I’m currently working on a city guide: 111 places in The Hague that you must not miss. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is. I feel like a tourist in my own town: I explore neighborhoods I hardly ever visited before, meet exceptional new people and fall deeper in love with my beautiful city every day. Last week, I learned about a secluded flower garden embraced by shrubs and trees at the end of my street where bees are being kept. I pass by several times a week, but wasn’t aware of the garden or the beehives at all. The secrets of the city!
The beekeeper in my street is Eveline de Heij. She started with one beehive in 2012 and now has ten colonies. Her big yard is the ideal surrounding for ‘urban beekeeping’. Eveline, who also lives on the property, created this beautiful bee-friendly garden over the years. There’s an abundance of wild flowers that bees love, like the Black-Eyed Susan, Thistle, and Lavatera. She treats her garden and plants with care and in a natural way, i.e. she doesn’t use pesticides. And if the bees leave the property they find the dunes nearby (bees can travel about 3 km).
Upon showing me the inside of a beehive, I immediately understood why people want to keep bees. It’s magical to observe the hardworking little bees with their habits and behaviors. And knowing that we need bees to pollinate crops, makes bee keeping even more interesting and important. I mean, no bees, no food (Greenpeace claims that honey bees -wild and domestic- provide 80 procent of all pollination world wide). And then of course there is the sweet reward: honey, the golden liquid!
Eveline’s bees produce a pure and delicious honey, which she sells under the name Haagse Honing (The Hague Honey). Her honey can be found in several quality stores in The Hague (see addresses below). Also a passionate cook, she creates several delicacies with her honey, like granola, nougat, and panforte. Eveline gave me her recipe for panforte, so I’ll share this soon with you.
I’m hooked, but I don’t have a garden, only a rooftop. Eveline explains that you can keep bees on rooftops perfectly. As long as there are flowers nearby, you can keep bees practically anywhere. The biggest problem will probably be the neighbors though: people still think beekeeping is a dangerous hobby and they might complain. But if you take care of your bees there’s no need to be afraid. All you have to do is keep your bees friendly and they won’t sting. I signed up for a beekeeping course today.
Haagse Honing is available at:
Kali Tengah, Weimarstraat 54, The Hague
Bar en Zo, Prins Hendrikstraat 103, The Hague
Gransjean, Bankastraat 12, The Hague
Simon de Vogel, Frederik Hendriklaan 70, The Hague