Coffeeshops in Amsterdam
The idea of ‘coffeeshops’ was introduced in the 1970s for the explicit purpose of keeping hard and soft drugs separated. This idea was put in effect in 1976 with an amendment to the Dutch Opium Act that made a clear distinction between the two categories.
With regard to the category soft drugs a gedoogbeleid (tolerance policy) applies. An official set of guidelines tells public prosecutors under which circumstances offenders should not be prosecuted. It is a more official version of the common practice in other countries, in which law enforcement sets priorities as to which offenses are important enough to spend limited resources on. An often used argument is that alcohol, which is a hard drug, is legal and a soft drug such as cannabis can't be more dangerous to society.
Cannabis remains illegal in the Netherlands and both possession and production for personal use are still misdemeanors, technically punishable by fine,. However, a policy of non-enforcement has led to a situation where reliance upon non-enforcement has become common, and because of this the courts have ruled against the government when individual cases were prosecuted.
How Coffeeshops works
Coffeeshops are allowed to sell a maximum of five grams of cannabis per person to their customers, providing said customers can present identification to show that they are over 18 years old. This can be quite strict in many coffeeshops, so be prepared to prove your age, even if you haven't been carded for years back home.
Other restrictions apply under Amsterdam's drug laws, such as the fact that it is not allowed to sell alcohol and cannabis products on the same premises. Since 2008 the introduction of the tobacco ban has made it illegal to smoke this dangerous substance in anyone's workplace. Pure cannabis joints may still be smoked as normal, as may bongs, pipes and joints made with the special 'herbal smoking mixtures' provided by some coffeeshops. Many coffeeshops also have a sealed 'smoking area' in order to allow customers to smoke joints containing tobacco. No coffeeshops permit the use of hard drugs and you will find yourself ejected quite quickly should you try to test this.
May 8 - Cannabis Liberation Day
For the third time, the Society for the Abolishment of Cannabis Prohibition (VOC) will organize the ‘Cannabis Bevrijdingsdag’ in Westerpark, Amsterdam. Event will be with Dutch and international acts, artists, bands and speakers, a large market and the yearly Cannabis Film Festival.
High Times Cannabis Cup
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.
Barney’s, the renowned winner of multiple “High Times Cup” awards, is now Amsterdam’s most original and futuristic coffeeshop.
Coffeeshop Global Chillage
Opened in 1994, Global Chillage is a chill-out lounge with a strong ambient vibe and murals by Sander and Chaos and a shop stocking 8 types of weed and 20 kinds of hash complete the laid-back feel for the relaxed, artistic crowd drawn by the psychedelic trance sounds.
Established in 1996, this temple located in the heart of Amsterdam, is the place of choice for visitors from all over the globe. Our shop is uniquely decorated in a mix of styles based on Hindu and Nepali artwork, and a surprising mix of music styles guarantees the perfect ambiance to relax and chill out Atmosphere.
Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 41
Coffeeshop Choice Exact
Located on a busy tourist street off the Dam square, this old-style coffeeshop is suitable also for groups who like drink beers while paying pool or table football.
Oude Hoogstraat 9
little basement club, just downstairs from the sidewalk, don't bump your head. A quite friendly crew, stuff at little prices.
Coffeeshop The Doors
One for fans of the old rock group. Doors call this location their whiskey bar.
More from Amsterdam