Operational within 20 months of the
driving of the first pile, Heineken's new
distilleries at Zoetermeer in the west of
Holland, were officially opened on
September 21, 1979, by H.R.H. Prince
Bemhard of the Netherlands. First
distillation at the new complex began
when the Prince opened a valve to start the
fire under a glass still.
The new distilleries replace the company's
former plants at Rotterdam and Schiedam.
Work of planning and construction was
co-ordinated by six working parties
responsible respectively for the grain
distillery and power-house, the distillery,
bottling department, internal transport,
works offices and services rooms and the
The first pile was officially driven by the
Burgomaster of Zoetermeer on January
27, 1978. Within less than six months an
apprentice carpenter hoisted the Dutch
tricolour on the highest point of the steel
structure that was to become the alcohol
distillery and, at 23.33 metres, the highest
point of the entire complex.
The opening ceremony last September
was held on the ground floor of the new
premises. H.R.H. Prince Bernhard was
greeted on arrival by a party of Zoetermeer
officials together with Mr. AHHeineken
Chairman of the Board of Managing
Directors, and Jonkheer O.A.E.E.L.
Wittert van Hoogland, Chairman of the
New distillery officially
opened at Zoetermeer
Flashback to January 27, 1978: Mr. J.WWegstapel
(left), then Burgomaster of Zoetermeer, drives the
first pile. With him are Mr. R. van de Vijver (centre),
member of the Board of Managing Directors, and
Mr. J. van der Zee. Managing Director of
Gedistilleerd en Wijn Groep Nederland.
The bottling hall.