Abstract An angle and spin resolved photoemission study with very different species on iron is presented. It was carried out with iodine, benzene, and xenon on thin magnetized Fe(110) films grown layer-by-layer on W(110) by molecular beam epitaxy. For atomically adsorbed iodine a strong hybridization occurs, leading to exchange split I 5p x and 5p z bands reflecting an induced magnetic moment of the iodine overlayer. The molecular adsorbate benzene shows no exchange splittings neither for the σ nor for the π orbitals being involved into the bonding to the substrate thus indicating a weaker hybridization between adsorbate and substrate bands. For physisorbed xenon, however, spin splittings occur for both 5p levels due to a nonvanishing net magnetic moment of the ionic hole states leading to a magnetic coupling between substrate and adsorbate ion.