Freddy Heineken may not have been a Heineken after all: new book

A new biography of the founder of the Heineken beer empire, Gerard Heineken, states his grandson Freddy was not a blood relation.

Biographer Annejet van der Zijl claims Freddy, who turned Heineken into a global brand and died in 2002, was actually the grandson of family friend Julius Petersen, who was his grandmother’s lover for years.

Freddy’s grandmother Mary Tindal married Petersen, a prominent figure on the social circuit and close friend of the Heinekens, after Gerard’s death in 1893.


Van der Zijl says Freddy was well aware of his ancestry and this gave him the drive to roll out the Heineken brand world wide.

‘Freddy continued the work of his grandfather. He may not have had his genes but he did have his entrepreneurial drive and business instincts,’ she is quoted as saying by the Telegraaf. ‘Like Gerard, he had an enormous talent for the commercial aspects of the brewing industry.’

Van der Zijl was commissioned to write the biography of Gerard by the Heineken Collection foundation to mark 150 years of the brewing group. To do this she was given access to the family archives, the Telegraaf says.

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