Essential Architecture-  Amsterdam

Heineken Brewery




Amsterdam, Holland


c. 1910


Art Deco




  Heineken Experience

The Heineken brewery in Amsterdam was closed in 1988 and the building currently houses the Heineken museum (called the Heineken Experience), but still bears the Heineken Brouwerij signage. The museum features 'rides', interactive exhibits, and two bars (with three glasses of Heineken covered by the entry fee). It also gives an insight into the company's history and brewing processes through the years.
  Heineken advertisements through the years.
  Former Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam, now a museum and exhibition center
Heineken Brewery (Heineken Brouwerijen) is a Dutch brewery company, founded in 1864 by Gerard Adriaan Heineken in Amsterdam. As of 2006, Heineken owns over 130 breweries in more than 65 countries and employs approximately 64,000 people. It brews and sells more than 170 international premium, regional, local and specialty beers, including Cruzcampo, Tiger, Zywiec, Starobrno, Zagorka, Birra Moretti, Ochota, Murphy’s, Star and of course Heineken.

With an annual beer production of 121.8 million hectoliters, Heineken ranks as the fourth largest brewery in the world after InBev, Anheuser-Busch, and SABMiller. Heineken's Dutch breweries are located in Zoeterwoude and 's-Hertogenbosch.


Year opened 1864
Annual production 121.8 million hectolitres
The Heineken company was founded in 1864 when the 22-year-old Gerard Adriaan Heineken bought brewery 'De Hooiberg' (the haystack) in Amsterdam. In 1874 the brewery's name changed to 'Heineken's Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij', and opened a second brewery in Rotterdam in 1874.

In 1886 Dr. H. Elion, a pupil of the French chemist Louis Pasteur, developed the 'Heineken A-yeast' in the Heineken laboratory. This yeast is still the key ingredient of Heineken beer. In 1887 Heineken switched to the use of bottom-fermenting yeast.

Further generations

The founder's son, Henry Pierre Heineken, managed the company from 1917 to 1940, and continued involvement with the company until 1951. During his tenure, Heineken developed techniques to maintain consistent beer quality during large-scale production.

Henry Pierre's son, Alfred Henry "Freddy" Heineken, started working at the company in 1940, and 1971 was appointed Chairman of the Executive Board. He was a powerful force behind Heineken's continued global expansion, and while he retired from the Executive Board in 1989, he maintained involvement with the company until his death in 2002.

Global expansion

After World War I, the company aimed more and more on export. Three days after Prohibition ended in the United States, the first Heineken shipment landed as the first legal shipment of beer. From that day on, Heineken has remained one of the most successful imported beer brands in the United States.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, Heineken tried to increase its stock price by purchasing competing breweries and closing them down. After World War II, many small breweries were bought or closed, damaging the diverse beer culture of the Netherlands.

Heineken is also being brewed in Egypt at the moment.

In 1968 Heineken merged with its biggest competitor, Amstel, and in 1975 opened a new brewery in Zoeterwoude. The Amstel brewery was closed in 1980, and its production moved to Zoeterwoude and Den Bosch.

Breweries and brands

Heineken controls more than 120 breweries worldwide including the Brand Brewery in Holland, Cruzcampo in Spain, Zywiec Brewery in Poland, Zagorka Brewery in Bulgaria, Birra Moretti in Italy, and Asia Pacific Breweries in Asia.

Heineken and Amstel are the company's best known brands; they are both 5% alcohol by volume pale lagers. Heineken is consistently one of the top-selling imported beers in the United States and is marketed as a premium lager worldwide. In The Netherlands, Heineken is thicker and fresher.[citation needed]

The company also produces a Belgian style beer under the brand name Vos Bovengistend Bier; two Oud Bruin style beers, one Amstel branded and the other Heineken branded; low alcohol lagers under the brand name Buckler; three different wheat beers under the brand name Wieckse, and a variety of other beers.

Heineken Cup
Heineken sponsors the Heineken Cup, the annual rugby union knock-out competition involving leading club, regional and provincial teams from the Six Nations: England, France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Italy. Heineken has been the sponsor since the cups' inaugural tournament in 1996.

The three 'e's on the Heineken logo are tilted backwards slightly, making them look like they are smiling. The smiling Es were brought in as the original label was thought too formal for the beer.
In the mid 1990s the brand sponsored free live music festivals in the United Kingdom. Taking place in places such as Avenham Park, Preston and Roundhay Park in Leeds, the Heineken Music Festival featured acts such as Inspiral Carpets, The Boo Radleys and The Stranglers.
In his autobiography I Am Spock, Leonard Nimoy related a story of how he saw a Heineken billboard with the likeness of his alter ego, Mr. Spock, on it. He was not particularly amused and ended up having to file a lawsuit against Heineken.