Amsterdam Coffeeshops Guide

amsterdam coffeeshop smokey outside seating

There are psychedelic, hipster-ish, for locals, touristic places ... You can find some examples categorised at the bottom of this page. Most of them are located in the Red Light District.

Amsterdam coffeeshop rules

  • You must be 18 or older (21 years old in some establishments) 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. However if a coffeeshop has outdoor seating it is often okay to smoke cigarettes there.
  • The use of hard drugs is strictly forbidden.
  • You must not cause any nuisance.

Atmosphere in Amsterdam coffeshops

Amsterdam coffeeshops 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.

Ban on public marijuana smoking of 2023

The ban is in effect from May 2023 in the public areas of Dam Square, Red Light District, Damrak and Nieuwenmarkt. It is still possible to smoke cannabis outdoors on coffeeshops terraces. But if you are caught smoking freely on the street you will be penalized with 100 euro. This law is trying to calm down disorder in touristic areas.

Amsterdam Pass

Visiting Amsterdam is easier and cheaper with a "City Pass".
With one card you can go to most tourist destinations without other tickets.
Comparison of Amsterdam city passes and discount cards.

What to do in Amsterdam while being high

Most of the coffeeshops are in the touristic part of Amsterdam old town. And so are most of the attractions. Here is a list of some recommended Amsterdam attractions to explore when enjoying marijuana consumption.

  • Hemp Museum - Museum about hemp plant use for industrial, recreational, artistic and spiritual purposes.
  • Amsterdam Dungeon - A horror theater show, where you get to experience short performances accompanied by sound, smell and light effects while walking through a dungeon.
  • Body Worlds - Disected bodies of real people serve to illustrate detailed human anatomy.
  • Canal cruise - A boat ride through the canals of Amsterdam is a must when there.
  • Heineken Experience - There are many interesting things to see in an old Heineken brewery.
  • Amsterdam Lookout - See the whole city. There is a restaurant there too.

Basic smoking tips

A general rule of thumb is that more expensive cannabis is stronger. For inexperienced smokers 1 gram will get you high about 8 times. You can mix the cannabis with tobacco and roll it into a joint. You can also roll a joint from pure marijuana but it will be strong and you will most likely get so stoned that you will not even enjoy it. The advice is to start slow.

Also don't smoke marijuana after drinking more then just a little alcohol. If you mix alcohol and marijuana there is a large risk of being very high and sick and needing to vomit.

Amsterdam marijuana laws

Due to the allowance of cannabis consumption and sex work, the Netherlands are reputed to be a very liberal country. This is true but you should be aware of the Dutch laws and the rules inside a coffee shop.

  • Possession of drugs is punishable, but with a maximum of 5 grams of weed or hash the police will just take 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 grams) 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.

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 smartshops, 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 a tolerated 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.

These days, an agreement between Amsterdam city council and the coffeeshop union Bond van Cannabis Detaillisten (BCD) allows coffee shops to operate in a tricky legal loophole and they are tolerated. An official green and white sticker must be displayed in the window of each Dutch coffeeshop.

How to order weed in an Amsterdam coffeeshop

Amsterdam coffee shops are not allowed to make any advertising but you will be able to identify them easily. Official Dutch coffee shops have a green and white licence sticker on the window.

To enter a coffeeshop in Amsterdam, you must be older than 18 years and have an ID.

Coffeeshops are not allowed to do any advertising so you will generally not find any details posted outside or inside. Just ask the person at the counter for the menu, and they'll give you what you pick. 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.

Amsterdam marijuana museum

If you would like to get more interesting information you can visit the Hash and Marihuana Museum in Amsterdam.


Many local residents of Dutch cities are unhappy by the amount of drug tourism. That is why some cities in the Netherlands, mostly in the southern part of the country, require you to have a "weedpass" to enter a coffeeshop. These are issued only to the residents of The Netherlands.

It is not like this in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam tourists are free to visit coffeeshops and buy cannabis. But there are voices trying to change that. So you better hurry if you plan to do some coffeeshops tourism.

Touristic Amsterdam coffeeshops

These places can get crowded, with a mix of locals, expats and tourists looking for a good time. Located close or in the center of the city these three coffeeshops have a good weed selection and a nice atmosphere.

Interesting design Amsterdam coffeeshops

Special décor, a different feel, a pool table. These locations offer much more than just weed and will transport you to far far away.

Chill and relaxed Amsterdam coffeeshops

These coffeeshops are a node to the relaxed vibe weed brings. With comfortable chairs, friendly staff and good tunes, these places are the ones to pass the hours away.

Amsterdam coffeeshops for youth

Lots of wild youngsters visit these places. Students, backpackers, artists, workers.. You might fit just in.