Did you know that Heineken lager was born in Amsterdam? Gerard Adriaan Heineken's brewery opened on the canalside in 1867 and the world famous beer was made there until 1988. Today, the building is home to the Heineken Experience, an exhibition that combines the beautiful historic brewing rooms with impressive immersive experiences and lots of photo opportunities for social media. We'd really enjoyed visiting the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin earlier this year and were interested in learning about how Heineken grew from a little local beer into an enormous global brand.
You start the visit beneath an enormous ceiling of green glass Heineken bottles, where a tour guide hands out wristbands for your free beer at the end. After a short introduction to Heineken's origins (you'll see an original bottling machine and the Medaille D'Or that Heineken won at the 1875 International Maritime Exposition in Paris, launching the brand's global reputation) you're set free to explore four floors of Heineken history.
We really enjoyed walking through the exhibitions looking at how the Heineken brand has evolved over the years, through different styles of bottles, beer coaster designs, tv adverts and of course, the brand's famous red star logo.
The old brewing rooms are still very attractive with tiled floors and walls and colourful glass in the windows- you can walk around the enormous old copper kettle mashtuns and learn more about the brewing process. There are a few hands on activities too, like having a go at grinding barley or stirring the wort, the unfermented liquid extracted from malted barley.
The next part of the Heineken experience is less of a traditional museum and more multimedia driven, with lots of opportunities to film yourself playing various games and take photos for your social media. It starts with Brew Your Ride, an immersive 4D experience where you assume the role of a bottle of Heineken and through video and light effects are whizzed through the brewing, bottling and shipping process. After this you'll get your first taste of the golden lager.
We really enjoyed the room celebrating all the amazing sporting events that Heineken sponsors, like the UEFA Champions league, Formula One Grand Prix and (David's favourite) the Rugby World Cup. He loved having a go at (virtually) kicking a rugby ball, watch your back Wales number 10!
Finish your visit in the Experience's basement bar, where the two buttons on your wristband entitle you to two beers. Proost!
Opening hours are 10:30 - 19:30 Sunday - Thursday (last entry 17:15), 10:30 - 21:00 Friday and Saturday (last entry 18:45).
The Heineken Experience is in the southern part of Amsterdam in the De Pijp district. It's less than 10 minutes walk from the Rijksmuseum and 5 minutes from the Albert Cuypmarkt if you want to grab a bite to eat before your visit.
Closest metro station: Vijzelgracht (M52)
Closest tram stop: Marie Heinekenplein (tram 24) or trams 1, 7 and 19 also stop close to Vijzelgracht metro station less than a 5-minute walk away.
There is a cloakroom and lockers for coats and small bags but suitcases are not permitted.
Heineken Experience tickets:
Tickets cost €21 per adult aged 18+ NB children are not allowed to visit the Heineken Experience.
You can book tickets online here - you are required to choose a timeslot in advance.
If you have an I amsterdam card you can get 25% off Heineken Experience tickets! You need to book via this special link to enter your city card number. If you're spending a few days in Amsterdam we'd definitely recommend getting the I amsterdam card - it also covers entry to lots of Amsterdam's top attractions like the Rijksmuseum, a canal cruise, Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic church), A'dam Lookout, plus unlimited public transport and some brilliant freebies and discounts in bars and restaurants. We've written a blog about our experience with the 72 hour I amsterdam card which might be useful for planning your trip!
Official Website: www.heinekenexperience.com
Disclosure: We were gifted two tickets to the Heineken Experience in return for this blog and Instagram content but we were not paid to post and as always, this is an honest review and all opinions are our own!