Whoever walks from Dam Square in Amsterdam into the Nes, a narrow, dark street, known for its theaters such as De Brakke Grond. In there, through a door and backstage, behind a stage, up the stairs, and another staircase, a storage room, a door and suddenly: a roof. In the middle of the city, but far from the hustle and bustle, there they are: the beehives, neatly in a row.
They are everywhere, the city bees. On the roofs of luxury hotels such as The Grand and Waldorf Astoria. Or on top of a wonderful work of art on a busy road in the Eastern Docklands: the beekeeper can get there by pressing a button, after which a ladder appears. And furthermore, at the University of Amsterdam, in the Hortus, among the greenery at the Gaasperplas, on balconies, in schools, on the sixteenth floor of an office tower on the Zuidas and in a place whose name demanded it: the roof of the Beehive. In Amsterdam the bee is welcome as long as a beekeeper keeps a skilled watch.
There are many, more than you think: bee colonies in the city that people watch over. Assertive when necessary, meek when the people ask for it, but always with the immense dedication that a beekeeper must have. The responsibility for hundreds or thousands of buzzing souls is great. It is a sacrifice, one that takes time, thought and love.
KEEPERS by photographer Jurre Rompa cinematically shows the mysterious world of the beekeeper. In places where the unsuspecting passer-by would never suspect a kingdom of bees. In the city, in Amsterdam. Jurre Rompa is a portrait and documentary photographer from Amsterdam (1990). The KEEPERS series received the second prize at the Zilveren Kamera in the Nature and Science category. His work appears in National Geographic, de Volkskrant, Het Parool, Wired, NRC and the BBC, among others.