Partying in the Holland Heineken House

After already spending last weekend in Beijing at the Opening Ceremony, I will be back in the capital city tomorrow night for another dose of Olympics. One of the places that I will certainly frequent over the next couple of days is the Holland Heineken House (HHH). This is the center of Dutch partying (although there are also a lot of other nationalities that come just for the great atmosphere) and one of the hottest places to be at night in Beijing during the Summer Olympics. The HHH is located on East 3rd ring road in the Agricultural Exhibition Center, you’ll see the building from a distance because of all the spot lights around it.

The place is huge: not only is there a hall with a stage for partying, but there are also restaurants and shops, and even a Dutch bakery. Dutch TV broadcasts its Olympic programs from the roof of the HHH and a Dutch radio station put a complete radio studio on the premises. There are also some places to have a quiet talk outside in the garden, and if you’re into table tennis you can show off your ping pong skills on one of the many tables.

Last weekend I spent one night at the HHH and loved it. The atmosphere was fantastic inside the building, there were at least 1000 people partying the night away, drinking, dancing and singing to the music. On monitors you could watch a live broadcast of the Olympics while having a Heineken beer or a typical Dutch snack such as a kroket. The beer was quite expensive though: I feel that RMB 35 for a glass is a bit steep, but I assume the venue does not come cheap either.

Dutch sports people who win medals get to go on stage, the national anthem will be played and the audience cheers them. When we were there a Dutch judo player who had just won a bronze medal went on stage and the crowd was screaming and yelling to celebrate his medal. Actually, I felt a bit awkward about this: if someone wins gold of course he/she deserves this. But someone who ends up in third place? I can imagine the guy was happy (I would too with an Olympic medal), but the crowd overdid it a bit. In my opinion only gold is what counts, just like in real life where you also don’t get rewarded for losing, the winner takes it all! A Chinese friend with whom I discussed this later fully agreed, the Chinese team would never give bronze winners such an honor. But maybe the crowd had had too much beer already and was just using every opportunity to party even more!

But apart from this ceremony I had a great night. There was a Dutch singer on stage, Jan Smit, who is locally famous in Holland and the crowds loved him. He even had to do an encore at the end of his short show. Also a bunch of Dutch politicians and Royalty visited the HHH, I saw among others crown prince Willem-Alexander, princess Maxima, prime minister Balkenende, politician Ed Nijpels and the mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen. They all seemed to enjoy the party and nobody worried too much about security (there were some body guards around, but nobody checked our bags or clothing when we entered)

I met a lot of friends at the HHH, some of them I had not seen in years. There was a group of Dutch expats that lived in Beijing 5-6 years ago (when I also still had an apartment there) and who had all come back to Beijing just for the Olympics. I also met friends that were in Beijing when I lived there and are still there, but as expected most of them left China in the mean time. For me it was a great night, and I look forward to spending several more nights there over the next days. If you want to meet me, I plan to be there again Friday night around 11 PM. Cheers!

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  1. Perhaps the question is, how many people in this world he has to beat to be 3rd place?? It is not such a small feat.

    The point here is not gold, silver or bronze, the point is he achieved something. And we should rejoiced in what he managed to achieve. Then the question is ‘how much do we know about the background of this person’ in relation to his winning ONLY a bronze? Take the case of the swimmer Peter van Hogerband (I might not spelled his name correctly). He ended as 5th place today while we all hope (but also know it is quite impossible) to win GOLD for his event. If we know nothing and be judgmental, we would just consider him as yet another failure. But would we have been fair?

    How do we measure success? ONLY when someone come home with GOLD, 1st place, best in class bla, bla, bla? Let’s just take a few moments and think of the achievements of persons such as Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela …


  2. Hi Cindy, I agree that it’s not a small feat. I would also be very happy if I would win a bronze medal in an event. But I feel that organizing a big ceremony should only be for the number one. Only when you reach the absolute top you deserve that.

    For me that’s independent of whether it’s an achievement or not: some people train 6-8 hours a day for years and never reach the top, while other talented people get there with a lot less effort.

  3. You wrote:
    >>some people train 6-8 hours a day for years and never reach the top, while other talented people get there with a lot less effort.>>

    That I think is the whole problem with our world these days — we attributed so much for individual achievements, and not as a team. That is why we are having so much social disengagements. Take the case of ANY medal winner. Can this person WINs a medal based on his or her own TALENT? No matter how talented a person is, that person has FAMILY, has COACHES, has the RIGHT environment, RIGHT people around him/her who give encouragement, support, shoulders to cry on, bla, bla, bla …

    SO, what is so talented about a person? Really not that simple isn't it when we break-down the picture? I would put my money for someone who works really hard and achieve perhaps just a fractions of what the world expected as from him. Perhaps this saying sounds familiar — 90% sweat and 10% talent???

    In this world we have TOO many people who are lucky to have the right talent, the family, the environments to support the achievement such as if a person born into the royal family, or well-to-do, or powerful connections . They have the advantages. They achieved wonders (in others eyes), but what if the same person is born into some god-forsaken country? Would they be less talented, less successful? How do we know if this person NEVER given the chance to proof his worth? Not that simple to judge either.

    What we see is never what it seems. Therefore why not just celebrate even IF for a lesser achievements? Furthermore I do not think the celebration is for JUST that individual. For a country, it always feel good to have a fellow countryman to achieve what we cannot do ourselves. The celebration is for Holland – because the country provides the right environment that include freedom, wealth, opportunities for the achievements.