Student - 21 september 2018

You on Campus: ‘I am a beekeeper: I’ve kept my own bees since I was 15’

Anne van der Heijden

After a long, hot summer, it’s not always easy to get up to speed in your studies again. Food Technology student Joost Geerlings (23) found it especially hard this year after having a year off to work on the board of student rowing club Argo. ‘Getting started is hard, but it’s nice to be back at uni.’

Photo Anne van der Heijden

Joost was a competition rower with Argo for two years before he decided to serve on the board. ‘Competition rowing was not a great success, although it was really fun,’ says Joost. ‘You’ve got to do your best as a whole group. You go through ups and downs together. It requires a lot of perseverance, but it does make for a very close group.’

When Joost started on the board, he dropped rowing. ‘You are just too busy on the board. I had a fantastic time. And it was nice to devote my efforts to something other than university.’

Joost feels there has been ‘a bit of a hole in terms of hobbies’ since he left the board. ‘At the start of my degree programme, it was rowing, and during my year on the board I didn’t have much spare time. Now that I’m studying again, I want to look for something new. Maybe take up a musical instrument. Or join in the pub quiz more often.’

But that doesn’t mean Joost now spends all his spare time chilling on the sofa. This afternoon he’s playing squash, for example. ‘And I’m a beekeeper. I’ve had my own bees at home since I was 15. If you do it properly, you only have busy weeks in the spring and autumn, and apart from that they are not very time-consuming. Last year I extracted 10 kilos of honey. I am selling that to be able to buy new stuff for the bees.’

Before Joost came here to study, he was in Wageningen occasionally in connection with his bees. ‘The ‘Bee House’ is here and I came there now and then. I learned a lot there from experienced beekeepers.’