Exhibition Heineken’s Amsterdam
Amsterdam City Archives has developed the exhibition Heineken’s Amsterdam, one of the big attractions in which the famous brewery celebrates its 150th anniversary. With the cooperation of Heineken a controversial exhibition is made, allowing visitors to discover the rich history of the company and its founder.
It was in 1864, a century and a half ago this year, that Gerard Heineken (1841-1893) took over the brewery known as De Hooiberg. Amsterdam was then an impoverished city, but several progressive local citizens were doing their best to boost the city’s finances. This was the era that saw the building of the Palace of Industry and the creation of the Vondelpark. Heineken too was forward-thinking. In 1868 he built a new brewery on the outskirts of the city, the beginnings of the Heineken brewery on Stadhouderskade. The entrepreneur and innovator Heineken achieved rapid success when he started brewing the ‘Bavarian beer’ we call lager, which was new to these regions. Amsterdam’s nightlife was reinvigorated and beer was consumed in abundant quantities. Some of the busiest and bestknown bars included Die Port van Cleve and Mille Colonnes, at Rembrandtplein.
Gerard Heineken was also concerned with the quality of life in his city. He exerted himself to improve workers’ housing and to promote the arts. The exhibition shows that this founder of what would become a multinational brewery was also one of the founders of modern Amsterdam. Visitors to the exhibition Heineken’s Amsterdam will see that it was partly thanks to Gerard Adriaan Heineken that the lethargic city of Amsterdam acquired a new lease of life.