Land of Milk and Honey

Right! Winter’s been chased off by the mythical Kurentand it’s time to turn a new leaf. Slovenia is literally in bloom as its dreamy Alpine meadows burst into motley flowers, kindly inviting the bees to pasture. Did you know Slovenia is a cradle of beekeeping, the ancestral home of the native Carniolan honeybee known as the world’s most peaceful bee species, nicknamed the Lady Bee? Legend says it settled these parts in the wake of the Great Flood, when biblical Noah led to his ark alongside the other animals also a pair of honeybees which then stayed in this marvellous nook of the world. Mythology aside, Slovenia boasts a rich historical beekeeping tradition, its records dating all the way back to the 17th century when Johann Weikhard von Valvasor already wrote of the bees of Carniola.

This year, the planet celebrated its first-ever World Bee Day, and Slovenia is proud to have contributed the initiative behind this worthy holiday. Bees play a critical role in the ecosystem, providing for a diverse range of health foods with their mission of pollinating some two thirds of all cultivated crops, and even 90% of the fruit trees. Every third spoonful we eat depends on the bees! Their survival, in turn, depends on our own environmental awareness – a cherished value in Slovenia.

Busy as a bee

The Carniolan honey bee, a token part of Slovenian identity, is known for its gentle nature, industriousness, temper and extraordinary sense of orientation. And what do bees have in common with the Slovenia Meetings community? Diligence, an earnest approach and enthusiasm – these are precisely the essential elements of the national brandI FEEL SLOVENIA. Together, they constitute what we like to call Slovenian energy, the heart of Slovenia Meetings and our country’s congress and tourism sectors.

Slovenian energy is different.

It’s naturally laid back. Relaxed. Calm.

Not all sparkly on the outside then quickly running out of fizz.

It’s slow release, enduring, in it for the long haul.

Slovenian energy is there for you when you need creative input. It’ll be there throughout the event journey, right until the end when your attendees give you a standing ovation for a job well done. With you all the way!

Apiculture as a unique MICE experience 

In Upper Carniola, the beekeeping tradition is especially strong in the people’s consciousness. It’s no wonder the father of Slovenian beekeeping, Anton Janša, was born in these parts precisely. Tip #1: The floral cornucopia of Bohinj and the surrounding mountain peaks is a balm not just for the bees but for any soul who chances to visit the Triglav National Park between early spring and late fall. From botanical wisdom to folklore, across the arts and insight that flowers aren’t just pretty but belong in many places, even inside the cooking pot! Thus, the idea was born for the International Wild Flower Festival, where a range of expert, cultural and entertainment events connected with floral themes unravel. Paradise for the bees and all lovers of Alpine nature, as well as a great location for creative incentives in the mountains.

Tip #2: Let’s point out that in Bled and its surroundings, team spirit can be fortified through a pleasant variety of api-programmes based on honey. Perhaps you’ll opt for api-activities in the fresh Alpine air, the planting of honey-bearing flora, or try your hand at the artisanal representation of beehive panels or the making of traditional honey delicacies. Have you been to the land of milk and honey? Witnessing the fascinating world of bees up close won’t disappoint! In the evening, it’s time for some api-relaxation. How about some api-therapy or honey massage? Slovenia offers a variety of wellness programmes built on wholesome honey products. 100% healthy and natural! Before gliding into slumber, you can watch the innovative presentation of the Carniolan honeybee and other sights of Upper Carniola – straight from the comfortable bed of the recently renovated Rikli Balance Hotel.

Beekeeping congress

In 2003 Slovenia played stage to the Apimondia beekeeping congress, celebrating Vienna’s first beekeeping school (founded in 1770 by Maria Theresa) and its professor Anton Janša, our kinsman whose pupils planted the historical seeds of this prestigious congress aimed at transferring expert knowledge and ideas across the continent. Who knows, perhaps Slovenia has another beekeeping congress in store in the coming years?

»Much like every religious person should visit Israel once in their lifetime, Slovenia is a must for any dedicated beekeeper.« Gilles Ratia, former president of the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations Apimondia.

So, if you’re looking to experience something fresh, unique and truly different while also pitching in for a better tomorrow by promoting respect for the natural and cultural environment, Slovenia’s api-experiences offer a perfect match. Adventures and certified programmes based on beekeeping are available in many corners of Slovenia. Don’t forget: a scoop of honey a day keeps the doctor away! Let’s do our best and protect these busy, magical little creatures.

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Author: Jasna Jašič, Marketing & Communications Manager, Slovenian Convention Bureau, photo: Rikli Balance Hotel, Sava Hotels

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