Bee at flower.

Small-scale beekeeping allowed in public areas in Helsinki

Beekeeping is increasingly popular in Helsinki. The City of Helsinki promotes beekeeping by enabling non-professional beekeeping operations in the city’s public areas. New instructions are now available for beekeeping. The instructions are intended to ease the first stages of beekeeping, guiding beekeepers as they look for locations where to keep their bees.

The city has many types of bee plants in parks, flowerbeds, fields, roadsides, gardening plots, allotments gardens and blooming yards of houses. Bees are efficient pollinators for berry bushes and fruit trees on private yards and in gardens as well as in urban gardens.

Beekeeping requires careful planning and concern for citizens in the selection of locations for bee yards, which are known as apiaries. For example, man-made beehives can’t be placed in the vicinity of day care centres, schools and playgrounds. Possible locations for apiaries in city public areas include parks and urban fields. Beekeepers need a permit from the City to place beehives on public land, but they don’t have to pay a lease.

Bees are domestic animals that require year-round care. New beekeepers should take ample time to study beekeeping, to look for locations for hives and to apply for the permit. Beekeeping courses are held in the autumn and winter season. The best time to apply for a permit is in winter. New beekeepers are recommended to take a basic course in beekeeping, making sure that they pay attention to safety in the current exceptional situation. More information on courses is available from the Finnish Beekeeping Association here (the main site is in Finnish). The association publishes general information on beekeeping in Finland in English. 

The City of Helsinki website contains information on beekeeping in the urban environment and in Helsinki public areas. The City beekeeping webpage (in Finnish) also instructs readers on the permit process, necessary forms and possible partners.