The following pages are for the purposes of education and information only. This should not be considered in any way to condone the use of cannabis, marijuana or other mind-altering substances. Coffee shops news 2013.
Coffeeshops, not to be confused with cafés, have been a part of Amsterdam since the 1970s, when the Dutch government made a clear distinction in the law between 'hard' and 'soft' drugs. Unlike Amsterdam's fully legal smart shops, coffeeshops have always existed in a legal grey area. Today, Amsterdam's City Council, through agreement with the coffeeshop union Bond van Cannabis Detaillisten (BCD), allows coffeeshops to operate with the provision of set, non-transferable licences – shown by the display of an official, green and white sticker in the window.
One of the major events for coffeeshops in Amsterdam is the High Times Cannabis Cup, which takes place towards the end of November, during the week of Thanksgiving. This major smoking event usually leads to coffeeshop crawls and cannabis clouds throughout the city.
The Netherlands has a special tolerance policy on soft drugs, but if we look at the laws:
- Possession of drugs is punishable, again, with a maximum of 5 grams of cannabis (weed, marihuana or hash) the police will seize the drugs, but you can give them up and you will not be prosecuted.
- If you have more soft drugs than the quantity for personal use (5 gram) you will be fined and risk a prison sentence
- Minors are not allowed to have any drugs, the tolerance policy does not apply to them, so you must be 18 or over to buy drugs
- Growing weed at home is illegal, however 5 plants or less you can give them up and you will generally not be prosecuted
- Hard drugs are not allowed, import and export of drugs is illegal,
- You cannot smoke in public, and use of soft drugs like smoking weed is not allowed either
You must get to a coffee shop to buy weed. You’ll find about 200 coffee shops in Amsterdam, so there is always one close to your location. Although coffee shops are not allowed to make any advertising, you will be able to identify them easily. Official Dutch coffee shops have a green and white licence sticker in the window. In order to enter a coffee shop, you must be 18 or over and have an ID. Coffee shops are not allowed to sell alcohol.
Most coffee shops have a menu. Since coffee shops are not allowed to do any advertising, you will generally not find any details posted on the door or even inside. Just ask the person at the counter for the menu, and they’ll give you what you need. A general rule of thumb is: the more expensive, the stronger the weed. For inexperienced smokers a gram of weed will get you high about 6 times and you should be able to make at least 3 joints nice from a single gram. Ask for advice if you are not sure, these people are here to make sure everything is safe.
The THC levels in Dutch weed are normally higher than what you are used to. Dutch Nederweed contains about 15-18% THC, while foreign weed only contains about 7.5% THC. The THC level in hash is about 19%. So, ask for advice from the coffee shop about the type, strength and effect of the drugs. If you don’t know how strong it is, take a small puff from the joint and wait for 1-2 minutes to see the effect. Inhaling deeply is not needed for the THC to enter your lungs. The effects will last 2-4 hours.
Many coffee shops sell coffee and tea, juice and some even sell milkshakes.
Eco drugs (with the exception of mushrooms) are still allowed. Valerian, Fly Amanita, Ginseng, Jimson weed, and Guarana can still be sold in so called smart shops selling alternative health products.
If you eat hash or weed (in a space cake /pot brownies for instance) it might take up to two hours to show any effect, do not take a second piece! The effects last 4-6 hours and the after effects up to 12 hours.
Any combination of drugs and alcohol will increase the change of a headache, but also of a bad trip, panic and anxiety attacks, intense unpredictable trips and are generally a bad idea. Drugs affect your ability to drive and perform sexually. Drinking plenty of water or isotone drinks will keep your fluid balance at the right level, allowing your kidneys to remove all toxins. After a good night out eating protein rich food (meat, fish, bananas, and nuts) will help you recover more quickly). Drinking coffee will remove more liquid from your body, increasing the chance of headaches. Fruit and veggies with lots of vitamins can also help you recover more quickly.
What is not allowed: Any hard drug (like cocaine, LSD, heroin, morphine, MDMA) and magic mushrooms (over 200 varieties of hallucinogenic mushrooms), and qat (khat, mira). You are not allowed to grow any weed in your home, but in the unlikely event you are arrested with 5 grams of hash or less or 5 cannabis plants, all you have to do is hand them in and that’s that – you will not be prosecuted. Large scale professional plantations are actively tracked down by police helicopters with infrared cameras. Owners of weed plantations face heavy penalties and can be evicted.
Public smoking is not allowed anymore, you are only allowed to smoke cigarettes in designated areas (bars and discos generally have a sealed smoking area, and you are only allowed to smoke near a smoking pole on the train station). Joints without tobacco can be enjoyed in the coffee shops. Like discos, coffee shops have a separate smoking area where you can smoke tobacco joints.
Amsterdam also has a unique traffic sign: “Blowverbod” A sign prohibiting blowing, so if you see this, no smoking of hash or other drugs is allowed.
When visiting a dance party, there is a big chance you’ll be searched for drugs, any amount of drug may be confiscated.
Driving under the influence of drugs is not allowed, and is treated the same as drunk driving.
