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Amsterdam's Heineken Experience Tour

Updated on September 30, 2017
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

Posing for a bike picture in The Heineken Experience to email to our friends back home in the U.S.
Posing for a bike picture in The Heineken Experience to email to our friends back home in the U.S. | Source

A Lesson in the History of Heineken Beer


The Heineken Experience is not exactly a museum, but it is closely related to one. The cost is 18 euros as of this writing (January 2013). Included in the price, you get a bracelet with two buttons to turn in at the end of the tour for two free beers. On the bracelet is also another button to turn in at the gift shop across town for a bottle opener key ring. They provide a free shuttle to get there, so that's fun.

Now I am not a beer fan, and rarely drink it, but my husband wanted to go, so I figured I should give it a try for his sake. Especially since we were going to my museum choice the next day. I was pleasantly surprised at the fun we had during this tour.

The Tour

The experience starts with a tour through the original Heineken factory. Visitors learn all about the Heineken family, their values and their dedication and loyalty to this beer. The Heineken brewery is still run by Heineken family members today. Most of the experience is a self-guided walking tour. You follow the hallways past original giant vats which are taller than most people. You can taste test the ingredients of beer before the process is started. Warning on this...it doesn't taste very good! You see the types of horses which until the 1960s delivered Heineken beer to various shops and restaurants in Amsterdam. The current six horses in stalls in the factory are kept to march in parades. They are taken out to graze in the fresh air daily. You then find yourself in a tasting session with a bartender to pour each visitor a small sample of beer and explain the proper way to pour a beer so it has a head, and then the best way to drink a beer which is to gulp it rather than sip it because sipping a beer will really only get you a mouthful of foam. You need to drink down deeper to get to the actual beer. You are led into a theater of sorts which becomes 4D as you are "brewed and bottled" like a Heineken beer. It lets you in on the process of how a Heineken beer is made from start to finish and is rather fun. There are then some interactive stations such as pretending to ride bikes and getting your picture taken so you can email it to friends. The next stop is an interactive Karaoke video where you and your friends are in an onscreen boat and supposed to sing the words onscreen. Of course, the words are in Dutch, so unless you know Dutch, the only word you will recognize is Amsterdam. This video can also be sent to friends or accessed through Facebook which is quite fun. Next, there is an interactive video game where you try to pour a beer with a perfect head on it. I was able to do it, but my husband didn't quite make the grade! There is a room with extremely comfortable lounge chairs with video screens over the top of them. You can sit down and enjoy advertisements for Heineken beer from over the last 40 years which is a hoot, especially if you were around then and actually remember these ads!

The End Is The Best Part

There are a few other interactive experiences, and then the best part in our opinion was actually getting to sample two full-sized Heineken beers in a bar type atmosphere with music in the background. Everyone else that has had the tour at this point is having quite a good time, and it's a nice way to end the tour. I have never had a Heineken beer that has tasted so fresh. The atmosphere at the brewery and in the bar at the end is one of fun and camaraderie since everyone is there to have the beer experience. If you have an open mind, this tour can be fun whether or not you are a huge fan of beer. Since Heineken is brewed in Amsterdam, It's a case of when in Rome, do as the Romans do...or Amsterdam, as the case may be!

Update, 2015

I still don't drink much beer, but to this day, the only beer I will drink is Heineken. So when my husband asks if I will have a glass of beer with him when we go out to a fun restaurant in the heat of the summer, I do indulge in a Heineken now and then, mostly to remember all the fun we had together in Amsterdam. And it still tastes pretty good too!

Huge vats used in the Heineken brewing process.
Huge vats used in the Heineken brewing process. | Source

Comments

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    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      TedWriteStuff,

      Actually it was at 5:00 p.m. or so when we got the beer. So it was a great start to the evening!

    • TedWritesStuff profile image

      Ted 

      6 years ago from The World

      Wow. It was free and you had unlimited beer for 45 minutes at 10.00am in the morning. Was a brilliant way to start the day. 18 euros. My how things have changed.

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Dear Elias,

      Thanks so much for commenting. If you ever go back, I am sure you would find it great fun to visit the Heineken Tour. We were only there 1 week so I don't think we got to experience much of the Dutch humor. When you were there, where did you live? In a houseboat perchance? LOL! I took so many pictures of houseboats. I just loved them.

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 

      6 years ago from Athens, Greece

      Wonderful post, Karen! Even though I had the chance to live in Amsterdam for a while - and so close to the Heineken Museum! - I have never dared to take the tour. Now, as I was enjoying your post, I actually regretted having done so (and not like the Romans). It is a great article! It got me very nostalgic!

      And what I actually miss the most is the Dutch humor - I have realized it while reading the part about the karaoke song and the lyrics in Dutch. Typical!

      Anyway, it's nice that you and your partner had such a good time and that you have shared it with us!

      Once again, great article! Voted up, useful and awesome!

      Cheers!

      Elias

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      TravelinJack,

      Sounds good. If you go back to Amsterdam, have a Heineken for me!

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      shiningirisheyes,

      I bet you never had one that tasted as good as the ones we had in Amsterdam. It tastes so fresh there. If you ever get a chance to go to Amsterdam, make sure you try a Heineken, anywhere they are served. They are sooo good! Thanks for stopping by!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Ahhhh- This was my beer of choice back in the day. This tour sounds very interesting. I enjoy knowing it is still in family hands and the horses would have been my second favorite part. First favorite? Same as yours - tasting the finished product!

    • TravelinJack profile image

      Jack Baumann 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thinking of hitting the Oceana in September then South America next year

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      TravelinJack,

      I know what you mean. I am not sure I'll be able to get back there soon. Do you have any trips planned in the near future?

    • TravelinJack profile image

      Jack Baumann 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Love the Heinie!! Can't wait to get back to the Dam

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      donnah75,

      Yes, it was fun because it wasn't just your typical brewery tour with a taste at the end. They made it interactive so it was more fun. Thanks for dropping by.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      This sounds like a fun day! Years ago, I had the opportunity to tour the Warsteiner Brewery in Germany. It was interesting. Your tour sounds like a great time. Voted up and sharing.

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