Coffeeshops [different than coffee shops or cafes] are where you can go to purchase and smoke cannabis. Here I broke down the FAQ’s of visiting Coffeeshops in the Netherlands and what to expect.
Is It Legal?
Cannabis falls into a ‘grey zone’ of legality, especially for the business side of it. It is illegal for coffeeshops to purchase cannabis so they have to get creative. It is also technically still illegal to use cannabis, however, it is safe for the responsible consumer as long as you do not carry large amounts with you. Like, really REALLY safe.
Now, this is not necessarily the case for all of The Netherlands, but primarily Amsterdam and the surrounding Holland region.
So, Is there really Coffee?
While not all coffeeshops take pride in their actual coffee selection and quality, they typically had coffee available. In addition, they also had small snacks and drinks for purchase. Bringing in your own is strictly prohibited by law as is the sell of alcohol. I found a simple cappuccino to be the best choice during the day and bottled water by night.
How do I find Coffeeshops?
The styles and feels of coffeeshops greatly vary. It IS illegal for the coffeeshops to advertise for cannabis so sometimes it can be hard to know when you are near one. In Amsterdam, they are everywhere. As you extend further away from Amsterdam they get fewer and fewer. In some places in The Netherlands, they don’t even exist.
Besides wandering and asking around, searching on google should help you to find some results. My favorite coffeeshop that I visited was called Culture Boat. It was on a boat, on a canal in Utrecht. Cool, Right?
Are there Locals or only Tourists?
After a few conversations, I concluded that Dutch people from Amsterdam pride themselves on not smoking and would often tell me that it is only tourists. If you read my post on Utrecht you will see that is not the case. In fact, I was often the only tourist in these coffeeshops.
How do I…Buy It?
First off, you should only buy cannabis from coffeeshops, not from individuals. Second, ensure that you have your passport or ID with you. Each coffeeshop will have a menu of their options along with knowledgeable people working. You can typically select from buying the flower or buying prerolled joints.
As an American, I find it interesting that most of the world typically smokes tobacco and cannabis joints rather than pure cannabis. Smoke shops in the USA always sell pure cannabis joints and that is what your average smoker would smoke. Some coffeeshops offered cannabis only joints but most were mixed with tobacco.
I like buying prerolled joints but you can get rolling paper and filters in all of the smoke shops as well. Many of the smoke shops also have edibles you can purchase in a variety of options.
The coffeeshop culture is a cool thing to experience while you are in The Netherlands, even if you just go there to have a cappuccino and observe. You can come and socialize with your friends, catch up on work/school work, read a book, or just relax on your own.
Let me know in the comments below if you would ever consider visiting a coffeeshop in the Netherlands and WHY. Have any other questions, list them and I would be happy to answer them for you.