Review: De Nederlandse Bijen, Peeters, Theo M.J. et al.


De Nederlandse Bijen


This book is one of those great rarities in the Bee literature: a comprehensive work covering the entire Apifauna of the country and represents the first major work of this kind since Paul Westrich’s seminal work Die Wildbienen Baden-Württemburgs, published in 1989.

The text (in Dutch) outlines the distribution (both in the Netherlands and generally), Habitat, Life History ecology and traits of all 358 species of bee on the Dutch list. The whole work is lavishly illustrated with a wonderful collection of colour photographs of bees and their habitats, full distribution maps and phenology charts.

At the beginning is an extremely thorough and interesting introductory section which covers important and relevant information on a range of bee topics, including habitats, the nature of parasitism within bees, sociality, and some wonderful line drawings by Kees van Achterberg to illustrate the key to Genera.

At the end of the book is a huge and comprehensive bibliography and a potentially very useful traits and trends spreadsheet.

The Dutch text may put off a few potential buyers (not many though I suspect), as may a lack of keys to species. This lack of keys will be addressed in another publication in 2013, and the work under review should be regarded as a companion to this. It is certainly well worth the 50 Euro price tag.

Theo Peeters and his team of bee specialists in the Netherlands deserve our thanks and congratulations. The book is hardbound and stitched and has extremely high production values throughout. It is a remarkable work and provides an excellent showcase for what modern publishing can produce. It is likely to remain the standard work on Dutch bees for many years to come.


Stuart Roberts

February 2013


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