There is no gold standard for the diagnosis and monitoring of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Biomarkers are useful tools for the management of patients suffering from IBD. However, they should be used only when their additional information is useful for clinical decision-making. In principal, four situations during the management of an individual IBD patient can be discriminated from a clinical standpoint in which biomarkers provide useful information. First, biomarkers may be helpful when the diagnosis of IBD is established and aid in the discrimination between ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) is necessary. Second, biomarkers may be helpful in the prognostic evaluation of IBD severity or disease behavior and for early decisions on the best treatment. The third situation in which biomarkers are useful is the evaluation of disease activity during the disease course, for monitoring and for guidance of ongoing treatment. Finally, the fourth typical situation when biomarkers are of value is after surgery to predict or diagnose a relapse of the disease. From a clinical point of view, it may be more useful to discuss specific biomarkers and their individual value and impact in these four prototypic situations than to sum up advantages and disadvantages for each biomarker isolated from the clinical situation. Therefore, this overview is structured in chapters reflecting those four typical situations during the disease course of IBD patents to critically evaluate the potential and value of each of the biomarkers in the specific situation.