Drugs and Amsterdam (Amsterdrugs for dummies)

By Nads


Tourists usually have this idea of Amsterdam and drugs, that pretty much cracks me up every time I hear them. So, this is what I’m going to do; I’m going to take the most popular statements and misconceptions people have over drugs in Amsterdam, and give you the actual facts behind them. Starting with the most famous and working my way down to the interesting facts that some Dutch people don’t even know.

Yes, after you read this article you would be able to impress your friends on how much you actually know about the drugs in Amsterdam…. So pay attention!



Ok here goes….


“Weed is legal in The Netherlands”

WRONG. Weed is in fact not legal in the Netherlands. It is just allowed by the local authorities. Here’s why: The Dutch government figured that if they allowed soft drug substances like weed, which are less harmful to your system and is easier to quit

(unlike cocaine and heroin), it would give them a better fighting chance against the more harmful and addictive hard drugs like heroin, cocaine and LSD. This way they save more money, and instead of fighting against regular cannabis users, which are less harmful to society, they can actually put all their time and money into the real screwed up druggies who are passed out and dying in the streets. The Dutch are clever people, aren’t they…


“Does everybody smoke weed there?”

Picture this scenario: Your mom says you can’t have any candy. But when she’s not looking, you steal some out of the jar/cupboard…whatever. The only reason you do that is because your mom said you can’t have any candy right? (And maybe it’s because you’re a sugar addict or something, it depends…). That’s basically the same thing in The Netherlands. It’s not forbidden, it’s not frowned upon, so where’s the fun in doing it? I have to say though, every Dutch person I’ve met have smoked weed once or twice in their life, but as I said, it’s not a big deal to them. Unlike kids in other countries, who has to wait till the whole neighborhood is cleared out so no one would smell the smoke, and with the first noise they hear they run for cover (which either leads to a bloody nose because they ran into the wall, or it’s a false alarm and they cant stop laughing about it for the next 2 hours).


“You can smoke joints everywhere and you won’t get caught”

Hmm…. Yes, you can smoke joints on the street, but only if you know you can handle it (remember, Dutch weed is a bit stronger than some in other countries). Also if you try to light one up in a bar or restaurant, the staff would ask you to put it out. The agreement is that you may only have 5 grams of weed on you at any time and you have to be over 18. If you are caught with more than 5 grams, you will probably be fined a few hundred Euros. Coffeeshops are also limited to sell only 5 grams to each person over the age of 18. This however doesn’t stop you from going to a few coffeeshops and buying 5 grams from each of them (that would be a pretty stupid idea though).



Some facts that will make you sound like a cannabis expert, next time you talk with your friends:

  • The first coffeeshop was opened in 1975 by a guy named Henk de Vries, and it was called The Bulldog.
  • In The Netherlands, you can grow up to 5 plants at home for your own personal use. Selling it is forbidden though.
  • The average price for a bag of 1 gram is about EURO 6-7.
  • Coffeeshops are not allowed to sell alcohol on the premises anymore. However, there are two remaining coffeeshops that do: Nescafe and Dampkring.
  • DO NOT eat more than one space cake. It takes a while for the cake to work its way into your system, so some people take two slices. You can find those people streaking across the Damrak at 3 am tomorrow morning.
  • Coffeeshops can’t promote their brands, have websites or have more than 500 grams on their premises.
  • They are planning on closing coffeeshops near schools and suburban areas (which is already happening in Rotterdam). This will probably mean a big improvement for the school math department. For example: “If I have a 20 minute break, how much time will it take me to get to the coffeeshop and back, and still have enough time to roll my joint and smoke it too….hmmmm”.
  • The chemicals in weed are known as cannabinoids which includes delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and that is responsible for getting you high. Right, now try saying tetrahydrocannabinol 10 times.


So that’s pretty much the basic facts about weed in Amsterdam. If you would like to know more, well, there’s a coffeeshop with your name on it.



Here is a short yet valuable list of Amsterdam prominent coffee shops. You are welcome to knock yourself out…


Abraxas Coffeeshop

Address: Jonge Roelensteeg 12-14

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6255 763

e-mail: abraxas@abraxas.tv

website: www.abraxas.tv


Baba Coffeeshop

Address: Warmoesstraat 64

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6241 409

website: www.babashops.com



Address: Haarlemmerstraat 102

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6259 761

e-mail: info@barneys.biz

website: www.barneys.biz


The Bulldog

Address: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 90

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6259 864

e-mail: bullmail@bulldog.nl

website: www.bulldog.nl



Address: Handboogstraat 29

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6380 705

website: www.dampkring.nl


The Dolphins

Address: Kerkstraat 39

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6259 162

e-mail: info@thedolphinscoffeeshop.com


The Doors

Address: Singel 14

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6263 900

Website: www.coffeeshopthedoors.com


Dread Rock

Address: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 67

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6383 534

e-mail: info@dreadrock.demon.nl

website: www.dreadrock.demon.nl


Greenhouse Centrum

Address: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 191

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6271 732

e-mail: info@greenhouse.org

website: www.greenhouse.org


Grey Area

Address: Oude Leliestraat 2

Tel: 0031 (0)20 4204 301

e-mail: chiefs@greyarea.nl

website: www.greayarea.nl


Hill Street Blues

Address: Warmoesstraat 52 a

e-mail: chsb52a@xs4all.nl

website: www.hill-street-blues.nl


De Kuil (420 Café)

Address: Ouderbrugsteeg 27

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6234 848

Website: www.420cafe.com



Nes Café

Address: Nes 33

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6234250

e-mail: info@nes-cafe.nl

website: www.nes-cafe.nl



The Other Place

Address: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 141

Tel: 0031 (0)20 638576

e-mail: theotherplace@flexnet.nl

website: www.flexnet.nl/~theotherplace


De Rokerij

Address: Lange Leidesedwarsstraat 41

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6229442

e-mail: info@rokerij.net

website: www.rokerij.net/coffieshop/leidsestraat


The Rookies Bar

Address: Korte Leidsedwarsstraat

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6390978

e-mail: mark@rookies.nl

website: www.rookies.nl



Address: Rusland 16

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6279468

website: www.channels.nl/amsterdam/rusland.html


Sheeba Coffeeshop

Address: Warmoesstraat 73

Tel: 0031 (0)20 51231270

website: www.sheeba.nl


Stones Café

Address: Warmoesstraat 91

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6241406

website: www.stonescafe.nl


La Tertulia

Address: Prinsengracht 312

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6238503

Website: www.coffeeshopamsterdam.com


The Bushdoctor

Address: Thorbeckeplein 28

Tel: 0031 (0)20 3307475


La Canna

Address: Nieuwedijk 123-125

Tel: 0031 (0)20 4284482

website: www.lacanna.nl/en/


Global Chillage

Address: Kerkstraat 51

Tel: 0031 (0)20 6391154

Website: www.globalchillage.com


Pink Floyd

Address: Haarlemmerstraat 44

e-mail: ummagumma@pinkfloyd.nl

website: www.pinkfloyd.nl