House of Bols – A Cocktail Experience in Amsterdam

Growing up, my family would fly KLM frequently to get from our home in Ghana to visit family in the U.S. Over the years, my parents accumulated quite a few of the little white and blue porcelain houses filled with Bols Dutch Genever that were given out by the airline. Many years later, it was fun for Matt and I to be able to visit the House of Bols to learn all about this alcohol brand and the process of making their famous spirits.

Touring the House of Bols is a popular activity in Amsterdam and offers a fun way to spend some time diving into the world of cocktails. Below, we’ll provide some details for planning a visit!

House of Bols KLM Miniature
House of Bols KLM Miniature

A Bit About Bols

Bols is the oldest cocktail/spirits brand in the world, so there is quite a bit of history behind it! The Bols family established their distillery in Amsterdam around 1575. Genever and similar juniper-distilled spirits had been produced prior to the creation of Bols, but records indicate that Bols was the first to establish a genever brand.

Genever contains a blend of a sort of malt wine and a juniper-infused distillate. It is sometimes referred to as Dutch gin, but the two have quite distinct profiles and different distilling processes. Like gin, genever contains juniper, but juniper isn’t always the primary flavor.

Today Bols is one of the leading alcohol producers in the world. The brand produces not only genever, but various other liqueurs and brands of gin, tequila, and more. You’ll find their products in stores, home bars, and being used to make delicious drinks at various restaurants and bars in over 110 countries.

Bols Cocktails
Bols Cocktails

Getting to the House of Bols

The House of Bols is conveniently located in an area with many other museums and attractions. Being not too far from the heart of Amsterdam, it can be easily reached on foot.

Public transport is another convenient option. The nearest public transport hubs to the House of Bols is the Museumplein stop. This serves various trams and buses, including trams 2, 5, and 12 and buses 347, 357, 397 N84, and more. The closest metro to the House of Bols is Vijzelgracht served by line 52. There are various route options, so check lines and timetables here.

If driving your own car, there is a paid parking garage near Museumplein.

House of Bols Tickets

Tickets for the Bols Cocktail Experience begin at €17.50 per adult. This is the basic ticket that provides entrance to the interactive exhibit area and includes an audio guide and cocktail.

Visitors also have the option to add a 30-minute or 60-minute cocktail workshop to their Bols Cocktail Experience ticket or select combination deals that include more cocktail and nightlife experiences for an extra charge.

Tickets frequently sell out, so book your ticket and select your date and time slot online in advance through the official website. It is possible to purchase tickets onsite; however, note that they may not be available if all slots have been reserved and you may have to wait in a long line.

Amsterdam Passes

There are multiple Amsterdam passes you can buy that offer discounted or free access to the House of Bols.

The I Amsterdam City Card offers a 25% discount. When booking your tickets online, just select the I Amsterdam City Card ticket option.

The Amsterdam GoCity Pass includes the House of Bols Cocktail Experience ticket. Upon arrival, just present your pass and ID if asked for it. If you want to take a workshop, this pass also provides a 10% discount. We used the GoCity pass during our time in the city.

The Amsterdam Nightlife Ticket is another pass that offers the Cocktail Experience for two individuals for the price of one. This is an ideal option if you want to experience many of the clubs and bars in Amsterdam.

House of Bols

Hours & Regulations

The House of Bols is open:

  • Sunday through Thursday 1 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Hours may vary based on events, holidays, etc., so check the website before your visit.

Individuals under the age of 18 are not permitted in the House of Bols. Upon entry, you may need to present your ID, so bring it with you for your visit.

There is no storage for luggage or other large items here. If you need to store bags, there is a Lockerpoint storage nearby in the Museumplein area.

Visiting the House of Bols

We arrived at the House of Bols in the evening for a sort of happy hour activity.

The Bols Cocktail Experience begins in the exhibits, where visitors walk through the history and evolution of the Bols brand. There are also many displays that talk about the making of distilled spirits. It was fun to be able to smell and feel some of the various ingredients that make the tasty Bols flavors while trying to guess what they were. The museum area was pretty well done and we enjoyed the interactive aspect. The exhibits take around an hour to get through.

Guessing the scents associated with Bols flavors
Guessing the scents associated with Bols flavors

Afterwards, you’ll find yourself in the Mirror Bar where there are various menu machines. You can scroll through the many cocktail options, print your ticket, and take it to the bar where the bar tender will whip up your chosen cocktail. There were quite a few varieties and it was hard to choose. We got a Bols Cheesecake and a First Aid – both were delicious! The ticket also has the ingredients and instructions needed to make the cocktail. Of course, you can try additional cocktails beyond the one included in your entry ticket if desired.

Our tasty cocktails
Our tasty cocktails

We hung out in the bar area a bit, chatting with some other travelers, made a quick stop at the gift shop, and headed out.

A visit to the House of Bols was a fun addition to our evening and we definitely recommend a visit if you’re a cocktail fan. If you’re more of a beer person, check out a similar activity at the Heineken Experience!

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