diving and underwater hockey club. Alongside diving into your textbooks, don’t you think you would enjoy diving into the deep as well? Here at Calamari there are many opportunities for you in the realm of snorkeling, scuba diving, or underwater hockey.  

Our club has existed since 1965, making us the oldest student diving club in the entirety of the Netherlands. Calamari originally began as a diving club for biologists, and because of that there is still a lot of knowledge of, and fascination for, underwater life, which ultimately makes diving with us even more interesting! 

At Calamari, diving becomes not only accessible but also affordable, as we strive to keep our prices as low as possible. In regards to your gear, you are able to borrow the most expensive parts of your equipment set directly from the club. The certification courses we offer are also available at discounted rates for members. We offer the full spectrum of diving courses, from cmas 1-star (open water) all the way up to cmas 3-stars (dive master) certifications. All of the training is provided by our volunteer instructors, a main reason as to why we are able to keep our prices so affordable. Instructor certification is also offered regionally. Additionally, the club organizes a diving weekend to Zeeland at least 5 times per year at a fixed low price. You are able to store your own material in the material room at the Zernike site, where you can also immediately fill up your own tank with the club’s compressor to make the absolute most of the efficient and affordable weekend full of diving!

Furthermore, it is possible to participate in underwater hockey, an impressive and exciting game that takes place at the bottom of the swimming pool. You have the possibility to either play recreationally or at the competitive level in tournaments. 

Pool training sessions are offered two evenings a week, focusing on swimming skills, underwater hockey tactics, snorkeling techniques, and overall fitness. You may also just swim freely during these hour-long sessions. Afterwards the members often gather for a drink in the local bar. In addition, various other activities are organized throughout the year such as movie nights, lectures, running dinners, BBQs, pub quizzes, and much more!

The underwater biology course (OWBO) is a specialty that receives a lot of attention within Calamari and is organized by the club’s own Science Committee. This speciality, in which you gain a lot of knowledge about underwater life here in the Netherlands, has now become a well-known course in the Dutch diving world. 

On our site you can find a lot of information about the different aspects of G.B.D. Calamari. If you are interested in becoming a member, trying out an introductory dive, or have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact us!

What we stand for

Here at Calamari our focus is to create a safe and welcoming environment for people to dive, play underwater hockey, learn more about the marine biological world and socialize. At our association everyone is welcome no matter their race, gender, sexuality or religion. All of our members deserve to feel included and valued and thus it’s very important to us that everyone is respected and that the boundaries of others are honored. We do not tolerate bullying or degrading behavior of any kind. Calamari is an association where everyone can come as they are, be themselves and have fun.


At the beginning of 1965, some underwater movies inspired a few biology students in Groningen to start a diving career. However, diving had been introduced to the Netherlands (mainly near Amsterdam) only some ten years before and therefore it was rather complicated to take diving lessons at a diving association or school. They didn’t give up, and to fulfill their dreams, they established the Groningen Biological Diving Association on 25th of February that year.

Duiken bij Rovinj, Kroatië, 1968. Foto Henk Otto.
The founders of Calamari, some students and staff of the biology faculty of the University of Groningen, were keen to dive in relation to biological research. This intention is still alive within Calamari, as most current members only dive to enjoy the incredible underwater life. Where enthusiasm was abundant in 1965, knowledge of diving was not. At the start of Calamari, a diving instructor coming over from Amsterdam every other week taught 17 new students the ropes of diving. A second instructor was found not much later, who had to come over from the island of Texel. This instructor was himself being educated to be a dive instructor by the just established Dutch Diving Nation (NOB). These novice Groningen divers were thus really pioneers of the diving sport in the North of the Netherlands!

Nearly a year after the establishment of the association, it was named G.B.D. Calamari and received Royal approval for existence (following the law of April 22nd 1855). The association was comprised of 35 members at that point and the first dives outside the swimming pool had been made (including in the high-current area of the Marsdiep).


