The history of Heineken starts on 16 December 1863. On that day Gerard Adriaan Heineken bought the brewery called De Hooiberg (The Haystack) in Amsterdam. The brewery had been in existence since the 16th century and in two centuries it had grown to become the biggest in Amsterdam. The purchase of De Hooiberg was the birth of the firm of Heineken & Co. It was and still is a family business.