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Beekeeping is a very interesting and profitable venture that can be combined with other ventures or jobs with ease. Keeping bees is practiced by hundreds of people in the Netherlands as a profession or a hobby. Together, Dutch beekeepers have 40,000 to 80,000 beehives spread all over the country. By managing their hives, they ensure the pollination of all sorts of vegetables, fruit and seed crops. The annual total beekeeping turnover for the Dutch economy is estimated at 1 billion euro. However, the income of the beekeepers for this service is relatively low and the economic yield of the honey is also negligible in comparison with the contribution honeybees make to agriculture and horticulture.

Furthermore, the honeybee is also very valuable for nature in the Netherlands. Honeybees pollinate about 15% of wild plants. Some of these plants mainly depend on honeybees for seed formation and thus for their survival. This makes man-kept bees crucial for biodiversity in nature. The beekeeping profession has changed drastically since the Industrial Revolution due to the influx of machinery. And as time has progressed, the machinery that has been developed has become more advanced and affordable. Equipment like honey extractors, wax extractors, bee smokers, presses, filters, storage equipment and protective clothing have advanced. These innovations have made beekeeping affordable, profitable and easier to do.

Retired beekeepers, advisors and teachers in beekeeping who have been working in the Dutch beekeeping sector, some of them with considerable international work experience, are registered as senior experts with PUM. Not only is their equipment very advanced, but the methods used to cultivate and harvest the honey are also state of the art as well. There are more than 300 different types of honey. The flavour, aroma and colour of honey can differ substantially based on the flowers the nectar was collected from.

Find out more by downloading the sector sheet Beekeeping on the right hand side of this page.