Our story

1585 – 1863

The beginning

A long, long, long time ago… The history of De Blauwe Parade goes a long way back. All the way to the year of 1585, when maltster Jan Thymansz started his malt house ‘De Hooischuur’. His wife Weyntgen Elberts continued the company after he passed away and she even started brewing beer. This was such a success, that on the 18th of June 1592, she could afford herself a parcel at the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, with a house and barn on it. It this barn she established brewery ‘De Hooiberg’.


The beginning of Heineken

In the following years, many owners were passing by. We won’t state them all here, however there was an ambitious young man in 1863 that wanted to buy the brewery. Unfortunately his personal funds, consisting mostly of his father’s inheritance, were not sufficient enough to do this. His mother then helped him in his search for capital. The shareholders suggested to buy shares one by one, but he thought that would take to long. It was all or nothing, as the young man wrote to the shareholders back then. On the day of 15 February 1864 the moment was finally there, when Gerard Adriaan Heineken bought brewery ‘De Hooiberg’.


Agreement between the Hulscher Brothers and Heineken

It was the year 1868 when the Hulscher Brothers made an agreement with Gerard Adriaan Heineken. Together they started a beerhouse situated behind the brewery on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, by the name of ‘Gebroeders Hulscher’. Therefore two neighboring storehouses had to be rebuild. During this reconstruction an old tablet was found in a wall. A representation of several buildings in the Old-Neurenberg style with the inscription: ‘Die Port van Cleve’ was engraved in this tablet. The Hulscher brothers decided to name the new beer house after this tablet.


The start of beerhouse Die Port van Cleve

On the 5th of September 1870 beer house ‘Die Port van Cleve’ was officially opened and from the first moment on it was crowded every night. In this beer house only beer brewed in the brewery ‘De Hooiberg’ was served, which had an excellent quality. A location as large as Die Port van Cleve was a complete new concept in Amsterdam.


Restaurant with numbered steaks

The same year an restaurant was added to ‘Die Port van Cleve’. The world-famous steaks made their appearance and even partly overshadwowed the ‘Hooiberg’ beer’s fame. During the festivities in May 1874, the place was crowded and the demand for steaks and chop was enormous. Eventually the ‘Hooiberg’ brewery was relocated to the ‘Buitensingel’ in Amsterdam, now known as the ‘Stadhouderskade’, where the current ‘Heineken’ brewery arose. As the canals were filled up which made transport was impossible, moving the brewery became necessary. The beer botteling of the ‘Hooiberg’beer still took place in Die Port van Cleve, in the hands of the Hulscher Borthers. From here it was shipped all over the country and even abroad.


First place with electric light

In January 1879 large festivities were planned for the entry of King William and his spouse Queen Emma. The Hulscher brothers designed a great project for this occasion. Even though the party was cancelled, they proceeded with the project. The first week of February ‘Die Port van Cleve’ was electrically lit every night. The people in those days already heard a lot about electrical lighting, however they had never seen it. Therefore this project attracted a great amount of people from everywhere and from then on ‘Die Port van Cleve’ was literally attacked by people who wanted to have a beer and bite under the bright electrical lightning.


Opening bodega De Blauwe Parade

The building next to ‘Die Port van Cleve’, had been partly transferred into the possession of the Hulscher brothers. This became Bodega ‘De Blauwe Parade’, which was opened on the 3rd of July 1888. Herein the biggest tile frescos of the world took its place, which was designed by A. Le Comte from ‘Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles’ in Delft. The tile fresco was produced in 1887 by Joost ‘t Hooft and Labouchere and was painted by L. Senf. The freeze shows a parade of children, simulating the historical triumphs from the Golden Century in honor of the emperor Maximilian. The emperor is recognized by its crown and the three crosses on his chest. These days the Andreas-crosses are still visible in the Amsterdam city sign. They stand for heroism, determination and mercifulness.


In the meantime there didn’t change much in De Blauwe Parade and almost everything is still in its original condition. From the start we have served Heineken drought beer and traditional jenever has always had a prominent place in De Blauwe Parade. This seems logical, since the first malt wine produced from corn was made in Amsterdam. De Blauwe Parade serves ‘Van Wees’ jenever. These jenevers are produced according to ancient family recipes. Also, the famous numbered steak has never vanished from the menu and is still being served in De Blauwe Parade since 1870.