First, the bad news… It has been wet and unseasonably cold for pretty much the whole of May so far, which is bad, or even catastrophic, news for Slovenia’s bees and beekeepers. The latter are keeping their fingers (and toes) crossed that conditions improve soon in order to salvage what they can from the grazing season.
Now, the good news. Slovenia’s application to be placed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage has been accepted, a process in which the Museum of Apiculture in Radovljica played a large part, together with the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association and the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum. To mark World Earth Day, on 22nd April, Radovljica played host to a special event to mark Slovenia’s entry onto the aforementioned UNESCO List. Among those in the photo below are the mayor of Radovljica, the president of the Slovenian Beekeeping Association, the director of Radovljica Municipal Museums, Slovenia’s Minister for Culture, the president of the Radovljica Beekeeping Society, and, of course, our many beekeepers!
The following quote by Dr. Asta Vrečko, Slovenia’s Minister of Culture, sums up the significance of this achievement for Slovenian culture: “The inscription of beekeeping on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage is of exceptional significance for Slovenia and the world. At the time of climate change, bees and beekeeping must receive special attention, and traditional beekeeping, which is a way of life in harmony with nature, must be nurtured in particular. The beekeeping heritage has a long history that is intertwined with culture and amateur art. Today, urban apiaries also present an important segment of beekeeping.”
Here’s some fascinating Slovenian bee facts and figures I came across while reading the Sunday paper, which, by the way, is published on a Wednesday!
- There are over 11,000 beekeepers in Slovenia
- Slovenian beekeepers have over 200,000 bee families
- There are 30 registered breeders of queen bees in Slovenia, who breed around 40,000 queens per year
- There are 206 beekeeping societies in Slovenia
There are numerous ways you can get acquainted with Slovenia’s bees and beekeepers in the Radovljica area.
Undoubtedly, Erik Luznar is Radovljica’s star beekeeper, in more ways than one! Not only is he one of the few beekeepers here who does it for a living, but he is also now a star in India too, thanks to one of the country’s most popular vloggers, Dhruv Rathee, who visited Erik and his bees to find out more. Over 2 million people have watched it!
In addition to the aforementioned Museum of Apiculture, which is a ‘must see’ when visiting Radovljica…
… the area is also home to the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska in Lesce, where you can get up close to a traditional Slovenian apiary, and sit back and enjoy watching the bees going about their business while enjoying a hot or cold drink.
This month, the Radovljica Beekeeping Society celebrated its 140th anniversary at the Centre.
And finally, don’t miss the family ‘Follow a Bee Through Radovljica‘ adventure, which is ideal for the entire family.
I hoped I’ve provided you with more than enough reasons, and inspiration, to make sure you do something bee-related on your visit to Slovenia, after all: No Bees, No Life!
© Adele in Slovenia