Heineken Experience Reopens TRENDS INNOVATIONS The Heineken Experience in Amsterdam reopened for business after months of renovation. The Heineken theme park evokes the past and embraces the present. World of Heineken 39 winter 2008/2009 Situated on the edge of Amsterdam's seventeenth century historic district, the Heineken Experience's exterior bears silent witness to the long history of the Heineken brand. The fagade of the original brewery, built in 1868, still stands, flanked on both sides by the sleek art deco expansion that was added to it in 1930. These historical exteriors still proclaim, in larger than life lettering, that a brewery lies within. A neon-sign in the middle, lining a recently constructed glass door entrance, betrays the building's new function as one of Amsterdam's biggest tourist attractions. Every year, close to half a million tourists from around the globe flock to the Heineken Experience, were the Heineken brand was born so long ago. Gerard Adriaan Heineken's mother laid the first stone of the building in 1867, a mere three years after her son founded the company. This November, the Heineken Experience reopened after an extensive renovation carried out by the company that also designed parts of Disneyworld, NASA's Cape Canaveral and Universal Studios theme parks. The result is a one-and-a-half hour wild ride that teaches visitors all about how Heineken is made. The Experience is exactly what the name implies, engaging all the senses in the process. Visitors can taste hops and barley, feel the heat that is used to cook the wort and sniff up the smell of malt that used to linger around the neighbourhood when the brewery was still up and running. "I still remember that smell. It left no doubt to what was going on behind those walls," Harry Philippa recalls. Harry is one of the few people involved in the Heineken Experience who can still recall the time that the brewery was still functioning. Today Harry is manager of Heineken Internal Services. As the original brewery's last controller, he oversaw its demise in 1988. It was Freddy Heineken himself who paved the way for The Heineken Experience. Rather than selling off the brewery, which his grandfather had constructed, he decided to change it into a welcome centre for corporate relations, which would evolve into the Heineken Experience in 2001. Still heavy with history, the Heineken Experience today holds a middle ground between the times past and modernity. A beer draughting robot, used by Heineken scientists to measure the qualities of brews is on display, side by side with the trowel used by Gerard Heineken's mother to lay the first brick in the nineteenth century. Visitors can tape their own souvenir videos and email them to friends on special terminals, but also check out historic Heineken ads from times past. A small menu from a 19th century hotel recalls a time that Heineken was sold for 6 guilder cents a bottle, while a video wall celebrates the long-time sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League. A fitting combination, says Harry, for a brand with a distinguished history and a bright future. "Heineken was born in Amsterdam, and raised by the world. The story we tell here, is one that has not yet come to an end." www.heinekenexperience.com

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