Geschiedenis 1968 tynaarloThe annual club payments of the members (f 50,-) were used completely to hire a swimming pool and for the cost of filling borrowed air tanks. A loan from the university fund enabled Calamari to buy an air compressor in 1966 (Luchard with a Clinton petrol engine), 10 seven-litre tanks and as many regulators. Five years later, all tanks were rejected during their first check, while the loan had not even been paid off yet. Meanwhile, the association owned an electric motor, several life jackets and a boat.

The story goes that this boat had been used during the landing of the allied forces in Normandy in the Second World War. However it may be, the boat originated from the US Navy, built in 1940. Since she adjusted her shape to the waves, she soon got the nickname “sausage”. Initially, propulsion was completely driven by (human) muscle power, which was replaced with a 2.5 pk Seagull outboard motor in 1970.

Equipment storage room

The air compressor and other club diving equipment were stored in the bicycle shed of the Zoology department in Haren. In 1986, all equipment was moved to the basement of the tropical glass house of the Hortus. After some years, in 1972, a new storage room was found in ‘de Grote Rozenstraat’.

The first dive camps

Duiken bij Rocher de la Vieille, Île d'Houat, Frankrijk, 1972. Foto Henk Otto.

The dive equipment was actually used as well. The first large Calamari-excursion was in the summer of 1966, to Rovinj (Yugoslavia), and remained the destination for the following two years. Organisation was in hands of the board and always had a scientific character. The divers of Calamari collected live specimens for the NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research). Sometime later, members also took the initiative to organise diving trips in the holidays with a less scientific character. Such trips are still organised today, and the list of diving destinations is too long to mention (but we will give you Sardinia, Helgoland, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Galicia, the Algarve, and Bretagne).

Rise and growth

Geschiedenis 1975 groepsfotopotvis

The seventies were, after a difficult start, a period that was characterised by growth. The number of members was increasing (with more than 60!) and a lot of money was invested in the (extension of) our dive equipment.

Meanwhile, it was precedent that Calamari planned trips to Zeeland four weekends a year. The boat was replaced in 1978 by a real Zodiac, including a 20 pk outboard motor. The air compressor was replaced as well, by a heavier model (a Bauer). To be able to move all of the heavy equipment around, a trailer was purchased. Financial (and material) growth for Calamari was key in the eighties; 1978 introduced an equipment-plan and associated financial reservations pay-off. Moreover at that time, Calamari discovered certain subsidies, which facilitated the purchase of some more equipment. The seven-litre tanks were replaced by ten-litre ones, manometers were added to the regulators (which enabled inspection of the amount of air left in the tanks during diving for the first time!), life jackets were replaced by stab jackets (which were useful underwater, unlike the safety vests, and were therefore actually used), and a second air compressor was bought. The total number of members even reached above 100 members for a short while. At the fifth lustrum, the association is at her very best!


Geschiedenis 2010 hokharen

The nineties mainly depicted the results of the (introduction of) the two-phase structure in the scientific educational system (bachelor – master). Financial measures increased the pressure to study, and generally the study period decreased. This resulted in fewer members and the students who did become members stayed for only a shorter period of time. For Calamari, this caused a strange paradox: a lot of (new) equipment, and hardly any members with the time to use it. To make matters worse, the university terminated the contract for the equipment storage room. Despite all of this, Calamari survived and in 1998, Calamari opened a new equipment storage room. The new storage was placed in between the tropical greenhouse of the Hortus and the old Department of Zoology of the Biological Centre. It was completely new and twice as large as the old space.

A new accommodation, again.

Geschiedenis 2011 hokzernike

The Biological Centre was housed in Haren for more than 40 years. However, in 2010, this ended and all biologists moved to the Linneausborg on the Zernike Campus. Calamari had to leave its former storage room as well. Fortunately, a committee had been installed in time, which arranged for accommodation at the Zernike Campus. Very handy, as weekly trainings were moved from the Helperbad (Helpman) to the Willem Alexander Sportcomplex (Zernike). This saved time as well as money to transport equipment to and from training sessions in the swimming pool.




