Niina in a time of corona: Enhancing biodiversity by donating flower seeds for bees

ABN AMRO’s head office has a beautiful garden designed to help improve biodiversity in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district. The garden is part of Circl, the bank’s circular meeting place. For bees, butterflies and birds, this natural oasis – in the heart of the city – is an important source of food.  

It makes perfect sense that a bank like ABN AMRO would support biodiversity, and employee Niina Pussinen is not the kind of person to sit idly by when eight thousand packets of flower seeds threaten to go to waste because of the coronavirus outbreak. Seeds that should be helping to create a flourishing habitat for bees and other insects.    

Supporting national seed-sowing day to enhance biodiversity

Niina: “It happened like this: Circl was due to take part in a campaign to promote national seed-sowing day on 22 April, an initiative organised by The Pollinators. We were going to act as a distribution point for flower seeds – effectively a food bank for insects.”

When Circl closed in response to the intelligent coronavirus lockdown in the Netherlands, it looked as if this might mean the end of the bees’ food bank. But Niina and her colleagues at ABN AMRO Foundation put their heads together and came up with a creative solution. They donated the seed packets to care homes so that staff and residents could enjoy the abundant flowers and the bees could have their food this spring. 

Flower seed donations for care homes

Through its annual Christmas campaign, ABN AMRO Foundation has links with around one hundred care homes across the Netherlands. “We thought it would be a lovely idea to treat the elderly residents and carers in the homes to a gift of flower seeds (and soon a waving sea of flowers). The blooms will add some cheer for the residents who are missing their families and for the staff who are working so hard, hopefully making things a bit more bearable in these difficult times.” 

Planting wildflowers at Easter

Niina: “Fortunately, our contacts at the care homes liked the idea. They were getting a lot of offers of entertainment but had to turn those down, as the logistics are often too difficult. They thought planting the flower seeds would be an enjoyable activity during the long Easter weekend”. 

Niina and her colleagues leapt into action, and with help from The Pollinators the flower seeds were delivered before Easter. Niina: “The reactions we’ve had are heart-warming and we’re delighted that – despite the coronavirus crisis – we can still contribute in a small way to a better habitat for our bees and insects.”

Biodiversity in the Netherlands needs our support

Bees in the Netherlands are in dire straits. The decline in flowering plants and the increased use of pesticides has devastated their habitat. There is not enough food for bees to thrive – although they play an important role in our own food supply.

Read more about ABN AMRO Foundation.

Read more about Circl.

Read more about the initiatives of The Pollinators.

View more initiatives from colleagues in corona times.