Amsterdam Coffeeshops Guide
The following pages are for the purpose 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.
Amsterdam counts about 250 coffeeshops and most of them are located in the Red Light District. From psychedelic to hipster-ish but also from very local ones to more touristic places, each of Amsterdam coffeeshops has its own atmosphere. You will surely find one that suits you perfectly. They are not only to smoke weed. They are real social places where you can easily meet people and spend some good times with friends. Watching TV, playing chess or card games and much more can be done here. And always in a very relaxing way.
Due to the allowance of cannabis consumption, the Netherlands are very well reputed to be a very liberal country. This is true but you should be aware of the Dutch law and the rules inside a coffee shop.
Editors tip: Marijuana smoking friendly hostels in Amsterdam
The Netherlands have a special tolerance policy on soft drugs, but lets look at the laws:
- Possession of drugs is punishable, but with a maximum of 5 grams of cannabis (weed or hash) the police will just seize the drugs. 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. You can smoke weed only in Amsterdam coffeeshops
Amsterdam coffeeshop rules
When you enter a coffee shop there are few rules you should be aware of:
- You must be 18 or older (21 years old in some establishment) and always have your passport or ID with you.
- You are allowed to come twice a day maximum to the same coffee shop
- You can buy maximum 5 grams per day
- Alcohol and cigarettes are forbidden
- You must not cause any nuisance
- The use of hard drugs is strictly forbidden
History of coffeeshops in Amsterdam
Amsterdam coffee shops, not to be confused with cafés, have been a part of the city 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, Amsterdam coffeeshops have always existed in a legal grey area.
Everything started in the 70's with the growing hippy community. Weed and hashish were illegal at that time, but places like the Paradiso or the Melkweg were famous to have great artists playing and people would enjoy some good music there while sharing a joint. That's how in those music places we could find some house dealers. The dealers were though tolerated to do their business inside the houses.
In 1972, the first coffee shop opened its doors: the Mellow Yellow. At that time, the place was called a "tea house" and it was the only place where you could buy and smoke weed in an almost legal way. In fact, even if regarding to the Dutch law consuming cannabis was forbidden, the explosion of hard drugs such as heroin and the fast increasing amount of their users led the government and the police agreed that tolerating soft drugs would keep people away from the hard ones.
The owner of the Mellow Yellow - Wernerd - did a great bet with his business. He had no idea it was going to become so popular and then even a part of the Dutch history and culture.
Today, through agreement with the coffeeshop union Bond van Cannabis Detaillisten (BCD), Amsterdam City Council allows coffee shops to operate with the provision of set, non-transferable licences shown by the display of an official, green and white sticker in the window.
How to order weed in an Amsterdam coffeeshop
You’ll find about 200 coffeeshops in Amsterdam, so there is always one close to your location. Although Amsterdam 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 the coffeeshops in Amsterdam, you must be 18 or over and have an ID. Since coffeeshops 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.
Some tips: Tips and hints for buying marijuana and cannabis from Amsterdam coffee shops.
One of the major events for Amsterdam coffee shops is the Unity Cup, which takes place towards the end of November, during the week of Thanksgiving. This major smoking event usually leads to Amsterdam coffee shops crawls and cannabis clouds throughout the city.
Up to 19 November 2012, many of the coffeeshops 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 Amsterdam coffee shops and buy some weed.
Royal Queen Seeds
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 shipping to the whole european union.
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.
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 77-79, 1017 PW Amsterdam
Almost at the Leidseplein, this is the Internet coffeeshop, but also has a bar and pool tables.
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.
Oudebrugsteeg 27, 1012 JN Amsterdam
Laid back coffee shop with a pub atmosphere, friendly staff and a very central placement. Alternative music and David Attenborough documentaries help make this a place to spend all day in.
Warmoesstraat 64, 1012 JH Amsterdam
Energetic tourist coffee shop in a great site on the edge of the Red Light District. Loud music and large windows make this a place for people watching rather than conversation.
Rembrandtplein 24, 1017 CV Amsterdam
Busy, neon-lit tourist coffee shop set on the teeming tourist and nightlife centre of Rembrantplein. Pool tables and a nice menu make up for the touristy feel and cheesy music.
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 145 - 147, 1017 PZ Amsterdam
A unique coffeeshop and hotel just off Leidseplein. Lively crowd of tourists, expats and locals, with a publike atmosphere and a large smoking lounge.
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.
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.
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.
Nieuwmarkt 16, 1012 CR Amsterdam
With a more welcoming atmosphere than its sister 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.
Kerkstraat 39, 1017 GB Amsterdam
Lively and smoke-friendly cafe conveniently near Leidsplein. Coffee, beer, all kind of drinks. Free wi-fi Internet is also available around. Thought, not selling gear anymore...
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.
Huidenstraat 13a, 1016 ER Amsterdam
Friendly little underground coffee shop found in the Nine Streets shopping area. Stop in here for a smoke and a chat when you can’t take any more retail therapy.
Haarlemmerstraat 6, 1013 ER Amsterdam
Modern coffee shop in a classic Dutch building on the corner of Singel and Haarlemmerstraat close to Central Station. The upstairs is deceptively spacious with room for reasonably large groups, as long as you get there first. Pablow Picasso opens early for morning people.
Reguliersdwarsstraat 6, 1017 BM Amsterdam
Stylish, popular coffee shop on the edge of Amsterdam’s gay district. The Otherside is just a stroll from the Rembrantplein nightlife area, the Flower Market and Amsterdam’s most popular shopping streets.
Elandsgracht 3, 1016 TM Amsterdam
Tiny takeaway coffee shop in the Jordaan with lovely staff, a decent selection and reasonable prices. Stop in for a pit stop in sight seeing, or pick up supplies for a day of wandering the picturesque canals nearby.
The Original Dampking Amsterdam
Movie experts or Brad Pitt's fans, you're going to like the original Dampking Amsterdam coffee shop. This coffee shop has become famous because of the movie "Ocean 12": a scene has been filmed in this coffee shop. This Original Dampking has a very friendly and cozy atmosphere. No matter if you are used or not to cannabis, local or tourist, everyone meets at the Original Dampking and feels very welcome. Located in the city center, the place is quite big and has a great deco.
Opening hours: Everyday from 10 am to 1 am
Address: Handboogstraat 29, 1012 XM Amsterdam
The Kadinsky is a very small but very nice coffee shop in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. A lot of expats and Dutch people are meeting at Kadinsky as it has that special friendly-talkative-atmosphere that makes you stay for hours and enjoy some nice conversations with people. We advise you to go there quite early as the capacity of the place is pretty little, or to wait until Sunday night, when it becomes quieter. Don't forget to order their hot chocolate. Delicious!
Opening hours: Everyday from 10am to 1am
Address: Rosmarijnsteeg 9, 1012 RP Amsterdam