The Dutch in Amsterdam have created an interesting way for folks in the city to keep bees. It is called a bijenpark, or bee park.
There are several within a short bus ride from the Amsterdam center. I visited the Oude Bijenpark (Old Beepark), Nieuwe Bijenpark (New Beepark) and the Bijenpark Waterland in the northern part of Amsterdam.
This is so different from how we have an apiary in the US! At the bee park, there is usually one central area where the bee hives are located.
Then all around the apiary, many people (from 20 – 100) have a garden allotment or plot where they maintain a beautiful garden. In addition, there is often an outbuilding or cottage on each parcel, and they might have solar power and water to make make their coffee while spending the day at their garden away from the city. Here are a few cottages at the Old Bee Park.
The local beekeeping club associated with the bee park uses a common area of the park for workshops and hands on demonstrations and mentoring. At the Nieuwe Bijenpark, there is also a large building used for classes, and it houses a beekeeping museum.
There is an excellent article about bee parks at this page – this will take you about half way down the page to the heading “The Amsterdam Bee Park.” This well-written article is in English and will give you a lot of information about the bee parks. The rest of the site is in Dutch.
This idea of bee parks really struck me as such an interesting way to take care of both the needs of people to experience nature, and the needs of the bees. This is the ultimate bee garden with so many people planting what the bees need. I can imagine that these are healthy bees with a varied diet.