What comes to mind when you hear somebody say they want to travel to Amsterdam?
The majority would answer explore the canals, ride bicycles, eat pancakes, and tour Anne Frank House Museum, but if you ask our kids their answer is visiting the Heineken Brewery.
The year we traveled allowed us the freedom to get creative with our kids homeschooling. One way to make their science classes fun for the adults and the kids was to tour local breweries and distilleries in nearby cities. It was a win win for everyone because the tours would always include fun science geared information and for us there was always the tasting room. The Heineken experience definitely took the learning and the fun to another level, our kids still talk about how it was a big highlight in Amsterdam!
The Heineken brewery was established in Amsterdam in 1864, and today it is one of the third largest beer producers in the world. The brewery is located in the centre of the city, and in 1988 was transformed into an interactive museum that is fun for the whole family.
The Heineken Experience is an hour and half long spanning several floors throughout the large building. The floors are divided into thematic sections starting with the company’s heritage and history. You will see old photographs of the family and learn how they started brewing beer. It is amazing to learn how this small family from Amsterdam became so successful in creating a beer that is now sold all over the world.
After we learned about the heart and love that have gone into the beer production for years, you move into the technical and scientific process of how the beer is brewed. It was fun to watch the kids learn the science behind making the beer, and get a feel for how the brewing process works in the large copper kettles. They turned their noses in the air as they stirred the wort, but they really enjoyed the “Brew U” ride, which is an interactive simulation of what is would be like if you were inside the barrel.
After you learn how the brewing process works you quickly walk through the attached stables. This is where the company’s fleet of English Shire horses are kept. It was fun to see the horses and learn the integral part they played within the Heineken company starting in 1864 until the beginning of the 1960s. The horses delivered barrels of Heineken beer on a horse carts to local cafes and establishments in Amsterdam.
After the stables you feel like you are walking into a theme park because there were so many interactive experiences with games, touch screens, silly photo opportunities with selfie booths, email kiosks, and Xbox stations. We made videos of our ourselves singing and riding bikes through Amsterdam, danced on a floor that moved while a DJ played, experienced a 4D ride with techno beats, and more.
Everyone tried their hand at the virtual pour station where you have to be precise to make that perfect pour. Using his skills and amazing hand-eye coordination, Bryan did indeed accomplish the “Perfect Pour!”
The tour ends in an underground old fermentation cellar called the Best ‘Dam Bar. The tour tickets include a small taster during the tour, and two free beers (soda waters for the kids) after the tour. The bar is a efficient and a great way to relax after a lot of fun on your feet.
On your way out make sure you stop by the Don’t souvenir shop where you can customize your own Heineken gear. We customized our own Heineken beer bottle with the family name and will remember all the fun we had for years to come. We cannot wait to go back next time we find ourselves in Amsterdam.