The industrial facility was built as the first Heineken brewery in 1867, serving as the company's primary brewing facility until 1988 when a more modern, larger facility was constructed on the outskirts of the city.
In 1991, the brewery opened to the public as a brewery tour and visitor center, known as the "Heineken Treat and Information Centre" (Dutch: Heineken ontvangst- en informatiecentrum). The attraction grew to become one of Amsterdam's most popular tourist attractions and by 2001 the visitor center changed its name to "Heineken Experience".
After a year of extensive remodeling and expansion, the Heineken Experience reopened to visitors on 3 November, 2008. The latest transformation of the visitor experience comprises four levels of historical artifacts, product exploration and sampling, and interactive exhibits which employ the latest high-tech multi-media technologies.
In renovating this visitor experience, the brewery tour was designed to educate the public on the process of pilsner brewing as well as to bringing the Heineken product and brand to life. As described by branding expert Bob Rogers of BRC Imagination Arts, an experience design firm based in Burbank, California, commissioned to design the visitor center renovations: "We wanted to bring back the connection with beer-making, and the history of Heineken, to help people see it, touch it, taste it".
European Route of Industrial Heritage Site
While the original brewing facility which houses the Heineken Experience is an historic landmark for the Heineken company, it serves also as an Anchor Point on the European Route of Industrial Heritage. The European Route of Industrial Heritage presents 845 sites in 29 European countries. Of these, 66 Anchor Points compose the ERIH main route. In whole, eleven Regional Routes host the industrial history of the European landscape in detail, and all sites relate to ten European Theme Routes which show the diversity of European industrial history and their common roots.
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- "The Heineken Experience". BRC Imagination Arts.
- "Heineken Experience Reopens in Amsterdam". . Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
- "Heineken Experience - Heineken Brewery". www.erih.net. European Route of Industrial Heritage. Retrieved 2007-04-28.