the glocal BeeCare Amsterdam

BeeCare Amsterdam is an interdisciplinary art project that combines sociological, ecological and educational elements through performative acts, 3D objects and scientific research. BeeCare Amsterdam has at its goal to engage in the global pollination problematic by creating Bee protection zones within inner city areas. A bee protection zone is a place where human hospitality supplies the necessities needed by pollinators, especially for wild bees.

Hospitality, provided in the form of a 5 star board and lodging.


BeeTotems and BeeHotels 

We designed custom-made BeeHotels for shelter and BeeTotems for ‘restaurants’. BeeHotels are installed on balconies and BeeTotems preferably in public space to function as awareness creating billboards. Please view this presentation (in Dutch language):

Both of these objects need to be hosted by individual people and consequently become an ‘interface’ to evolve social cohesion. BeeTotems and BeeHotels are free of charge and if you like to get involved please fill in this file and send it to


When we go (the Bees), we’re taking you all with us‘.   Louis Masai Michel, London based Street Artist

In the light of the decline in the worldwide bee populations also called ‘bee depopulation syndrome’ or Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the world’s biodiversity and the variety of our future food resources are threatened. In the Netherlands more than half of the listed 357 wild bees are on the red list. Other pollinators like the butterflies face a similar faith. This has widespread consequences on the environment and on people. Bees have taken tremendous care of pollination on flowers, plants and trees for the last 130 millions of years and delivered us honey for millennia. Now it is our turn to provide top-level hospitality and concrete solutions to save them from extinction. Independent scientific research confirms that nowadays inner city centres provide a far better infrastructure for the survival of pollinators (when compared to the countryside and suburbia). According to scientists, the cause for this changes are a combination of reasons, the mono-cultivation by the farming community, the extensive use of pesticides and fungicide that is causing polluted surface and ground water over time and the Varroa mite which is getting gradually more resistant to the ‘bee-medicine’. Inner cities already hold a larger variety on flora spread over the seasons, have less polluted ground and surface water with far less pesticide usage such as the neonicotinoids and consequently form a high potential to be important pollinator reservoirs. It’s not only the strawberry we like to eat; our survival seemingly depends on the bees’ survival. Did Albert Einstein predict that if something eliminated bees from our planet, mankind would perish?


Solution based project

Up to this point in time the industries and scientific communities have not been able to implement working remedies to counter this rapid bee decline. We know by now, that we are not able to solve problems with the same thought paradigms as when they were created. We need to find new approaches and apply unconventional methods to develop solutions. BeeCare Amsterdam is meant to lead to a novel conservation strategy by transforming an inner-city neighbourhood into an official Bee-sanctuary or ‘Bee-protection-zone’. A Bee-sanctuary is an improved or upgraded biotope with a focus on pollinators, where a maximum on hospitality is provided. It is a creation of a ‘microclimate’ that applies to solitary bees, bumblebees, honeybees and the pollinating insects in general, such as butterflies. Maximum hospitality requires high-quality nesting places for the solitary bees that are strategically placed in the neighbourhood and a sustainable food supply throughout the seasons. It includes unconventional honeybee keeping (biodynamic, without honey collection and without pharmaceutical treatment) and the diminishing of pesticide use. These aspects go together with a variety of pioneering methods and campaigns to raise awareness and educating local residents with the formula: ‘What’s good for the bees is also good for the people!’ The BeeCare Amsterdam project works with specialists from several fields and regularly consults with their advisory board consisting of entomologists, biologists and ecologists.


Improving the relationship with the natural world

One could easiest compare the BeeCare Amsterdam project to ‘ecoart’ or environmental art practices that has, at its core, to rearrange part of nature to enhance its aesthetics to the spectator. In other words it is art that helps to improve the relationship with the natural world. While environmental art is mostly ephemeral by nature, the BeeCare Amsterdam project in contrast searches for understanding and hands-on inclusion of the local citizens to make the created circumstance self-propelling and sustainable in the long term. Processes entail much research and consultation, collaborating with specialists such as beekeepers and flora experts. If a utopian vision receives support from scientists, policy makers, educators and ultimately all the individuals in the community it becomes, step-by-step, a fact on the ground in the neighbourhood. BeeCare Amsterdam has comparable aspects and methods to a number of scientific research projects and to projects that are initiated by other artists and artist-collectives. It is a site-specific art intervention to question and change a particular situation. By rearranging and establishing a new situation it enables processes to take place that lead to an ‘utopian condition’.


The Inner City as Nature Reserve

In Spring 2014 the symposium with the title ‘The Inner City as Nature Reserve’ was held to inspire measures to improve an inner city biotope that equally adds to the well being of the people and to the pollinating insects alike.  Researchers came to the conclusion that a greener city environment that has been instigated through a ‘bottom-up’ initiative has remarkable effects on the health on people who inhabit the area and drastically reduces crime rates. A greener city environment enhances social cohesion. There is a certain urgency to create a new vocabulary that can cover aspects that are part of these transitions.


 Education and schools

Become an astronaut at school – Make your own GroenteRaket! Our planet is at the tipping point and urgently needs crew and no more additional passengers. The educational program is for primary and secondary schools and has a theoretical and practical leg. By engaging children in hands-on activities the urgency of the subject and the theory behind it becomes more comprehensive. This strategy of didactic measures lets us infiltrate in the local families in the neighbourhood by children building self-made objects and bringing supplied seed packages home to their parents. This project has been held at ten Amsterdam schools in 2016.


Scientific collaborations

The BeeCare Amsterdam project regularly consults with specialists from the field and its advisory board is consisting of entomologists, biologists and ecologists. Bob Ursem, director of the TU Delft Botanical Garden, Jeroen van der Sluijs, University of Utrecht, Environmental Sciences, Menno Reemer, Naturalis in Leiden and researcher on systematics and faunistics of Syrphidae (Diptera), Gert de Jong, Amsterdam City ecologist, Soesja van Gelderen, UvA, Biologist and Master c. Ecology and Evolution, with the focus on solitary bees in Amsterdam, Jelle Harms, Spatial Ecologist and GIS specialist and Oscar Vrij, chairman Bijenpark Amsterdam.


Committee of recommendation

The committee of recommendation consist of Prof. Dr. Marinus J.Sommeijer, Department of Biology, Utrecht University, Marc van den Tweel, Director at Natuurmonumenten, Maas Goote, Director at IUCN NL, Taeke Kuipers, Director at Stichting Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam.



BeeCare Amsterdam projects have found financial support by the City of Amsterdam Stadsdeel West, Province Noord-Holland, Prins Bernhard Fonds, GWL terrain, De Alliantie, ABC Alliantie West, Groen en Doen, Fonds voor Oost, ANMEC en NMA.



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