When I knew I was going to the Netherlands and especially Amsterdam, I knew I wanted to visit the Heineken Brewery. I’ve been known to indulge in the odd drop now and then so I was keen to see the process and just what exactly the experience offered.
We arrived just after 5pm (30 minutes before last entry on a Tuesday). Despite being so late in the day, there were still at least 50 people queuing to get in and we happily skipped past them as we had pre-booked tickets online (TIP – this is cheaper and allows you to bypass the ordinary entrance queue on the day – your ticket is valid for a year after you purchase it so you don’t need to specifically go on the date/time specified on it – we ended up going a day earlier than we had booked for but there was no problem.)
In we went and got our wristbands which entitled us (at the end) to two glasses of Heineken and we started on the tour. If you’re into history, the story is interesting – if you’re not so much into history, that end of it doesn’t last too long. As I had downloaded the app before I went in and listened to all the elements of it, I was slightly familiar with the story but it as great to see the exhibits to back everything up. The app is handy to listen as you wander around the exhibition. We were only about 30 minutes in at this point and the exhibition appeared to be coming to an end. I was pretty sure that the website had said that you should allow at least 90 minutes for the tour so I wondered what was coming next…. that would be the experience!
Now I’m a regular tour visitor to various attractions wherever I can get to them and I have seen some impressive ones in my time – in fairness, it’s hard to beat an actual Air Force One plane at the Reagan Library in California! However, the Heineken Experience just blew me away with what it offers to the visitor. After the “science” bit, comes the fun bit, including “The Ride” where you can see what it feels like to be made into a pint of Heineken! (honest!). One of your first drinks of Heineken follows straight after that as you will take part in a tasting session and learn how to drink it in the correct manner. You’re then invited to take a seat and enjoy your Heineken whilst watching some advertisements and experiencing the Heineken brand.
Onwards through the tour and this is where the branding and marketing teams must be congratulated for their efforts with the brand in general and also the branding of the experience. From the designated selfie spots to the reminders of using the hashtag #heinekenexperience to the huge association of the company with many of the major European sporting events, the exhibition and interactive areas will leave you wanting more.
Finally you will come to the bar area with it’s club atmosphere and two free drinks on offer – enough to give you time to take in everything you’ve seen, heard and experienced in the previous 90 minutes or so. As is traditional, we exited through the gift shop and we were just leaving when we were handed a limited edition Heineken glass as a memento of our visit. As well as having the wristband and 3 free drinks (1 taster and 2 in the bar) along the way, Heineken in Amsterdam is well worth every cent for this very enjoyable experience. With 800,000 visitors already this year, it’s not surprising that this is the city’s top attraction.
(I have not received a payment or any endorsement from Heineken for this blog – I’m just genuinely impressed by it!)