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Heineken must be Amsterdam’s (or even the Netherlands) most famous export product. Everyone (who’s allowed to consume alcoholic beverages) once had a Heineken beer or one of the other beers owned by Heineken: Desperados, Affligem, Bintang, etc. We did some digging into the history of the Dutch beer manufacturer and found interesting facts.
The Heineken Experience can be reached by Hop On - Hop Off bus and boat.
It all started when G.A. Heineken bought a small brewery, De Hooiberg (translated: the haystack), at the Nieuwezijdse Voorburgwal in 1863. The beers were an instant success and within four years the brewery grew too big for the small building in the area that we now know as the red light district. That’s why the Heineken brewerij moved to the building on the corner of Stadhouderskade and Ferdinand Bol – nowadays best known as the Heineken Experience. Another brewery was soon after opened in Rotterdam as well.
At the Paris World’s Fair in 1889 – yes, this was the same exhibit as where the Eiffel tower was built for – Heineken won the Grand Prix with their beers. And the success didn’t stop there. The Heineken company survived the First World War and the economic crisis that followed before brewery set foot in the United States of America after the prohibition. After that, more locations in different countries opened up until Heineken counted 140 breweries in 71 countries in 2017.
Heineken commercial The Invention - shows 1889's World's Fair in Paris.
Nowadays you’re able to visit the Heineken brewery at the Stadhouderskade. It was turned into a museum in 1991. The museum was renamed as the Heineken Experience in 2001. You can take a look at the brewing process and are able to drink a freshly poured beer in the Heineken bar. It’s one of Amsterdam’s largest attractions.
In 1983 the owner of the Heineken imperium was, together with his driver Ab Doderer, abducted in front of his office in the city center of Amsterdam. The kidnapping lasted 21 days and was done by four men. The abductors asked for a ransom of 35 million guilders (16 million euros or 18 million dollars). They conducted a plan like in the movies, with letters and hints along the route to guide the money courier where to drop the ransom. After the ransom was picked up, the kidnappers were supposed to set Heineken and his driver free, but this didn’t happen.
An anonymous phone call led to the discovery of both men - in a container in the Western dock area in Amsterdam. Heineken and his driver where in shock, but still alive. The abductors created double walls with two soundproof small cells within the container. During the day people who worked at the dock walked through this container and never noticed one thing. During the night, when everyone left, the kidnappers took care of their victims.
All the kidnappers were arrested in the end and were sentenced prison time. Until today a large chunk of the ransom money is unaccounted for. Rumor has it that it was invested in real instate. Most of the abductors have died by now and others ended up in prison again for other felonies.
We proudly serve Heineken beers aboard all of our catered cruises. Besides that we also offer you the chance to visit three of Amsterdam's finest attraction in one go with ROCK THE CITY. Enjoy the spectacular view over Amsterdam from the A'DAM LOOKOUT before you set foot on our Amsterdam Canal Cruise that takes you to the Heineken Experience where you get a tour through the old brewery.
Stadhouderskade 78, daily from 10:30 - 18:30