The Heineken Experience in Amsterdam is widely known as one of the most popular attractions in the Netherlands. The interactive crowd pleaser offers visitors a green immersion in the heritage of Heineken, the brewing process, the latest innovations, sponsoring and the story behind the iconic star. Sandenburg-DST built the foundation of the brand experience.
Heineken Experience 1.0
The industrial national monument from 1867 was the first large brewery of Heineken. After closure of the factory, the reception and information centre were based here from 1991. Ten years later the first version of the Heineken Experience opened with the pillars heritage and hospitality. Since the opening experts are raving about the visitor attraction with an annual capacity of 250.000 visitors. In January 2002 the site receives the ToerNed Attractie Award. The jury congratulates Heineken for “the well-executed conversion of an old-fashioned guided tour into a dynamic, interactive and high-quality introduction into the world of an iconic beer brand”.
A large compliment for team of Sandenburg-DST, which was involved the first 7 years of the lifecycle of the experience. Markus Konings: “The fundament of the success was the unconditional support by Freddy Heineken and the board of directors. From day one it was seen as a separate business unit. A real treat for my team to create a new experience which adds value to the brand and attracts millions of visitors.”
“People are craving for storytelling and authenticity. Here the story of Heineken comes alive. You have to continuously change to adapt the brand experience to fit with the innovative character of Heineken.”
Lieke Westendorp, managing director Heineken Experience
Heineken Experience 2.0
The enormous success of Heineken Experience speeded up the decision to close the museum in 2007 for a major renovation. BRC Imagination Arts was selected to give creative interpretation to develop a storyline and innovation design to touch visitors emotionally in the culture, history and brand Heineken. After reopening in November 2008, the attraction received the international recognition Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement ‘Brand Experience’.
Heineken Experience broke many audience records. In 2009 there were 350.000 visitors, in 2015 the number had gone up in threefold. A year later the one millionth visitor was received. In 2019 1,3 million people bought a ticket, of which 95 percent were international tourists.
The electrotechnical and security installations had to be replaced. This is part of a larger renewal and extension to create more space to show the original elements of the brewery. People can even experience walking through an original brewery kettle.
The first phase includes the creation of a new and extended entrance area and store, where visitors can enter the zone without a ticket and see the copper kettles with their own eyes. The infamous waiting lines outside the building are past tense. The new entrance of Heineken Events has been opened in the spring of 2022, offering 550 business events in one of in total 7 rooms. De Moutzolder, the malt attic where the barley was processed, will function as a bar offering guests access to the roof terrace.
“What I recommend brands do is to offer live, physical experiences and they should charge admission for the experience. Such as with the Heineken Experience.”
Joe Pine, consultant en co-auteur The Experience Economy
Heineken 150 years
Sandenburg-DST developed in 2014 the exhibition Heineken’s Amsterdam. A meaningful exposition in the city archive. Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, great granddaughter of founder Gerard Adriaan Heineken personally opened the celebratory exhibition, which attracted 38.000 visitors in three months time.