A coffeeshop in Amsterdam: not for coffee

Although most “coffeeshops” do serve coffee, they offer a far wider range of products than you are probably used to.

The rules: A lot people think that drugs are legal in the Netherlands, but this is not true. The Dutch law prohibits the sale and possession of drugs, but the sale and use of soft-drugs (drugs with limited effects and risks – hashish and marijuana) is tolerated (ie. not prosecuted) within some general rules. Since 1st of December sale of mushrooms has been banned.

These are the main rules regarding buying soft-drugs:

  1. You can only buy soft-drugs in coffeshops and smartshops
  2. You must be over 18 to enter a coffeeshop
  3. You can buy a maximum of 5 grams at a time (for personal use)

Technically you are allowed to smoke soft-drugs anywhere you are allowed to smoke, but in most public spaces this will not be appreciated. The best places to smoke are the coffeeshops and the Vondelpark (if the weather holds up). Because of the Dutch smoking ban, staff is not allowed to serve you in the smoking areas in the shops. Following the smoking ban, smoking is prohibited in all short stay apartments in Amsterdam.


  • The combination of the legalization of soft-drugs and the agricultural history of the Netherlands have led to the Dutch marijuana being very strong. Get advice from the people behind the counter, they know what they are talking about and will be very happy to explain dosage and the effects of all their different products to you.
  • Watch out with “space-cake” and “special” teas, it can take 30 minutes to an hour to have an effect, so do not have more unless you absolutely know what you are doing. Some people suggest drinking sugared water or cola if you feel sick.
  • Do not buy any drugs on the street, it is dangerous, illegal and will be prosecuted.
  • Remember to take any drugs you have left out of your luggage when travelling to any other country. Even on trains and busses your bags can be checked.
  • All Amsterdam Apartment Rentals, Canal Suites, Penthouses and Flats and Amsterdam hotel rooms are required by law to be non-smoking.
  • Use of drugs in Perfect Visit Amsterdam apartment rentals is strictly forbidden.

Want to know more about soft-drugs? Located in the middle of the Red Light District The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum offers a year-round exhibition on this remarkable plant, its history and use. In the Netherlands Thanksgiving is not an official holiday, but every year in this week a much wider celebrated event takes place: the Cannabis Cup. It is a 5 day festival, during which new items and products will be showed and Amsterdam’s best coffeeshops submit their top-products to the contest.

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