Can you picture the existence of a huge beer-producing plant in the centre of Amsterdam? Of course not. However, almost 160 years ago, Gerard Adriaan Heineken purchased the De Hooiberg brewery, situated in the centre of Amsterdam, and gave it his own name. The rest is history.
Well, the building is history. Heineken is indeed thriving, but the original building at its central location has, of course, not met the expanding requirements of the company for some time. In 1991, the first Heineken factory became a museum—the Heineken Experience.
Why an experience?
Why would a museum be called an experience? That’s because it is an experience. The tour through the museum is self-conducted. You will find “tour guides” interspersed along the way, who will be happy to demonstrate the hands-on activities that you can try out. One can simply describe the museum as a mixture of authentic demonstrations of beer brewing history, and, strange as this may seem, fairground rides.
Four floors of the Heineken Experience
Let’s take a look inside the museum. What could possibly take up four entire floors?
Much of the history of Heineken encompasses the Heineken family who were responsible for the incredible growth of the company. The museum includes period pieces of the 19th century, giving you a feel for the architecture and furnishings of the time.
Brewing the beer
While touring the museum, the beer brewing aspect never leaves you. Good recipes don’t change. The four original ingredients of the beer are the same. Or are they? The water, hops, and malted barley are natural ingredients. But the Heineken secret seems to remain in their special yeast.
Marketing the beer
Marketing over the years has changed with the times, but again, here, Heineken has held on to many of its symbols, which can be viewed all over the museum. One example is the ubiquitous green colour of the bottles, labels, or bottle-caps.
Finally, enjoy the rides, the visual magic, learning to draught your own beer, and your free samples, which can be imbibed on the terrace during the summer.
How to reach the Heineken Experience
The Heineken Experience is located at Stadhouderskade 78.
- Hours: The museum is open every day of the year. From Monday till Thursday, hours are 10:30 until 19:30. From Friday till Sunday, hours are 10:30 until 21:00.
- Public transportation: The metro 52 stops around the corner from the museum, as do the following trams: 1, 7, 19, 24.
- Walking: 10 – 15 minutes from the Rijksmuseum or from the Flower Market.
- Skip the long wait in line. Purchase your tickets online ahead of time.
- Take the Rock the City tour, which starts off at the Heineken Experience, continues with an entertaining canal cruise, and ends with the magnificent views of Amsterdam from the A’DAM Lookout.