Amsterdam is a wonderful historic city. The city center and buildings are intact from the 1600’s and you really can get a feeling of what the city was like at that time. Amsterdam also boasts incredible museums like the Van Gogh Museum, an amazing collection of artwork from the artist’s family and personal collections.
Aside from the art and history, Amsterdam is also known for it’s coffee shops, where cannabis, marijuana and hashish, is sold openly. While not technically legal, these “soft drugs”are publicly sold at official, approved coffee shops, regulated by the government. As someone who has traveled to this wonderful city many times, here are some basic overall tips for dealing with the world of coffee shops. For the purposes of this article, “smoking” refers to smoking marijuana or hashish, not cigarettes.
Each shop features a menu, like a restaurant menu, listing the various cannabis offerings, their pricing and usually their effects. Shops sell both marijuana, in the form of buds and flowers, and hashish, which is a solid, condensed form of the same plant.
The marijuana is rolled in joints (hand rolled cigarette) or smoked in a pipe, or mixed with tobacco in a hand rolled cigarette. The coffee shops provide rolling papers, pipes, even water pipes for smoking. The hashish is usually crumbled with tobacco into a joint, or hand rolled cigarette.
Ask For Help
Let the staff know what you seek. Do you want something light and fun or heavy to knock you out. Do you want to sit and vegetate or have a smoke then head out to explore the city. Try a small, local coffee shop instead of one of the large tourist-oriented ones.
We like De Dampkring (The Atmosphere) at Handboogstraat 29. They have an amazing selection of top shelf offerings, good food and drink and great music. The crowd is a good mix of locals and tourists and they will help make you feel good.
Be Careful With Edibles
Edibles are cookies, cakes, anything made with marijuana or hashish. This method is an alternative to smoking, but the effect can be quite different and sometimes much stronger. While overdose is not really possible, it’s much easier to overdo it and feel overwhelmed. Most coffee shops now do not sell edibles after tourists experienced problems.
Don’t Smoke On The Street
The coffee shop system was created to provide a place to smoke. Do not smoke as you walk down the street, or in public. Do not smoke in normal shops or restaurants, only places designated as such. Police will stop you. And don’t smoke while driving, it’s considered the same as drunk driving.
Don’t Smoke In Your Hotel
Smoking should be done in a coffee shop. The other guests in your hotel, which may include families and children, do not need to be exposed to it. There are some youth hostels and party hotels who may have a different policy, so check in advance.
Don’t Take Anything With You
Just like you know Amsterdam is home to legal drugs, border guards and customs officers know this as well. Trains leaving Amsterdam are frequently searched with drug dogs, as are cars and buses, so do not take any herbal souvenirs with you. If you are flying out of Amsterdam, don’t even think about it. Party and have fun and leave everything behind.
Don’t Buy Street Drugs
The coffee shop system was set up to make “soft” drugs safely available. Do not support the street drug trade by buying any drugs on the street. Only marijuana and hashish are quasi-legal here, not hard drugs like cocaine, ecstasy or her