Canadian company Alvéole brings urban beekeeping to Amsterdam rooftops
Amsterdam's business scene and love of flowers encouraged Canadian company Alvéole to bring its urban beekpeeing services to the city. Co-founder and Operating Partner Declan Rankin Jardin tells I amsterdam all about it.
Connecting businesses to nature
Canada-headquartered Alvéole is an urban beekeeping service which installs beehives on the roofs or grounds of businesses, schools and other organisations. As well as protecting and preserving a threatened species like honey bees, the businesses who host the hives can contribute to their sustainable development goals and increase engagement among employees. The resulting honey harvest can be jarred and custom labelled to distribute to their network or neighbours.
At the end of 2021 Alvéole announced its expansion into 12 new major cities in North America and five in Europe, including Amsterdam. Co-founder and Operating Partner Declan Rankin Jardin explains Alvéole’s work and hopes for the new Amsterdam location:
What does Alvéole do?
We install honey bee hives on rooftops. Over the last nine years, we have innovated on our turnkey urban beekeeping service for businesses, schools and organisations. At Alvéole, we see honeybees as ambassadors for all pollinators, which is why we are determined to make people fall in love with them. Because of the honeybee’s social nature we’ve found that people can easily make a tangible connection between the environment, our dependency on pollinators and our daily choices. And this for us is where the larger conversation begins. Overall, we are actively connecting people to nature in cities.
Why did Alvéole choose to expand to Europe and specifically to Amsterdam?
Coming from Canada & the USA, we chose Amsterdam because we wanted to provide an opportunity for our current employees to go on an adventure in Europe. The business hub attracting local and international talents and the accessibility to English made Amsterdam a very attractive city, since many of our current staff do not speak German, French or Spanish.
Flowers and forward-thinking
What makes Amsterdam a good place for your company?
The love of flowers, the forward-thinking spirit and the environmental consciousness are three main ones that come to mind. The Dutch seem to be very worldly in their thinking, and we liked that. Pushing boundaries is one of our mottos, and this city is inspirational in that way.
Where is the Amsterdam office and when did it open?
We are currently a five minute walk from Nieuwmarkt, and are actively building a honey extraction facility within a 30 minute train ride from the city centre. It has only been six months, but we are completely charmed by this city. It really is the most bike-friendly city I have seen. Those of us that moved here from Canada are hoping to stay. Come find us and we will give you a jar of our fresh honey.
How big is the team and what kinds of roles do they have?
The European team is eight-strong and still growing like mad. We are looking to ramp up to a total of 20 people by mid-June. The team’s roles are split into ops and admin. On the ops side, we have full-time beekeepers that service our hives year-round and give live workshops to our clients. On the admin side, there’s urban beekeeping specialists that onboard new clients and work with them to make their projects come to life. We also have some marketing and support staff that are growing our brand and presence here in Europe.
What has the reception been like in Amsterdam so far?
Fantastic. We are so glad for the reception, since we did not know what to expect, coming from a North American market. [We] can’t wait for summer to see all the beautiful blooms and nature that the Netherlands has to offer.
What are the next steps for Alvéole in Amsterdam?
We will begin setting up our first beehives in May. Then the fun begins! We currently have a limited amount of them we can install. The cities we operate in are Paris, Amsterdam, London, Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin. Once we get started in those, we will start exploring Italy, Switzerland and Spain too! We welcome other suggestions.
Which companies here, if any, are already using Alvéole's services?
Many of our current partners in North America have followed us across the pond, such as larger international firms that love their bees in New York, San Francisco and Chicago, and that have offices here. However we are still getting to know the local organisations and schools here in the Netherlands that would enjoy this concept.