Heineken Lager Beer is a world-renowned beer with its familiar green bottle and red star on the label. Until 2013 the Dutch version was bottled in brown bottles. Since 1975 most Heineken brand beer was produced at the brewery in in Zoeterwoude, Netherlands accounting for in excess of 2.74 billion liters of Heineken Lager Beer annually. All breweries wholly owned by the Heineken Group produce in excess of 16 billion liters annually in more than 170 countries around the world. This behemoth beer brand traces its humble beginnings to a local brewery, De Hooberg, founded in 1592 in Amsterdam.
Gerard Adriaan Heineken is the founder of the Heineken brand. Looking for his way in the world and having an interest in the process of making beer, Gerard talked his wealthy mother into buying the over 300-year-old De Hooberg (Translated as Haystack) brewery. Keen on finding a brew that was unique in flavor which would differentiate itself from the local beers of the day, Mr. Heineken hired a student of scientist Louis Pasteur, Dr. Elion, to develop a yeast for Bavarian bottom fermentation, a process he was convinced would deliver a unique beer. In 1873 using the yeast developed by Dr. Elion the first bottle of Heineken was brewed.
Our guide Cornelie
Heineken began regularly shipping beer to France after it won the Medaille D'Or at the International Maritime Exposition in Paris in 1875. Almost instantly upon its prestigious win, Heineken became the largest exporter of beer to France. It exported a phenomenal 1.7 million gallons annually from its home in Amsterdam.
In his lifetime the Heineken beer founded by Gerard won 2 other honors, Diplome d'Honneurs at the 1883 Colonial Exposition in Amsterdam as well as the Grand Prix at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris. After his death Heineken also won the Hors Concours Membre du Jury in Paris in 1900. Two of the four awards, the Medaille d'Or and Diplome d'Honneurs are still mentioned on the Heineken labels of todays famous green bottle with the red star on the label. This 154-year-old brewer was twice the recipient of the Creative Marketer of the Year Award.
The Heineken Experience Museum now occupies the original brewery where Mr. Gerard Adriaan Heineken began brewing this now world-famous beer. The Heineken Experience incorporates a visitor center with the historic brewery that Gerard built in 1867. The building was used as the primary brewing facility for Heineken until 1988. A modern, larger brewery was opened on the outskirts of Amsterdam where the massive volume of Heineken beer could be logistically produced.
In 1991, Heineken opened the Heineken Experience, an all-encompassing visitor experience that includes the Heineken Treat and Information Centre, a museum, and tour of the history of Amsterdam’s iconic beer. The Heineken Experience is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions.
Today the Heineken Experience includes four levels of historic artifacts coupled with the latest high-tech multi- media technologies along with product exploration and sampling. The significance of the original brewing facility cannot be overstated in the history of Heineken, it also is of major significance to the industrial heritage of Europe. The original Heineken brewery is the anchor point on the European Route of Industrial Heritage, a route that encompasses 845 sites in 29 European countries.
The Heineken Experience is open 365 Days a year with varying tour and last admission times, check the web site for details and prices. The Heineken Experience offers three Tour options:
Heineken Tour: a 1.5-hour Self-Guided Tour capped off with 2 perfectly chilled beers at the Heineken Best ‘Dam Bar and a free city map of Amsterdam
The VIP Tour: a unique behind the scenes tour guided by a Heineken® Connoisseur- exclusive access to the hidden bar – 5 Premium Beers paired with Dutch cheeses – a personalized Heineken bottle – a free city map of Amsterdam – VIP tour guests MUST be 18- tour is in English
The Rock the City Tour – Begins at the Heineken Experience- a canal cruise with a Heineken® Experience Guide- 2 perfectly chilled beers- a free city map of Amsterdam
The Heineken Experience combines the history of the brand, its importance to Amsterdam, as well as its historical significance to Europe and the world of beer. Choose anyone of the three tours depending on your time constraints. Be sure to make time on your literary to experience at least 1 of the tours, it is a treasure of Amsterdam.
Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page
Video voice-over by Jim Reynolds