Are coffeeshops only for tourists?
Whilst you may get the impression that the coffee shops are only for tourists, the Dutch definitely enjoy the occasional joint.
There are coffee shops not only in the tourist hotspots of Amsterdam, but in all cities and most small towns. They are still something that pique the interest of tourists and can be an interesting stopover in the cold months of winter.
After all, they were one of the first places you could buy weed and hash without running the risk of getting arrested in the world! (No, they are not legal, just decriminalized).
What Coffee shops sell
Coffee shops don’t sell alcohol, or offer hard drugs. Those are as illegal in the Netherlands as any other country.
Due to strict tobacco laws, the joints that you smoke inside the coffee shop can’t contain any tobacco.
Some things to note
- You do not actually have to smoke weed inside a coffee shop. If you just want to go in, drink a cup of coffee and take in the vibe, that’s okay.
- If you don’t want to smoke but want to try an edible instead, listen to what the person behind the counter says! If they say ‘only eat one’ then don’t think after 45 minutes ‘oh, it’s not working, I’ll have another one’. They take a long time to take effect and the only way to un-eat is both messy and unpleasant.
- You’re okay smoking in designated places. Your hotel room rarely qualifies as such.
- Biking in Amsterdam is organized chaos. If you don’t know how it works, it can be dangerous even when sober. So, don’t smoke a joint first!