The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every three years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


Distillation of traditional genever (or jenever = Dutch gin) is done with purchased malt wine, juniper berries and herbs, and liqueur is distilled with brandy, purchased alcohol, fruits, nuts, flowers and herbs in kettles, on the basis of the original recipes. Through a rectifying still the distillate is twice distilled, the first time in the fine still, after which the rectifying still takes care of correction. All distillates must rest for a certain time after distillation, in stone pots, oak barrels or otherwise. The different jenever distillates are processed to a type of jenever and this will be left to ripen in oak barrels again for at least three months, up to twenty years, depending on the type. Jenever and liqueur are often drunk at special occasions, like Bruidstranen (bridal tears) at a wedding and Kandeel after a birth. Van Wees also distils new ingredients, at the request of specific customer groups, for instance lavender, celery, garlic and pepper. They also produce modern liqueurs, like those made of vegetables and yuzu, and thus innovations are created. Liqueurs often bear playful names, like Hempje licht op, Papegaaiensoep and Naveltje bloot (Lift-up camisole, Parrot soup and Naked belly button).



At Van Wees the knowledge is passed on from father to children. Many consumers drink a glass of jenever or liqueur. The liqueurs and jenevers are available in hotels, bars and restaurants and sold at liquor stores. Furthermore the assortment of spirits is purchased to be used by patissiers, restaurants etcetera, to strengthen the flavour effect.



Jenever (or, as the traditional hand-distilled product was called: genever), was first distilled in Amsterdam after 1600. The basis was malt wine with juniper berries and herbs. Malt wine is a semi-finished product for jenever with an alcohol percentage of 48-60%. The Dutch became world-famous because of the art of fine-distillation. The French, in Cognac, learned the craft from the Dutch. The industrial revolution brought a quicker, cheaper method of distilling: column distillation. With this type of distillation it was not necessary to raise the alcohol percentage of the malt wine from 5 to 48-60% in three distillation stages and subsequently turn it into jenever in a fourth and a fifth distillation process. Now grain alcohol was used that was distilled in one step, with an alcohol percentage of 96,2%. From this industrial grain or sugar beet alcohol, jenever was made by diluting it with water, down to 35%. Sometimes a bit of malt wine or redistilled malt wine was added. The ‘old jenever’, made with the fine-distillation technique, fell into disuse. The same thing happened to the liqueurs. Up to the end of the nineteenth century the ‘fine, double Amsterdam liqueurs’ from some forty distilleries in Amsterdam, were known throughout the whole world. These distilleries distilled fruits, nuts, herbs and flowers with brandy into fine distillates and made liqueurs from them, like the well-known Apricot Brandy, Zilverwater (Silverwater) and Guldenwater (Goldwater). But after 1900 the artificial flavourings were introduced and these were much cheaper. This made many liqueur and spirit distilleries go bankrupt or forced them to change to cheaper production methods. After World War II the remaining distilleries left Amsterdam. They stopped their activities or started producing industrial distillates.




  • To resolve the tension between price and quality, we continue to publicize the craft.
  • The three websites (the online store, the Jeneverschool and the general website) will be merged and supplemented with, among others, videos and blogs.
  • The activities of the Jeneverschool will be restarted after corona
  • The daughters' distillery training is continued.
  • Tours are intensified and background information and films about the preparation process are posted via social media.
  • In 2022 the 100 year anniversary of the van Wees family will be celebrated with special attention.
  • Due to geopolitical developments, among other things, certain raw materials are sometimes difficult to obtain, which is why they anticipate developments as much as possible.



A. van Wees Distilleerderij De Ooievaar
Driehoekstraat 10