Discover the story of these typically Dutch drinks: beer and jenever - Holland.com
Traditional Dutch icons

The best places to taste beer and jenever

Tasting beer at a medieval beer brewery, visiting the famous Heineken, and rediscovering the traditional shot glass of jenever! Both beer and jenever (or Dutch gin) are traditional Dutch alcoholic drinks with a rich and long history. These days, while jenever might be a bit less popular, Dutch beer has conquered the world.
  • Go for a beer tasting at a local city brewery.
  • Visit one of the world’s best craft beer breweries.
  • Discover modern jenever distilleries with a centuries-old tradition.

People have been brewing beer in the Netherlands since the Middle Ages. Both adults and children used to drink beer because regular water was often contaminated, and milk did not keep well. Every city had its own brewery - there were as many as 700 breweries in the Netherlands in the 17th century! Famous Dutch beer brands today include Heineken, Amstel, Grolsch, Bavaria, Brand, and Hertog Jan. In addition, local breweries brew countless specialty beers. You can taste them at the brewery or go to one of the many beer pubs dotted throughout the country.

5x pre-dinner drinks and beer brewing

Beer Museum and Proeflokaal De Boom, Alkmaar
Start your beer tasting tour in Alkmaar and visit the Nationaal Biermuseum, which can be found in a former beer brewery. Let the many stories sink in afterwards with a great beer at Proeflokaal De Boom. In summer, a flush-decked barge with a terrace is moored in the canal.

Stadskasteel Oudaen, Utrecht
You will find the medieval Stadskasteel Oudaen in the center of Utrecht. In the old wharf cellars beneath the restaurant, a modern city brewery produces excellent beers every day. Tap your own beer at the table, visit the brewery, and enjoy the view from the canalside terrace.

Jopenkerk, Haarlem
Walk into the Jopenkerk iin Haarlem for a beer tasting. The former church building was converted to a fantastic grand café and restaurant. ‘Jopenbier’ has even become a well-known beer brand although you can still choose from over one hundred other beers.

Kaapse Brouwers, Rotterdam
Kaapse Brouwers is a stalward contemporary craft beer brewery in Rotterdam. Try one of the specialty beers at restaurant Kaapse Maria in the centre of the city or Fenix 1, the hotspot overlooking the Meuse river.

Brouwerij De Molen, Bodegraven
Brouwerij De Molen has been winning awards for its craft beers every year and is even quite high up on the international top 100 list. Visit the mill for a tour on Saturday and learn all about the mill beers. Brouwcafé De Molen is open from Wednesdays through Saturdays, so find a table and try one of the many beers with a tasty snack on the side.

Jenever, a liquor based on wheat and juniper berries, was originally used as a medicine against the plague and other medieval diseases. In port cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, wheat was easy to find and the first jenever distilleries were established. Later, they were moved outside the city because of the bad smell and pollution. That is when Schiedam grew into a real ‘jenever city’. Visit an authentic jenever distillery where history comes to life and tasting jenever is a real experience.

Did you know that…

… you can order a kopstoot at the bar? If you order a kopstoot, you will be served a shot glass of jenever and a glass of beer. Start by knocking back the jenever and extinguish the fire with beer. Fair warning: you might get hit over the head by this combination!

3x jenever tasting

Jenevermuseum, Schiedam
Schiedam is the best place to experience the history of jenever distilleries. In its heyday, Schiedam boasted hundreds of them. Personal stories at the Jenevermuseum and visible traces throughout the city bring the industry back to life. Visit the museum mill and participate in a jenever tasting session.

Nolet Distillery, Schiedam
Nolet Distillery is a family business that started in 1691. A centuries-old distillery that is still operational, a great place to visit. ‘De Nolet’ is the world’s highest tower mill. Taste the traditional Ketel1 jenever or try one of the other variations and liquors that have been developed.

Rutte, Dordrecht
Jenever distillery Rutte was a family business for many generations, founded in 1872 by Simon Rutte. The distillery still produces jenevers, gins and liqueurs with respect for its long tradition. Visit the distillery for a jenever tasting and a bite in the historic tasting room with its fantastic ambiance.

More places to taste jenever

Eat like a local

Bitterballen, stroopwafels and other typically Dutch foods. Discover our top 5 and eat like a local.

Did you find this interesting? Discover more