Not only there are the sky-high office complexes built at Zuidas, but there is a concern for the bees as well. So, Zuidas has built up to 19 Bee Hotels in the area. It is an award-winning project to green the city. The solitary bee has a crucial role, and oak wood is the best material, is what the designers of these hotels can tell us.

In the summer of 2019, one of the award-winning initiatives, initiated by Zuidas inhabitant Ton Wagemans and his daughter Julie was: The implementing of insect hotels at Zuidas. In the week of the 14th of April 2020, 19 of these hotels, designed by Aad Kruiswijk, (photo above right) and Willem van den Broek (to the left) of BureauAat, have been rapidly built. You can find the hotels, for example, at Station RAI and station Amsterdam Zuid.

Lots of experience

“We construct the hotels at a rapid pace”, Van den Broek tells “The hotels have been ready-made, as well as the legs that support them. So, we only have to put them together.” For Kruiswijk, this is not his first experience with bee hotels. It was his idea to put a diamond-shaped roof on top. “Experience tells us, that this makes the hotels less liable to wet weather conditions and this way the entrances stay dry for the bees. Because if the entrances get wet, the little nests won’t stay intact.”

With the bees, you can find the hotels, so, click on the drawing to get a better picture. Bee hotels are not just there for the well-known honey bee but also houses the solitary bee. As its name tells us, the solitary bee doesn’t live in a group. Van den Broek:” So, people walking past the hotels don’t have to be scared that a large swarm of bees will follow them.”

Kruiswijk:” As a matter of fact, the solitary bee will only stay with the hotel for a short while. He collects his pollen at a distance of about 200 metres. And places it together with its larva in one of the hotel rooms. He repeats this action seven times, so in the end, there are seven larvae’s in one hotel room. Finally, he closes the entrance to the room.” Van den Broek:” You can imagine, with up to 540 compartments, at the end of the season, there are many new bees.”

Plants for reproduction and nutrition

“It is essential to supply the bees with the right plants at a distance of 200 metres”, says Van den Broek.” These are plants which offer nectar and pollen for food- like anther dust for the bees’ nests-and the bees can also spread the plants’ pollen.” For instance, the daisy, shrubs and the dandelion are god candidates. These flowers can grow in the Beatrixpark, and the Counsel plants them near the bee hotels, which will then be spread all over Zuidas.

After the construction and setting up of the hotels, the job is done, for Kruiswijk and Van den Broek. “That is the good thing about these hotels. You help nature and then it takes its course, the bees take over”, says Van den Broek. “The oak wood hotels last a long time and are solid and strong.” If they are frequently visited, that’s for every passer-by to see.

Kruiswijk:” If the little hole is still empty, there is no larva in the room. But if there is a small natural wall, the place is occupied. It can’t be much more transparent.” And when we get the chance again, we hope to follow the bee route with the initiators and hope to hear if they are satisfied with the implementation of their plan.