Heineken Experience Tour – Photo: Brian Kachejian ©2018
Amsterdam is full of wonderful museums. Many tourists who visit Amsterdam spend a great deal of time in Amsterdam’s Museum Row that hosts legendary museums such as the Van Gogh and the Rijksmuseum. However, one of our favorite places to visit is a museum that gives new meaning to the term interactive. Amsterdam’s Heineken Museum is a great place to visit especially if you are over the age of 18.
The Heineken Museum Tour promotes their museum as a fully interactive experience. The interaction simply means that at various spots along the tour, those 18 and over will be offered Heineken Beer to drink. The interaction is therefore the concept of drinking the beer. Nonetheless, the museum does offer some fun multi-media experiences that do come pretty close to placing the visitor into a video game encounter.
Our first recommendation based on our own Heineken Experience Tour visit is to purchase your tickets online. There are two lines to enter the Heineken Experience. One line is to purchase tickets, the other is for those who purchased their tickets online. Those who had already purchased their tickets basically had no line. They just walked right into the museum and got started with their Heineken Experience Tour. For those who had not purchased tickets, like us, we were stuck waiting online for close to an hour.
Once your ticket is purchased, those eighteen and over receive a green Heineken wrist band that has two small removable Heineken buttons attached to the band. Those buttons serve as your tokens to receive your two large glasses of Heineken at the tour’s end in the so-called Heineken night club. However, those are not the only Heinekens served on the tour.
The tour begins in a greeting room with about fifty visitors and a Heineken spokesperson that explains how the tour works. Basically, it is a self-guided tour that allows the visitor to set their own pace. Personally, I prefer self-guided tours because I have grown tired of chasing a tour guide holding a flag. I usually find myself watching the flag more than the museum around me. During the self-guided Heineken Experience Tour ,there are Heineken tour guides that give small little lectures based on the room one has entered. The history of Heineken and the process of brewing are some of the topics covered by the tour guides.
The first true interactive experience at the Heineken museum is when you are offered the opportunity to sample something called wort. It actually looks like fish tank water. I was not going to try it, but my kid said “come on dad, try it.” So, giving into father / son peer pressure. I drank the shot of wort. Guess what? It actually tasted like fish tank water. When you get to that part of the tour, I highly recommend not to sample the wort. The wort is part of the brewing process before the alcohol and a few other ingredients are added to the mixture. It is in essence just water and barley.
Heineken understands that many people interested in visiting the Heineken Experience will have kids with them. Heineken has made the experience interesting for everyone by including some fun multimedia experiences. Without giving too much away and spoiling the surprise, all I will say is that Heineken has done a really good job at entertaining visitors of all ages with their multimedia experience. However, there is no sitting, you will be standing the whole time.
Once your multi-media experience is done, you are led into a room and handed a small glass of Heineken. Now this is where reading this review may save you a bit of embarrassment. Once I was handed the beer, I did what most people would do when handed a glass of Heineken; I began to drink it. I was instantly yelled at by the Heineken man. He said “we all drink together at Heineken.” So, I waited while everyone received their Heinekens. Then I waited some more, while the Heineken spokesperson began to describe how to pour and drink a Heineken. Finally, we were allowed to drink the Heinekens.
The tour ends in a large room that is set up to simulate a night club. There are two bars where bartenders are pouring Heinekens from the taps. If you want a glass, a Heineken bartender exchanges a large glass of Heineken for one of the two buttons attached to your wristband. Once you are done, you leave by exiting through the Heineken gift store.
The Heineken Museum Experience Tour utilizes many of the gimmicks that basically all museums and theme parks employ. Along the way through the museum, are chances to be photographed against green screens so you can purchase the pictures as you exit. One favorite among visitors is the opportunity to have you name engraved on a bottle of Heineken. That is something that is pretty exclusive to the Heineken Experience.
When traveling I tend to not visit many museums because I would rather experience the culture of the city than spend an entire day inside a museum. I love museums, but if my time is limited in a city, I want to experience the city in the present, more than in its past. However, the Heineken Museum Experience is part museum, part theme park, and in some ways, part pub. The price of admission is about equal to what it would cost to drink two Heinekens on tap in any local pub. So, in the end it’s a pretty good deal. Since the whole tour takes only about 90 minutes, it’s a great way to spend a very small part of your day while touring the wonderful streets of Amsterdam.