Ferroelectric materials with Bi-layered structure such as SrBi2Ta2O9 and SrBi2Nb2O9 are now intensively investigated in view of their applications in nonvolatile computer memories and high-temperature piezoelectric transducers. When Sr2+ is substituted with Ba2+, a significant disorder is induced and the material exhibits broadening of the phase transition. Such broadening is essential for applications since it allows achieving smooth temperature characteristics while maintaining high dielectric and piezoelectric properties. In this work, stoichiometric dense BaBi2Nb2O9 (BBN) ceramics are sintered using a mixed oxide route. Dielectric and ferroelectric properties are investigated in a broad range of temperatures and frequencies. Strong dispersion of the complex relative dielectric permittivity is observed including typical relaxor features such as shift of the permittivity maximum with frequency and broadening of the relaxation time spectrum with decreasing temperature. The dielectric relaxation obeys the Vögel–Fulcher relationship with anomalously low freezing temperature (Tf ≈ 100 K), which is much lower than the permittivity maximum in the radio-frequency range. Polarization hysteresis loops testify linear properties of BBN at all temperatures above Tf. The properties of BBN ceramics are compared to conventional relaxor systems such as Pb(Mg, Nb)O3 and (Pb, La)(Zr, Ti)O3. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.