October 2010. You can’t miss the imposing form of the old Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam. Plonked on a narrow stretch of pavement on Stadhouderskade at one of the city centre’s busiest crossroads, the building dates back to 1867 and functioned as the original brewery until 1988 when a larger more modern facility was constructed on the outskirts of the city.
February 2011. These days the building is the site of Amsterdam’s touristy Heineken Experience, a four-floor museum of historical artefacts, an art gallery, product sampling and interactive multimedia exhibits. There’s also a rooftop bar with canal views and hot dogs (!?). It’s an insanely popular attraction, even at fifteen Euros a pop.
February 2011. I’d never really had any interest in experiencing the experience, not until Amsterdam became the choice location for my good friend Ad’s stag weekend. And so a bunch of my old college mates flew over from London for a weekend of Dutch debauchery. Finally the time seemed right to give the old brewery a look and give in to the kitschy charms of photo opportunities like this.
February 2011. The tour of the building is self-guided and comes with an optional audio blurb. You’ll pass through a trophy room (probably the best Heineken trophy room in the world) and a remodelled section of the old brew house featuring original wort containers. There’s also a flashy chamber of gaudy orangeness commemorating Heineken’s association with the national football team, not to mention this eyebrow-raising table football malarkey, said to be the longest of its kind in The Netherlands.
February 2011. Elsewhere you can get a Heineken bottle engraved with your name, if that pulls your chain, while a flying visit to the movie theatre places you literally among the bubbles and part of a bottle of beer. There’s also an eye-catching collection of historical promotional posters dating back to the late 1800s. And of course they don’t miss a trick in making prints available in the gift shop. A fun day out then if you can let yourself enjoy it. And let’s be honest, it was always going to be this over the prospect of a report from the Banana Bar. What happens in Amsterdam…
For more on life in the Dutch capital have a look through my other reports on Amsterdam.
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