A secondary organic aerosol (SOA) model, the Hydrophilic/Hydrophobic Organic model (H2O), is presented and evaluated over Europe. H2O uses surrogate organic molecules to represent the myriad of SOA species and distinguishes two kinds of surrogate species: hydrophilic species (which condense preferentially into an aqueous phase) and hydrophobic species (which condense only into an organic phase). These surrogate species are formed from the oxidation in the atmosphere of volatile organic compounds. H2O includes several important processes, including the effect of nitrogen oxides (NOX) on SOA formation, the dissociation of organic acids in an aqueous phase, the oligomerization of aldehydes, the non-ideality of the particle phase and the hygroscopicity of organics. Concentrations of organic aerosols were simulated over Europe from July 2002 to July 2003 for comparison with measurements of the European Monitoring Evaluation Program (EMEP). In H2O, primary organic aerosols (POA) are considered as semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC) present in both the gas phase and the particle phase. Taking into account the gas-phase fraction of SVOC increases significantly organic PM concentrations, particularly in winter, in better agreement with observations. The impacts on organic aerosol formation of ideality, of the choice of the parameterization for isoprene SOA formation, and of the OM/OC ratio of the model were also investigated. Assuming ideality in H2O was found to lead to a small decrease in OM. Compared to a two-product parameterization, the parameterization of Couvidat and Seigneur  for SOA formation from isoprene oxidation leads to a significant increase in isoprene SOA by taking into account their hydrophilic properties and suggests that most models may currently underestimate isoprene SOA.