Board & Committees

Current board 2022-2023

At the helm of our association is the board, consisting of a chairman, secretary, treasurer, activities commissioner, materials commissioner and an internal affairs commissioner.

Voorzitter Pieter Riesenkamp
Secretaris Jorn Claassen
Penningmeester Fabiënne Hartman
Activiteitencommissaris Anne Schoonewille
Materiaalcommissaris Greetje Huisman
Commissaris interne zaken 
Julie Creedon
Board positions

The Chair maintains contact and coordinates the tasks of the board and the commissions. He/She leads the board and General Member Assemblies. Last but not least, the Chair is responsible for the following of the statutes, regulations and decisions of the club.


The Secretary checks all the mail and emails, orders educational materials and processes the membership of members and guests. During any meetings he/she takes the minutes.


The Treasurer is responsible for everything that has to do with money. This includes payment of contribution, activities and declarations of costs made for the Club.

Activity Commissioner:

The Activity Commissioner organises club activities such as diving camps, other excursions and, together with the COT, the course weekends.

Equipment Commissioner: 

The Equipment Commissioner is in charge of procuring, maintenance and replacement of club material and also manages equipment's storage facility

Commissioner of Internal Affairs:

The Commissioner of Internal Affairs promotes the association, for example during the KEI-week, but also promotes activities and puts photos and promotional items on our social media.


Besides diving and swimming pool sessions there are a lot more activities organised. Multiple committees organise fun activities for our members. If you think it would be fun to become an active member in the association, you can always find an opportunity that suits you. It is enjoyable, educational and also indispensable to our club!

Activity committee (AC)

The activity committee organises activities like the introduction period, 'Springtijborrels' and trips for members, under supervision of the Activity Commissioner. If necessary, they also support the Activity Commissioner to make sure the diving weekends go smoothly.

Blunder committee

It is the committee's task to keep track of the perhaps most doubtful competition. Thorough and completely fraud free, all blunders made during Calamari activities are scored. The blunder trophy is handed out to the person who has gathered the most points during the autumn members' meeting.

Committee for education and training (COT)

The COT is formed by club instructors and manages the contents of the tutorials in the swimming pool and open water. This committee is led by the education and training commissioner.


The sustainability committee, also known as ECOmmittee, aims to make Calamari and the rest of the world a bit greener. They organise several sustainable activities, give sustainability advice to the members and brainstorm about ways to make the association more sustainable. Furthermore, they are responsible for contacting external sustainability organisations, such as the Green Office.


The Kookerwurmen’s main task is to keep everyone well fed during the several camps and other club activities throughout the year. They make the shopping list and cook during the activities. Besides that, they also organize activities themselves like the running dinner and more.

Material committee

The material committee makes sure the club material is in good state, and safe to use. While the material commissioner remains responsible, the material committee helps with reparations and periodical maintenance. The most important function of the material committee is to preserve knowledge of the material in the club.


The PDactie is the editorial office of the 'Periodiek Duikje' (PD), the clubs magazine, which is published three times a year. Do you enjoy writing, taking photos, giving interviews, or messing around with design? The PDactie can always use new members! If you're interested, feel free to contact us!

Science committee (WC)

The science committee is the 'B' in G.B.D. Calamari. Perhaps unique to Calamari is our high interest in life underwater. Once you know what you can find underwater, you will end up seeing more, which makes diving even more enjoyable. Because of that, the science committee organizes a yearly course in underwater biology (the OWBO, currently only given in Dutch), which is accessible to non-members as well. In addition to that, they organise presentations during diving weekends, lectures, fun movie nights and more.

Treasury committee (KasCo)

The treasury committee checks the financial transactions of the board by using the clubs financial accounting. At the yearly general members meeting, they will give advice regarding the discharge of the board and they give a report on the carefulness with which the financial matters are dealt with. This committee is led by the treasurer.

Underwater hockey committee (OWHC)

The underwater hockey committee is responsible for everything regarding underwater hockey, like the contents of their training and making sure the competition days go as planned.

