It was a Slovene who wrote the world’s first modern beekeeping manual.
And Slovenia has gone on to lead the way in raising awareness of the plight of bees, as concern has grown over the health of the world’s bee population in recent years.
Beekeeping is a cherished national tradition in Slovenia, with colourful beehives to be found dotted throughout fields, on the edge of forests, in gardens and on city rooftops.
The bee can be spotted as a symbol of industriousness above the doorways of banks and museums, and now even on a special two-euro coin issued by the country’s central bank to mark the first World Bee Day on Sunday, an initiative launched by Slovenia and backed by the United Nations.
“Once you start keeping bees, it’s like an addiction,” Bostjan Noc, head of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association tells AFP, adding that his family boasts several generations of apiarists.
“We have beekeeping written in our genes,” Noc says.