From brushes to bees


A buzzing interview with Anouchka, The Dylan’s beekeeping painter.

Hi Anouchka, could you tell us a bit more about yourself and your role at The Dylan?

Certainly! I joined The Dylan nearly five years ago as a temporary painter when the hotel sought assistance during renovations. To my delight, the hotel was very happy with my work and offered me a position once the renovation was complete. Now, I’m happy to be a fulltime ”family member” of The Dylan.

We’ve heard that you’re taking on a new function as well. Could you share more about that?

Anoushka de Graaf, beekeeper at The Dylan Amsterdam, posing proudly next to her beehive, dressed in an overall and with an beekeeper's hat.
Anouchka de Graaf

Absolutely! I’m currently pursuing a true passion, beekeeping! This has always intrigued me, as it’s been a longstanding dream of mine, it’s a craft on its own really. So one day I felt brave, and decided to take the first step: I enrolled in some beekeeping classes, to get familiar with the principle. It took around two years of theory and a year of shadowing my beekeeping instructor, but I can now proudly say that I’m a certified beekeeper!

And how did your bees land at The Dylan?

It’s quite a funny story actually. I had a conversation with our general manager and I shared my ideas about beekeeping. He was fascinated about the idea of having bees at The Dylan, especially the idea of serving our guests our very own honey. His enthusiastic response encouraged us to create a bee-friendly environment on one of our roofs, complete with plants and flowers.

Our aim is to eventually have honey exclusively from our own Dylan bees, or my ladies as I’d like to call them, at the hotel. I picture a fresh honeycomb on the breakfast buffet in OCCO, or using our own honey in one of our cocktails! There are so many great uses! Before we’re there, we need to have a consistent supply of honey, but we are well under way.

So how are your ladies doing so far?

We currently have two bee colonies and although we’ve had some challenges during winter, last year I was able to harvest our very first batches of ‘home made’ honey. In the spring, they produced almost 6 kg of honey, whereas in the end of July they produced another 8 kg, so they definitely are doing well! It was lovely to be able to sample both harvests next to each other, which were completely different. The spring harvest was definitely more delicate, very floral and light, you could almost taste the blossoms. The second batch, the summer honey, was much sweeter, rich in taste and really honey-like.

So besides their delicious honey, what else motivated you to start keeping bees at The Dylan?

Bees play a vital role in nature, particularly in pollinating flowers. Without bees, certain plants, fruits, and flowers would cease to exist. Creating a small bee-friendly environment is not only good for our guests’ appetite, but it also contributes to the overall sustainability of Amsterdam’s ecosystem. Unfortunately, many bee populations face significant declines due to various reasons, so through this initiative we hope to contribute and positively impact the environment too.

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View from luxury boutique hotel, The Dylan Amsterdam. A view on the secluded garden.

As a proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The Dylan offers the opportunity joining Leaders Club, a remarkably uncommon loyalty program. 

A view from one of the rooms in luxury boutique hotel The Dylan Amsterdam, member of the leading hotels of the world. View on the building and the secluded garden.
The leading hotels of the world. The Dylan Amsterdam is a member of this.

As a proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World, The Dylan offers the opportunity joining Leaders Club, a remarkably uncommon loyalty program.

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Een dag bómvol inspiratie voor aanstaande.

16 april 2023

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