If there’s one thing Amsterdam is notorious for among young and older tourists alike is the relaxed attitude to drugs and most commonly marijuana. However despite this ‘relaxed attitude’ there are preconceived rules and laws that are not shared among visitors, often leaving tourists either in legal trouble or struggling to experience the coffeeshop phenomenon to its full potential. Read our guide and tips to coffeeshops and weed purchasing in Amsterdam to make the most of your trip, if that’s your cup of tea… or coffee.
Whilst some of the coffee-shops selling marijuana in Amsterdam are popular tourist attractions such as the infamous Bulldog and Abraxas, we found a more quiet and discreet shop which was hosting locals at the time. We were both pretty oblivious when it came to buying weed over the counter, but the shop assistant in Kadinsky was extremely helpful, explaining all our options and helping us purchase what we would like to try. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone visiting Amsterdam and trying out the coffee shop scene for the first time, it was very small and cosy inside, the staff were friendly and helpful, and all other customers were peaceful and discrete.
The Hazy Law Of Cannabis In Amsterdam
Coffeeshops in Amsterdam are an important part of the city's tourism, with 25-30% of visitors will spend time in one, but they are by Netherlands law, still illegal. Instead coffeshops have to adhere to a grey area of law and are instead given permits to trade. Whilst cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands, the authority will turn a blind eye if it less than 5g, so bear this in mind when purchasing in the capital.
Although the coffeeshop trade brings in money for amsterdam, there have been government backing which has seen closures of such establishments, including the scheme in which coffeshops within 250m of schools were closed, which becomes a controversial topic when people question the safety of bars in such proximity.
Whilst there are still 175 coffeeshops in Amsterdam, opposers of the blurred lines of cannabis laws are protesting for more transparent laws and legalisation to remove the confusion for both coffeeshop owners and tourists that are unaware of the vague restrictions.
When it comes to weed in Amsterdam there are some 'rules' and tips you should know beforehand:
Top Coffeeshops In Amsterdam
The only coffeeshop we visited in Amsterdam, I would definitely recommend this place for their friendly staff and as it was mostly occupied by dutch locals, in which we felt more comfortable instead of being surrounded by giddy tourist.
There are two in Amsterdam;
Kadinsky Coffeeshop Rosmarijnsteeg and Kadinsky Coffeeshop Zoutsteeg
The oldest coffeeshop in Amsterdam, the first Bulldog was founded in 1974 and is so a landmark associated with weed in the dutch capital. Their coffeshops are extremely popular with tourists and they sell a range of souvenirs, encouraging the bulldog's iconic status.
There are multiple Bulldog's, to check them all out visit their website here.
Another tourist favourite, Abraxas is a more spacious coffeeshop tucked away on a narrow alley, with two floors for customers to lounge and various computers with internet access. Extensively decorated and serving a large menu, Abraxas is often very busy with tourists so time your visit wisely.
Abraxas is located south of Dam Square
Let us know your favourite places in Amsterdam and if you have any tips for trying the coffeeshops!