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Experiencing Nature with All Senses: The Bee House in Schaumburg

Photo: C. Fischer

The Bee House is a unique location for scientific, educational, and cultural events – the only one of its kind in Germany. On the land of the forest apiary in Schaumburg, Germany, it is home to ten bee colonies that pique visitors’ interest in the fascinating world of bees and sensitize them to questions about our ecosystem. Here, the lifecycle of bees and their importance for natural balance can be experienced with all senses.

Even the building itself is unusual: the floor plan is inspired by the physical form of a freshly hatched bee larva. The core building materials – wood, straw, and clay – are not only ecologically sustainable, but also reflect the materials that bee hives were traditionally made from. The arched walls and ceilings create a very special feeling. The large panorama windows integrate the buildings of ten bee colonies; their buzzing penetrates the interior and through them, guests can watch bees in flight. In addition, there is a special device that coveys air from the bee colony into the room, so that its special quality can be directly experienced with the senses.

This unusual new event space and place of encounter expands the nature-pedagogical work of the forest apiary, which has been enriching the Schaumburg area for many years. Access and sanitary areas were intentionally designed to be barrier-free to enable all interested participants to attend the numerous events. These range from beekeeping courses and lectures on bee-friendly gardens to philosophical evenings, meditation, and bee music concerts in which the musicians integrate bee humming into their music. “In an impressive way, the Bee House transmits complex ecological relationships and the enormous value of biological diversity,” said SAGST project manager Christian Wüst. “The visitors can experience how important it is to take active responsibility for nature and the environment.”