Prof. dr. Freek Vonk

About Freek Vonk

Freek Vonk is Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry at the Amsterdam Institute of Molecular and Life Sciences (AIMMS), Department of Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Freek is an internationally recognized expert in evolutionary molecular biology, particularly in the field of snake venom. 

Prof. Dr. Freek Vonk studied biology at Leiden University where he specialised in the evolutionary biology of reptiles, resulting in a PhD on Snake evolution and prospecting of snake venom. He was awarded the prestigious Eureka prize in science communication, for his contribution in increasing the knowledge and involvement of the general public in science. He advanced as a postdoctoral researcher at the Molecular Ecology and Evolution Group at Bangor University, sequencing and studying the genomes and transcriptomes of the king cobra. He continued this work at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, including the genomes of the Malayan pit viper. Over the years he has published articles in many scientific journals including Nature, Cell, and PNAS.

Freek is a fearless biologist on a quest to encounter and film all animal species on planet earth. He travels the world in search of the most spectacular and bizarre creatures. From the jungle to the dessert, to the North Pole and under the sea, prof. dr. Vonk will go anywhere to fulfil his dream. He has been bitten by a number of venomous snakes, almost lost his arm due to a shark bite and has housed several parasites in his own body. But nothing can stop this brave adventurer from exploring the beautiful world around us!

Freek is famous in the Netherlands for his television programs, in which he shares his love for wildlife with his viewers. For the past seven seasons, Freek has been the most popular tv host amongst children, because of his popular documentary series FREEKS WILD WORLD. FREEKS WILD WORLD is broadcasted on the Dutch public channel NPO 3, the show reaches over a million viewers per episode. Among the most highly acclaimed TV projects were three episodes of ‘DWDD University’ in which Prof. Dr. Vonk gave an hour-long lecture about venom, the evolution of animals and super senses. The shows scored over one and a half million viewers during prime time, on the largest Dutch broadcasting network.

Furthermore Freek creates his own children’s magazine called “Wild van Freek” reaching ten thousands of children every month. Next to that Freek annually hosts an amazing show in AFAS Live, called Freek Vonk Live, where thousands of families come and see Freek perform every year.