A visit to Amsterdam is not complete without a visit to the Heineken Experience. Located in the centre of the city, this historic building is the birthplace of the iconic Heineken beer that is distributed and celebrated around the world. The former brewery, which was in use until 1988, has been transformed into a beer lover’s paradise, where visitors can go on an interactive journey to learn all about the history of Heineken, get a closer look into the beer brewing process, and, of course, taste the world-famous pilsener. This guide gives you a quick overview of what you can expect when you visit the Heineken Experience, some tips on how to make the most out of your visit, and suggestions for additional activities in the area to round off a perfect day in Amsterdam.
Heineken’s story began in 1984 when Gerard Adriaan Heineken bought the small brewery ‘De Hooiberg’ in the heart of Amsterdam. Over the course of 4 generations, what started as a small family brewery evolved into an international company that owns more than 170 beer brands worldwide. Available in almost every country, Heineken is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable Dutch brands. However, Heineken is not just popular abroad: more than 150 years after the company was founded, the lager continues to be the drink of choice for many people in the Netherlands.
When visiting Amsterdam, you can order Heineken or Amstel (which is owned by Heineken) in almost every café. As a sponsor of countless events in Amsterdam, from sporting events to festivals, the green Heineken logo with its signature red star adorns nearly every corner of the city. Today, the former Heineken brewery in the centre of the city provides visitors with a chance to gain more insight into Heineken’s history and learn how the brand continues to play an important role in Dutch culture.
The Heineken Experience is a 1.5-hour self-guided tour that consists of 4 stories of historical and interactive exhibits. Learn about how a small family brewery expanded into a global company that continues to set the bar for success in international branding and distribution.
See remnants of the former brewery and get a first-hand feel for the brewing process when you peek into large copper kettles, stir the water in a massive barrel and grind barley. Enjoy the interactive ‘Brew U’ ride, in which the process is simulated from the perspective of being inside the barrel!
One of the most remarkable parts of the tour is a visit to the indoor stables, where you can see the horses that were integral to delivering beer throughout the country. Once you have been to the stables, you may even recognize one of these horse-drawn Heineken carriages pulling through the streets of Amsterdam during your stay in the city!
What would a visit to a brewery be without a beer tasting? In addition to a small taster provided during your tour, your ticket includes two free beers at the “Best ‘Dam Bar.” After your tour, you can hang out in the bar for as long as you like. Don’t forget to check out the souvenir shop, where you can customize your own Heineken bottle or glass to remember your visit to one of the most famous breweries in the world.
Most people only visit the Heineken Experience once in their lives. So get the most out of your visit by reading up on these tips and tricks before you go.
Due to its popularity, the lines to get into the Heineken Amsterdam are notoriously long. Avoid queuing up for hours on the small sidewalk outside the brewery by purchasing your tickets beforehand. Simply scan your ticket at the entrance and begin exploring the world of Heineken!
The Heineken Experience has designed a digital app that provides extra information and fun facts as you explore the brewery. Unlock the app when you enter the Heineken Experience to get the most out of your visit. While the exhibitions throughout the brewery are in English, the app is available in 9 different languages (English, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, Chinese, German, French, and Spanish), giving you the comfort of enjoying the Heineken Experience in your native tongue.
While your visit will be a self-guided tour, Heineken Experience Ambassadors are stationed throughout the brewery to answer any questions you may have and share additional information about the brewing process. They will also teach you how to pour the perfect beer and how to properly taste and drink one! Since most of them are Amsterdam locals, they can tell you all about how the legacy of Heineken is embedded in the city’s history and culture.
The Heineken Experience is open every day and the opening hours are as follows:
The Heineken Experience is located in the centre of the city and is easy to reach by walking or by public transportation. Here are some of the best ways to reach the Heineken Experience:
The Heineken Experience is wheelchair accessible. There is one wheelchair available upon reservation (please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation).
Your visit to the Heineken Experience is bound to leave you in good spirits, so why stop the fun there? The Heineken Experience is located in the centre of Amsterdam, with plenty of noteworthy attractions and experiences within hand’s reach.
Locals and tourists alike would agree that the best way to spend an afternoon in Amsterdam is on the water. As you navigate your way through Amsterdam’s intricate canal system, you will see the city at its finest: the traditional houses lined up on the banks of the water, an endless stream of bikers passing over the bridges, and impressive monuments dotted throughout the city, from the Anne Frank Museum to the Westerkerk.
Amsterdam’s famous Museumplein is located a mere 10-minute walk from the Heineken Experience. This large public square is surrounded by several of the country’s most iconic museums and monuments, including the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, and the royal ‘Concertgebouw’ (concert hall). Whether you seek to admire the works of classic Dutch painters in the Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum, discover intriguing exhibitions in the Stedelijk modern art museum or simply admire the stunning architecture of these world-famous buildings, a visit to the Museumplein is a must for anyone planning a trip to Amsterdam.
Spend your afternoon like the locals by discovering one of the city’s most beloved neighbourhoods: De Pijp. The Heineken Experience borders this lively district, filled with cafés, boutique shops and plenty of restaurants that feature both traditional Dutch and international cuisines. The Albert Cuyp Market, the largest daily market in Europe, is a favourite destination in De Pijp. A mere six-minute walk from the Heineken Experience, this outdoor market sells everything, from clothes to fruits and vegetables to Dutch cheese and snacks. Open every day from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, the market is a great way to catch a glimpse of the laid back atmosphere and no-nonsense humour that Amsterdam is known for. If the Heineken Experience leaves you thirsty for more, duck into in one of the many typical brown bars in De Pijp for another Heineken and some ‘bitterballen’ or ‘kaasstengels’ - traditional Dutch bar food. Proost!
The Heineken Experience is located in the centre of Amsterdam and is surrounded by plenty of other attractions that are worth a visit. Here are the top 5 noteworthy museums near the Heineken Experience:
Rijksmuseum is home to more than 1 million works of art and historical objects, including a vast collection of works from classic Dutch painters such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Vermeer. Don’t miss your chance to see Rembrandt van Rijn’s iconic ‘De Nachtwacht’ (the Night Watch), along with countless other Dutch masterpieces from the Golden Age, at the Rijksmuseum.
The Van Gogh Museum houses the world’s largest collection of works by this famous Dutch painter. Step into the world of the man known as ‘the painter of Sunflowers,’ admire both his most famous and lesser-known works, and learn more about Van Gogh’s personal life and artistic development.
Recognized as one of Europe’s most impressive modern art museums, the Stedelijk houses an impressive collection of works by some of the most renowned artists from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including Matisse, Mondrian, and Warhol. The sleek, modern architecture of the museum, a stark contrast to the traditional buildings surrounding it, is reason enough to pay a visit to the Stedelijk Museum.
Discover the luxurious lifestyle of regent Dutch families in the Golden Age by visiting the home of the Van Loon family, whose heritage dates back to the early 1600s. The elegant canal house features an impressive collection of paintings, furniture, silver and porcelain. Step back in time to the Golden Age as you explore the dining room, kitchen and private quarters, stroll through the peaceful gardens and visit the coach house.
At Foam, an international photography organisation located in the centre of Amsterdam, you can admire the works of both famous and up-and-coming photographers. The museum, which focuses mainly on contemporary photography and is recognized worldwide known for its exceptionally curated exhibitions, is the most visited photography museum in the Netherlands.