If you are a beer lover then you have more than likely heard of the Heineken experience in Amsterdam. In fact, your trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without participating in “The Heineken Experience”. Of all the things to do and see in our short trip to Amsterdam, we ended up at a brewery. We visited Amsterdam with a group of friends and, of course, all the boys are beer fanatics. So naturally the Heineken experience in Amsterdam was at the top of the list. Since I’m not a fan of beer and would far rather have been sipping on a gin and tonic on the banks of the canal, so I was actually pleasantly surprised by the whole experience.
If you want a glimpse into the history of one of the most popular beers in the world, then the Heineken experience is for you. But, even if you’re not a Heineken fan or a beer for that matter, this is a pretty fun tour. The actual tour is about 1.5 hours long but self-guided so you can move at your own pace. You could download the Heineken Experience App and it will guide you through the brewery with audio and visual aids.
The Heineken experience in Amsterdam is one of the cities most famous experiences. The old factory used to manufacture all of the brand’s beer until 1988, when the main production line was moved to a larger facility outside the city due to overwhelming demand for the product. Today, it operates as a museum and tourist attraction. It has been visited by millions of people from all over the world since it opened its doors in 2001.
If you google the Heineken experience in Amsterdam, you will find some very mixed reviews. People who have been before (many years ago) and visited again more recently don’t seem to be very happy with the changes. Apparently the whole experience has turned into more of an advertising campaign and lacks the atmosphere that it once oozed. Since this was my first time I can’t comment on this, although I have to agree that it is a pretty smart move by Heineken. Essentially, they are getting you to pay for them to advertise their brand to you. It’s pretty crazy when you think about it. Nevertheless, it’s still a pretty cool experience. So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the Heineken experience in Amsterdam.
How much does it cost?
If you purchase tickets at the entrance, the tour will cost you €18. If you want to save a few bucks you can purchase tickets online for €16 each. Or if you want to take it a little further, you can get a ticket for €15 – if you use a €3 off coupon that is available in just about every hotel lobby in Amsterdam. Either way, getting tickets for the Heineken experience in Amsterdam doesn’t require much effort. Although if you prefer to buy tickets at the entrance, you should expect a small queue if you visiting on the weekend or during peak times. Children between the ages of 8 and 15 pay €14. If you want to book tickets online, check out Amsterdam Tours & Tickets.
How to get to the Heineken experience in Amsterdam
The exact address is Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE, Amsterdam. It’s easily accessible by car, train, and even boat. Here are some tips:
- Public transport: From the central stations take trams 16, 24, 25. Get out at Stadhouderskade.
- Car: From the Amsterdam ring A10 take exit S110. Follow the signs ‘Centrum’ and ‘Stadhouderskade’; There is indoor parking available in the Heinekenplein garage and several other parking possibilities in the area.
- By boat: several boat tours offer Amsterdam Heineken Experience combined with their canal tour. The boat stops right in front of the brewery.
The brief history
Back in 1864, a young Dutch entrepreneur received money from his wealthy mother to purchase and renovate an old brewery in central Amsterdam. A few years later, the brewery began to produce beer and the rest, as they say, is history. Stamped with his family name, Heineken has become practically synonymous with Dutch beer and is arguably the most recognizable product of the Netherlands.
During its early years, Heineken won numerous prestigious awards for its brewing efforts. These included the grand prize at Paris’ Exposition Universelle in 1889, as well as the Diplome d’Honneur at Amsterdam’s International Colonial Exhibition in 1883. Also interesting to note is that Heineken was the first European beer allowed into the US after prohibition was revoked in 1933.
This was Heinekens main brewing facility until 1988, when they moved their premises to the outskirts of the city. They opened their doors at Stadhouderskade to the public again in 1991 and allowed visitors to tour the building. It now operates as a museum and tourist attraction. Originally known as the “Heineken Treat and Information Centre ”, it grew to become one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions. The name was changed to “Heineken experience” in 2001.
The experience begins with a brief history on the Heineken company.The founders/family, how the beer was developed and how it eventually became one of the most popular beer brands in the world. You know, all the “boring” stuff, but it’s still pretty interesting and good to know.
Next you will be welcomed by an energetic guide for the first interactive part of the tour. She will be standing in front of four containers which contain the main ingredients of Heineken. You will be told about the importance of each ingredient and offered some of the barley to try – which is pretty tasty.
Then, the more interesting part – at least for most people – the main brewing room where Heineken has preserved some of their original copper kettles. Each of these kettles have different functions and there are several different stations where you can grind the grains or mix different ingredients together. If you’re anything like us, you will probably want to spend a bit of time exploring this very interesting area.
Once you’re done playing around in the brewery, you will move onto a mini interactive movie theater where a man on a screen goes through the brewing process. The whole thing is done exceptionally well. Loud sound, good music, epic lighting – they really try to create an exciting and vibey atmosphere. When the barrel is being stirred the floor shakes, when the beer is being boiled heat lamps ignite, and so on. This is one of the most exciting parts of the tour.
Fun and games
When you exit the movie theatre, you will finally get to enjoy your very first tasting. This is about 45 minutes into the tour. Since I’m not a big fan, this was not my favourite part of the Heineken experience, but I’m guessing this is what a lot of people are waiting for. The bartender will also give you some interesting information on how Dutch people drink their beer and some other useful facts.
Next you will enter a large circular room with Heineken adverts playing around you. You can hang out here until you finish your beer and are ready to move onto the next stage. There’s also a very cool music experience here, where you can try out your DJ skills – well kind of. It’s an area covered with mirrors all the way around, club-like lighting and a music feature in the middle of the room. Essentially, you just tap on the music feature, with no clue as to what’s actually suppose to happen. Everyone’s confused and it doesn’t seem as though anyone knows what’s supposed to happen here, but it’s still pretty cool.
The next part of the tour is entirely interactive. Here you will get the chance to play foosball, video games, and view the sets for The Heineken Experience movie. You can also take your photo for the Heineken Experience Wall of Fame, and even record a rather interesting video.
Finally, for the last part of the tour you will head up to the bar where more beer awaits. It’s a really cool bar/club-like vibe and you could easily spend a few hours here. You can “cash in” your two rubber bands (that you receive when you enter) for two extra cold Heinekens. And who knows, if you make friends with the barman, he may just give you one or two extra.
Monday – Thursday: 10:30 – 7:30 pm
Friday – Sunday: 10:30 – 9:00 pm
July & August: 10:30 – 9:00 pm everyday
On January 1, April 30 and December 25 the museum will be closed. On December 24th and 30th, the museum closes at 4:30PM and last tickets will be sold at 2:30PM.