The Coffeeshop World of Amsterdam
If you think this blog post is about the best coffee in Amsterdam, then you need to adjust your thinking to a local definition of a coffee shop. The Dutch coffee shops might serve you coffee, but usually you would come there to buy or smoke some weed. And you might mistakenly think that having a joint is legal in Amsterdam, but the truth is that it’s just tolerated by local authorities. Yes, you are allowed to buy and use soft drugs here and coffeeshops are fine to sell them to you, but technically it’s illegal for them to buy cannabis from the growers. Let’s dive into the mysterious world of coffee shops and learn more about the whole culture around it.
So what is allowed?
As a tourist aged 18 and above you are more than welcome in any of Amsterdam coffeeshops and you can buy up to 5 grams of cannabis per day. You can peacefully smoke it inside the place where you got it or anywhere outside, as long as it doesn’t disturb other people and is not close to schools or playgrounds. As you see, the main rule of the city is “Your freedom ends where my freedom begins.” So even when you’re stoned and can’t walk any more, be respectful and polite.
Don’t expect to combine a joint with a beer in a coffeeshop, as all of them have “no alcohol” policy. If you a tobacco smoker or don’t like your weed pure, then you will have to smoke in a separate smoking area due to the tobacco smoking ban in Holland. One way or another, there is no better place to enjoy soft drugs than Amsterdam, and the proof of this is 35% of all Amsterdam tourists who end up in a coffeeshop.
Which coffeeshop to choose
The constant law changes and attempts to criminalize cannabis in the Netherlands has hugely affected the amount of coffeeshops in Amsterdam. Hopefully 155 of still existing ones will be enough for your nice stay in the city. Which one to choose, when the variety of coffeeshops is so overwhelming? As you imagine, some of them have cooler vibe, others -higher quality weed, awesome interior or even great food for your munchies. So here is our subjective top 3 coffeeshops in Amsterdam:
Down a narrow alley, Abraxas attracts lots of tourists by its large weed menu, friendly staff and unique dream-like interior. The atmosphere is quite laid back and chilled there, while the product is of a fine quality.
There are 2 Dampkrings in Amsterdam, so make sure to choose the original one with its unforgettable visual experience, great marijuana selection and cozy vibe. This coffeeshop design is worth a visit by itself.
This coffeeshop welcomes you with its dark wooden interior and super friendly and knowledgeable personnel. Loved by locals, 420 Café shows nature documentaries, offers free vaporizers and serves good weed.
Get high but be smart
Whether you have smoked cannabis before or not, you have to keep in mind that the stuff is strong in Amsterdam and it can hit you hard. So don’t hesitate to ask questions in a coffeeshop, especially when it comes to the effect and strength of the weed you’re buying. And please, do follow the instructions given, as very often tourists underestimate the quality of the local product and smoke too much of it. In case you feel adventurous or don’t like smoking, but want to get high, be very careful with space cakes. Although they look cool and promising, and you don’t feel it for a long time after eating, be patient and don’t eat more than written on a tiny manual that comes with it. We don’t want to preach, but we want you to have a good time in Amsterdam, that’s why we recommend taking it easy with soft drugs here. You didn’t come to this marvelous city to have a bad trip, so don’t buy stuff from the street, get your weed from good coffeeshops, smoke it there and know your limits.
There is a big difference between a coffeeshop and a smartshop, as the last one sells magic truffles to you (what used to be magic mushrooms before). They are hallucinogenic and have a stronger and longer effect on you. But that’s a completely different story, so don’t rush and start with a visit to a coffeeshop instead. And if you’re really into weed and all the culture, then don’t forget about the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam in November! But no matter what, please don’t smoke in the hotel rooms!
This post is also available in: Dutch