Proost! Let’s drink to that!

Proost! Let’s drink to that! - Dutch drinks - Delicious Dutch Treats


Jenever is straight Dutch gin. It gets its name from the Dutch for juniper berry, in Latin "juniperus", which also means "rejuvenating". The earliest distillers thought that the berry’s medicinal properties could cure anything.

When the drink ceased to be a medicine it became a popular product. Distilleries sprang up all over Holland. Schiedam, outside Rotterdam, with its 200 distilleries, became the unofficial jenever capital.

Bols and Heineken are the two main distillers of jenever in Holland. Each distiller has its own secret recipe which has been handed down through the generations. The two main types of jenever are "jonge" (young) and "oude" (old). The difference between them lies not in their age, but in the flavor and the color. Old jenever is light yellow in color and has a fairly strong flavor, while young jenever is colorless and has a more neutral flavor.

See, smell, feel and taste this Dutch gin at the Dutch Distillery Museum "De Gekroonde Brandersketel" in Schiedam, 74-76 Lange Haven, Schiedam, tel: +31-(0)10-4261291. The whole distillation process is carried out here, just as it used to be in the 17th and 18th centuries when Schiedam developed into a center of the jenever industry, and the fires are kept stoked under the still. Instead of a museum shop at the end of the tour, you can sample the aged results of all those boiling juniper berries in two museum bars. Well worth a visit.


Beer remains the everyday Dutch drink. Hops was first imported in the year 800, when Germanic tribes, who were avid beer drinkers, occupied the country. During the Middle Ages, every Dutch city had a brewery. Amsterdam became the major brewing center in the 15th century. In 1700 there were approximately 700 breweries in Holland. Due to the import of tea and coffee and the discovery of a variety of other drinks, beer production slowed down. There are now only 25 beer breweries in Holland. Currently there is a revival of the traditional style of brewing in "boutique breweries". These breweries are tiny compared to even the smallest breweries, but their products distinguish them from the well-known breweries, such as Heineken, Amstel, Grolsch, Brandt, Skol, Breda and Oranjeboom.

Heineken Beer is a household name all over the world. The renovated former brewery in Amsterdam now houses the Heineken Reception Center. 100,000 Visitors a year experience the excellent quality which is typical of this world-famous beer. The tours are every Monday through Friday at 9:30 and 11 a.m. From June 1 through September 15, tours are also given at 1 p.m. and at 2:30 p.m. In the months of July and August tours are given on Saturday at 11 a.m. and at 2:30 p.m. The address is Stadhouderskade 78 in Amsterdam (tel: +31-(0)20-5239666).

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