To round it all off, we have or I should say had the “Wietpas”? What was it? Up to 19 November 2012, many of the coffee shops in the Southern provinces of the Netherlands required you to have a “weedpass”, an official membership card which allowed you to buy drugs. These would be issued only to the locals. The idea was to stop the drug tourism. Nowadays an ID and the proof of residency (extract from the Municipal Personal Records Database) suffice and “Wietpas” does not exist anymore. Amsterdam has always been an exception, so any tourist could enter a coffee shop and buy some weed.
These entries are independent editorial reviews and should not be considered as advertising in any way. If you feel any information to be inappropriate, please let us know right now.
When you would like to try growing your own Amsterdam quality buds at home, check out the seed shop of Royal Queen Seeds. They have been developing high quality cannabis seeds for over 20 years and guarantee worldwide safe shipping.
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 145 - 147, 1017 PZ Amsterdam
A unique coffeeshop and hotel located just off Leidseplein. Lively crowd of tourists, expats and locals, with a publike atmosphere and a large smoking lounge.
Haarlemmerstraat 44, 1013 ES Amsterdam
A pink pig marks the entrance to this warm and friendly coffeshop where Pinkfloyd music is often on play. Here you can surf the Internet while enjoying a sandwich - just short walk from the central station.
Haarlemmerstraat 102, 1013 Amsterdam
Famous family of Amsterdam coffee shops and cafés mostly found on the same street corner. The award-winning Barney’s Coffeeshop offers high quality, and high priced, products and a busy atmosphere, as well as tasty food in the Barney’s Uptown sister location.
Albert Cuypstraat 25, 1072 CK Amsterdam
Very unusual coffee shop with chess boards on every table and a recording studio in the back. De Graal is one of those hidden gems of the Amsterdam coffee shop scene that it takes a local to find.
Rembrandtplein 24, 1017 CV Amsterdam
Busy, neon-lit tourist coffee shop located on the teeming tourist and nightlife centre of Rembrantplein. Pool tables and a nice menu make up for the touristy feel and cheesy music.
Sint Antoniesbreestraat 71, 1011 HB Amsterdam
Popular with backpackers, the coffee shop is crowded on the weekends, so show up early or prepare to fight for a seat.
Warmoesstraat 64, 1012 JH Amsterdam
Energetic tourist coffee shop in a great location on the edge of the Red Light District. Loud music and large windows make this a place for people watching rather than conversation.
Nieuwmarkt 16, 1012 CR Amsterdam
With a more welcoming atmosphere than its sister location on the other side of the Red Light District, this little coffee shop has a great terrace for sun lounging as well as a comfortable smoking room inside.
Oudebrugsteeg 27, 1012 JN Amsterdam
Laid back coffee shop with a pub atmosphere, friendly staff and a very central location. Alternative music and David Attenborough documentaries help make this a place to spend all day in.
Jonge Roelenstg 12 -14, 1012 PL Amsterdam
Chilled out, rambling coffeeshop with two locations in the city centre. Colourful mosaics and large couches dominate, giving Abraxas a real hippy feel.
Kerkstraat 39, 1017 GB Amsterdam
Lively and smoke-friendly cafe conveniently located near to Leidsplein. Coffee, beer, all kind of drinks. Free wi-fi Internet is also available around. Thought, not selling gear anymore...
Vijzelgracht 47, 1017 HP Amsterdam
Very little basement club, just downstairs from the sidewalk, don't bump your head. Not a tourist place (what is also good for tourists of course!), but a quite friendly crew, stuff at little prices.
Vijzelgracht 33, 1017 HN Amsterdam
The first coffeeshop in Amsterdam ever, a smoking reminder of 70s, still an enjoyeable break from the packed tourist places in the centre.
Leidseplein 17, 1017 PS Amsterdam
Bulldog bar (up-stairs) and coffeeshop (basement) is a famous attraction at the Leidseplein, often visited by large organized groups of tourists.
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 77-79, 1017 PW Amsterdam
Almost at the Leidseplein, this is the Internet coffeeshop, but also has a bar and pool tables.
Oudebrugsteeg 16, 1012 RD Amsterdam
A spacious touristy coffeeshop just off Damrak towards red lights, with a terrace in summer, plus a bar and restaurant upstairs.
Haarlemmerstraat 102 | website
Coffeeshop Betty Boop
Nieuwezijds Kolk 12
Coffeeshop Blue Bird
St. Antonibreestraat 71
Coffeeshop Coin and The Sower
Cum Laude Coffeeshop
Coffeeshop De Kuil
Oudebrugsteeg 27 | website
Coffeeshop Dutch Flowers
Coffeeshop Fatal Flower
Coffeeshop Free Adam
Oude hoogstraat 13 | website
Coffeeshop Front Page
Coffeeshop Global Chillage
Kerkstraat 51 | website
Coffeeshop Greenhouse center
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 191
Coffeeshop Greenhouse effect
Coffeeshop Greenhouse II
Coffeeshop Grey Area
Oude Leliestraat 2
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 87a
Prins Hendrikkade 11
Jolly Joker Coffee Shop
Nieuwmarkt 4A | Phone: +31 (20) 625-1227
Coffeeshop La Canna
Coffeeshop Machu Picchu
Oude Schans 134
Coffeeshop The Noon
Zieseniskade 22 | website
Coffeeshops Tweede kamer
Amsterdam Coffeeshop Directory
The most comprehensive web site on coffeeshops in Amsterdam.