Unique Bumblebee Rhapsody made in association with Van Hall Larenstein


The Bumblebee Rhapsody was performed yesterday at De Kruidhof in the botanical garden of Fryslân. The project Silence of the Bees is a cooperation of VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL), De Kruidhof in Buitenpost and the University of Oldenburg.

About 400 visitors came to hear the unique concert that was composed with various sounds and data from the bumblebee hives of schools in Fryslân and Ostfiesland. The sounds and data were transcribed into a bee symphony by the Australian sound artists Nigel Helyer and Jon Drummond. During the concert there was a live connection with the botanical gardens of Oldenburg and Emden, where local brass bands performed the concert simultaneously. This is the first time that bee sounds are transcribed into music.

Bumblebee Rapsody in the Kruidhof

During this midsummer night the gardens opened for the public and people could visit the bee-keeper as well as enjoy the 17 different gardens in full bloom. At exactly 20:12 hrs the brass bands performed the first part of the bee concert simultaneously. Brass band ‘Blaast de Bazuin’ from Surhuisterveen played the exceptional concert with verve. During the following break three poets recited a bee-poem in their own language in every garden.

Meindert Talma recited his poem ‘Earlik as de bijen’ that was specially written for the occasion in Frysk and Dutch. Pupils of RSG Simon Vestdijk in Harlingen told the audience about the bumblebee research project they did at school and about their views on the future of the bees in Fryslân. Then the final part of the concert was performed, followed by a minute of silence to make people more aware of the silence that falls if bees would disappear. Students of the Academy for Popculture closed the night with a musical performance accompanied by penetrating images of endangered bees. During the concert all the gardens were connected through a satellite connection and big screens, so visitors could also follow the concerts in the German gardens.

Oratorio till October as a crowd puller

An Oratorio will remain in the gardens of Buitenpost, Oldenburg and Emden during the next few years. The Oratorio is a sculpture, made from wattle and daub and old wine bottles. People can enter these constructions to immerse themselves in the music from the bumblebees that live in the hives around the Oratorio.


The extinction of bees is threatening to our bio diversity, our food supply and our economy. Bees pollinate our crops. A lot of research is done on the extinction, but still not in our region. Silence of the Bees is a project of LF-2018 focusing on raising awareness and stimulating processes that help the bees in our food production. Silence of the Bees asks for attention for the bee and induces people to see these insects as an important partner in our society. Science, nature and art are included in the project as much as possible.