Henri Willig Cheese farms

Year
2018

Dutch icon Henri Willig, known in Western Europe for its cheese, opened in 2018 a successful museum and store, which acts as a sensory experience. It’s located on the Zaanse Schans, which offers tourists for the past 60 years a perfectly preserved glimpse into the Netherlands’ industrial past with its traditional houses, windmills, warehouses, and workshops. Every tourist stops at Catharina Hoeve, one of the three cheese farms run by the family company Henri Willig. The 17th Century cheese factory is an authentic experience with a 21st Century feel. Sandenburg-DST realised the concept, design and realisation of this attraction which attracts every year 1,2 million visitors.  

Making cheese on the Zaanse Schans is a typical Dutch trade. Since 1974 Henri Willig operates based on its philosophy ‘from land to client’. Tourists have helped the company to grow into a multinational, which focuses with its farms and stores in high streets on two personas: the cheese loving citizen of the world, and the host and hostess who are busy to offer their guests the highest quality. 

“Best place ever. Good cheese, nice people and a really fine experience. We will come back on our next trip to Amsterdam for sure.”

Camelia M., Visitor

Catharina Hoeve should become in the best tradition a high-capacity experience. The agency created the concept, design and implementation of an exhibition about cheese production, offering a great experience and maximum taste. A high number of visitors in the cheese farm and multi-lingual program (10 languages) are central elements of this attraction which can be visited free of charge. On Trip Advisor an enthusiastic visitor wrote: “Entering this house you feel like you are walking straight into a fairy tale, a special world with beautiful and generous people, with exceptional services and products.”

Henri Willig experience

Cheesefarm Catharina Hoeve opened in March 2018 on the Zaanse Schans. Our team had drastically renovated De Haal, a former hay barn. The result was a professionally managed ‘waiting times exhibition’ that tells the story of Henri Willig and his passion for cows and high-quality cheese production. At their own leisure visitors can learn everything about cheese watchting film reels, photographs and reading text and images. Part of the experience are professional demonstraties about the way cheese is produced, made from milk by sheep, goats, and cows. Of course, it is possible to taste cheese and hear all the details by cheese connoisseurs, dressed in traditional Dutch costumes. The reviews on Trip Advisor say it all: “If you are a cheese lover, you cannot pass this buy. This cheesy shop with more than 15-18 types of cheese to choose from, can surely be a mouth-watering experience. We bought more than we thought we would, and don’t regret. The goat and sheep cheese are yum!” 

De Haal Zaanse Schans

After opening the experience in Zaanse Schans, Henri Willig Kaas doubled the duration of stay of visitors. Leading to higher sales of cheese and more brand awareness for Henri Willig. The online audience grew in numbers, by creating accessible social-media moments. Sandenburg-DST created in the same year the concept and realization of a self-guided tour for visitors of cheesefarm Jacob’s Hoeve in Katwoude. It’s all about grassland, cows, and of course cheese. During the visitor journey the guest the special bond that Henri Willig has with its Jersey cows and cheese.

Henri Willig experience

Project team

Carmen Gilhuis

Experience Designer

Renze de Vries

Experience Strategist & Concept Developer

Arjan van Zeumeren

Experience Design Lead

Take a look:

Henri Willig Zaanse Schans