1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 My 5: Banana Bar. What happens in Amsterdam…
For more on life in the Dutch capital have a look through my other 5s on Amsterdam.
Like these? Then why not leaf through more pieces from around The Netherlands.
You can also check out my short story series Notes From The Netherlands.