The Heineken Experience was the highlight of my visit to Amsterdam.
This certainly wasn’t something I had planned to do whilst in Amsterdam, and in fact, I didn’t even know it existed. It was only until we started walking around Amsterdam and found the big tall factory building standing proud.
We decided to go in. And by we, it was only me and a fellow Topdecker that I had met on my trip called Sam, who was from New Zealand. We ended up walking most of Amsterdam by ourselves, as we had previously lost everyone, so it ended up being just the two of us doing the Heineken experience.
So thanks Sam, if you’re reading this, thanks for keeping me company!
We were surprised that it didn’t take us long to cue and purchase our tickets. Tickets were fairly priced. The Heineken Experience for one adult cost €16 which includes the whole tour, which takes around 1 and a half hours, plus two drink tokens to which you could use at the end of the tour to get a beer or soft drink.
You could also opt for the VIP Experience which costs €49.
The Heineken beer was born in Amsterdam, so it’s only right that the Heineken experience was too. It’s the first built brewery in Amsterdam which has been created into a sensetional interactive tour.
The tour gives you the whole history of how Heineken beer was created, where it came from and how it’s developed over the years.
The tour has so much to offer that even if you’re not a massive beer fan, there is something for everyone. Here’s a little history:
The tour starts with the history of how Heineken beer was created. Gerard Adriaan Heineken was the man behind the creation of Heineken when he asked his wealthy mother to buy the De Hooiberg (The Haystack) brewery in Amsterdam.
Then in 1873 after he hired a specialist to help develop the Heineken-A Yeast, the first branded Heineken beer was brewed.
Then in 1991, the brewery officially opened to the public as a tour and now includes four levels of historical artifacts, product exploration and sampling and interactive exhibits.
There was a section which a tour guide showed us what ingredients make up the Heineken Beer, which are water, barley, hops and the famous Heineken “A” Yeast which is what makes Heineken so unique.
You go through the whole brewery and there are lots of interactive things to get involved with like checking out the ingredients, watching mini videos, peeking your head inside the big copper brewery mixers.
We got to see the old horses which they keep and take care of in their own in-house stables where they explained that to this day, they are still a vital part of running the machinery and are still used to promote the beer at shows.
One of the best parts was the “Brew You Ride”. Basically, a really cool 4D simulator ride which makes you feel like you’re actually like one of the bottles that goes through the whole process from brewing, packing and delivering!
*Note: you feel like you’re constantly wobbling and there’s a chance you’ll get wet (or sprayed in the face like I did) so I’d avoid the ride if you’re not into stimulation.
This then leads you into a bar area where you finally get your first Heineken drink – but don’t drink it yet! You’ll find out why…
You step in and get greeted by a barman who gives you a demonstration on how to properly taste and drink a Heineken beer. Funnily enough, the guy pointed at me and asked me what I thought was the proper way to drink one, where I just sipped it. This is wrong!
The best way to drink a Heineken beer to get the full taste is to have a big gulp so you actually taste the beer as opposed to just the head. In the Netherlands, they like to have a big head at the top of the beer as opposed to us in England who don’t. This is to keep the flavour in and the beer fizzing to get the best taste.
You go through different rooms, including a room full of sports activities, football and photo booths which you can get involved in.
There was also a section where you could get your own personalized bottle with your name on it. We both umm’d and ahh’d about whether to get one or not, but decided not to as we were not keen on the price! However, looking back I wish I got one!
Then at the end of the experience, you got to a rooftop bar which had some amazing views of Amsterdam.
However, across the other side of the bar was another bar with a gentleman who was demonstrating how to pour the perfect Heineken beer, where people could go behind the bar and pour their own perfect pints.
This was for two tokens to pour your own pint as opposed to getting two drinks, so we thought it would be much worthwhile doing this!
Sam went first, and typically, he did his swiftly and got told by the guy that he managed to pour the perfect pint! (damn you, Sam!)
Then I went up, and of course, it took me a lot longer to perfect the perfect pint! But it was all fun and games and at the end, you get a printed certificate to say that you’ve mastered the technique.
However, we got to enjoy our 2nd pint of beer and later on purchased another one, so three beers in and being around 2pm, I was happily merry and slightly tipsy in the afternoon!
As we walked out of the bar, we got given a free Heineken keyring, then we ventured into the shop which is HUGE! Sam was looking around for a top to purchase, whilst I was loving all the stationary and all the Amsterdam themed stuff. I didn’t buy anything in the end, as my keyring and certificate were great memorabilia’s!
Overall, the Heineken Experience was certainly an experience I won’t forget!
I never expected this to be the highlight of my trip, but I am so glad we stumbled upon the factory and decided to go in.
If you’re ever in Amsterdam, this is a must-see attraction! It’s very central too, so you won’t miss it!
As the people of Amsterdam say…