Debating can be described as a “sport” – meaning means that there are plenty of competitions within which to participate. You learn a lot during a tournament, because you participate in multiple rounds and can put feedback into practice immediately. Our debaters attend tournaments as both competitors and as jury members. Tournaments are particularly special because you compete with debaters societies from across and outside the Netherlands, and so make friends with students from all corners of the world. As tournaments receive debaters of all levels, you can participate as soon as you have completed our beginners’ course!

External tournaments

Each debate association organises at least one debate tournament per year, so on the weekends we send groups from Bonaparte all over, for example to Utrecht. Such a tournament has around five preliminary rounds, in which you are assigned rooms according to how well you are doing: if you win the first two debates, you will compete against other teams who have won twice. At the end of the tournament, the best teams advance to the final, which is held in public.

Tournaments take place not only in the Netherlands, but around the world. Our best debaters this year are participating in the European Athens and World Championships in Athens and Bangkok. You can participate in all other foreign tournaments without a selection procedure. If you have the time and money, you can be abroad every weekend!

Bonaparte’s open tournaments

Bonaparte also hosts tournaments for debaters from other societies. Bonapartians are not allowed to participate themselves, but they can judge and help with organisation. Our two largest tournaments are the Bonaparte Debate Tournament (BDT) and the Amsterdam Open.

In each tournament, between 50 and 150 people come to Amsterdam. The BDT lasts a day, with Dutch as the working language and American Parliamentary as the format. Amsterdam Open is an international tournament and therefore has English as the official language. It lasts two days and is in British Parliamentary style.

Our third small tournament is the NK Eloquentia, where the focus is on the style of your speech: making it convincing expressive. It is a great change from the other formats and provides a true public spectacle!

Internal tournaments

We also have internal tournaments, more for fun than for eternal fame. The exact arrangement varies from year to year but we usually have the following three tournaments:

  • First year’s tournament
  • Friends and family tournament
  • Internal tournament