Website committee (HTTPcie)

The simple fact that you can find all the information you might ever need about G.B.D. Calamari on this website is thanks to the HTTPcie. They make sure the website runs smoothly and that you can register for all the fun activities organized by all committees. Do you have an affinity for websites, or do you simply enjoy being creative and designing web pages? Talk to a HTTPcian!


If it sounds fun to you to come snorkeling, diving, or to play underwater hockey with us, it is always possible to become a member!

Various introductory dives and training sessions are organized at the beginning of the academic year. The 1-star/Open Water diving course starts immediately after the intro diving period. So if you don’t have a certification yet, now is the best time to become a member. In addition, we also organize a special introductory period during this time specifically designed for our new members. During this period, new members can buy snorkeling equipment at a discount while also quickly getting to know the club during the variety of fun organized events. In addition, a complete snorkeling course aimed at beginners is given during this period at the snorkel training session.

Although you do not want to miss this intro period, it is possible to become a member at any time throughout the year. It remains possible to follow an intro dive or intro training session in advance (completely without obligation). Please contact us for any more details on this.

Since 2012, Calamari has been offering underwater hockey again. As a result, there are uniquely two types of memberships within the club. The diving members have access to all of our facilities, including those for underwater hockey. The underwater hockey membership is for the non-divers among us. This membership is cheaper, but the facilities intended for diving (club equipment, diving activities, diving training and equipment storage) are excluded.

In addition to the club contribution costs, there may also be additional costs.

Contribution to the Dutch Underwater Sports Organization (NOB)

All diving members, as well as all underwater hockey members that participate in competitions, are required to become a member of the NOB. This contribution to this organization is paid to the NOB via the club. Via the NOB we register any of your certifications and make sure you are insured for any potential diving accidents. As an NOB member, you also receive a subscription to the Onderwatersport Magazine which is mailed to you 6 times a year, and you are supporting the preservation and improvement of diving locations around the Netherlands

Diving member

Contribution: € 75.00
NOB costs: € 55.80

Competition UWH member

Contribution: € 40.-
NOB costs: € 55.80

Underwaterhockey member

Contribution: € 40.-

Diving course costs

Because all of our instructors provide the training voluntarily, we can keep certification costs low. The amount consists of the costs for the license registration with the NOB and for providing the necessary training materials for any training activities.

1*/OW Course

Training cost: € 25.00
Certificate registration: € 27.50

2*/AOW Course

Training cost: € 15.00
Certificate registration: € 27.50

3*/DM Course

Training cost: € 15.00
Certificate registration: € 27.50


The ACLO subsidises student sports associations in order to buy and maintain equipment, accommodation, and guidance in order to facilitate cheap sports for students. Therefore, as a regular member of G.B.D. Calamari you are obligated to get an ACLO-membership. Theoretically, all students from Groningen are eligible for this membership. The membership can be bought through the website of the ACLO. Besides the possibility of joining association related sports hours, you can also use the extensive sport facilities of the ACLO itself.

Donor membership

Anyone can become a donor of G.B.D. Calamari. If you would like to stimulate scuba diving or increase attention to underwater biology, the Groninger Biologists Diving Club is the place to be. We offer scuba diving courses to students and alumni with volunteer instructors and focus a lot of attention to the underwater biology course, which is followed by both students and other divers.

The minimum donation is €30.-. For that, you'll receive our clubs magazine, the Pd, three times a year. You'll also be able to use our compressor and you'll naturally be welcome to join us on our diving weekends to Zeeland. These are organised 5 times a year. As a donor, you can also become or stay a member of the Dutch Underwater Sports Union (NOB) via G.B.D. Calamari. The unions contribution will be charged yearly and you'll receive the diving magazine Onderwatersport. If you have any questions you can always contact us.


Stay informed of the Intro activities?

Are you interested in diving, underwater hockey or snorkeling at G.B.D. Calamari? Or do you want to know more about the possibilities of obtaining a diving certificate? Sign up here for the newsletter to stay informed of everything regarding the introduction period!

Did we pique your interest in either diving and/or underwater hockey with G.B.D. Calamari? Or do you simply have a few more questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!