Rolling up to a café, or koffiehuis, and simply asking for a joint won’t get you very far in Amsterdam. Get a hit of Culture Trip’s recommendations for where to find marijuana in the Dutch city…
Amsterdam shares a long history with cannabis, and against all odds, has come to accept the little green plant as a permanent resident. This tumultuous relationship has often revolved around the city’s iconic ‘coffeeshops’ – smokey cafés where cannabis can be exchanged legally. These establishments are spread throughout the city, with most of their numbers concentrated inside of De Wallen.
First things first, you can only buy cannabis at a coffeeshop. It’s important to remember that it’s considered poor etiquette to smoke a joint on a regular café terrace or in other public places – especially restaurants where food is being consumed.
If it’s your first time trying marijuana, take it slow. The effects of cannabis can take some time to kick in, and you’ll want to pace yourself. Don’t smoke half a joint, assume it hasn’t worked, and then finish it – you could be in for a rude awakening if you’re not used to being high. If smoking isn’t for you, try a space cake (but remember that they take effect even more slowly).
To help you navigate the city’s countless coffeeshops, here’s the Culture Trip edit of some its more memorable cannabis vendors. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff at these venues for help, as they tend to be very knowledgeable and can help you with whatever type of high you’re looking for.
Coffee Shop, European, $$$
Located along the Herengracht, this coffeeshop is one long room with the feel of a Las Vegas nightclub in smaller, cosier form. A cushy leather booth runs along the wall up to a bar with deep purple hues. Not only do they offer an extensive weed menu, but it’s the food menu that will keep you here all day. Sweet treats like waffles and pancakes are superb, but the milkshakes are what you shouldn’t leave without trying.
While this coffeeshop has multiple locations, the easiest for tourists to find is on Utrechtsestraat, just off the Herengracht canal. Here, employees wear white dress shirts, suspenders, and black bow ties serving marijuana mostly to grab-and-go. Upstairs, you’ll find an intimate smoking area with leather chairs that can get rather crowded at times. Boerejongens has won multiple cannabis awards, and the staff are incredibly knowledgeable about its offerings. The establishment looks like that of a pharmacy: clean, bright and with an almost medical quality to it. The menu is comprehensive, to say the least, as they work with Amsterdam Genetics.
Located near Rembrandthuis, this coffeeshop is relaxed and unpretentious, though it is by no means basic. Paintings and murals, many with birds, greet customers along with green hues and ivy, making you feel as if you’ve just entered the jungle. There are numerous places to chill out and pass a few hours with a good high; staff are friendly and won’t rush you. The menu is diverse, with imported items as well as the typical pre-rolled joints and space cakes.
This coffeeshop in the south of Amsterdam is frequented by locals, which means prices are much more reasonable, and the Van der Helstplein Square, where it’s located, is full of cafés and restaurants packed with locals enjoying time out of their busy day. A black wall painted with blue butterflies greets you outside before you’re welcomed into a fairly modern, monochromatic space with grey walls and couches. Tip: In most coffeeshops, smoking tobacco is prohibited, but at Papillon there is a glass-enclosed smoking room.
Found in Amsterdam-Oost near Flevopark, The Stud is also full of locals, which means affordable prices. They work with Amsterdam Genetics, so the weed quality is superb. The venue now has a digital menu with a touch screen in which you can get all the information you need about what’s on offer, and in multiple languages. While most people come here to take out, there is an area with comfortable, black leather couches in which customers can smoke and order drinks.
Though it’s right next to the Centraal train station, one of the busiest areas in Amsterdam, this coffeeshop is on a quiet corner of the Geldersekade canal. Not only that, but it doubles as a reasonably priced hotel as well. While the decor is quite sparse, you’ll find that the space invader character from the old arcade game features quite prominently on just about everything. The cannabis quality is very high, making it popular with experts on smoking the green stuff. Tip: If you’re in need of a place to stay, the hotel has great prices given its central location.
Housed just on the edge of the Oude Pijp neighborhood, this coffeeshop is surrounded by trendy restaurants, cafés, bars and people. If you’re looking for an area outside of the tourism hotspot that is still lively, this is the place to come to. A bright blue facade, the color of the Mediterranean, asks customers to sit back, light one up and relax like they’re on an island vacation. The interior offers a casual feel with mismatched leather seating, clunky wood tables, and arbitrary vintage pieces not dissimilar to a college dorm room. You’ll even find an old pinball machine in the corner. Ibiza’s hashish menu has imports from Morocco, Nepal and India.
This contemporary coffeeshop can be found in the Oude Pijp on a quiet, residential street. Walking in you might think you had just entered a family-friendly café, thanks to its clean, simple decor. Yo-Yo is the perfect place to come if you’re new to the coffeeshop scene and want to step in one foot at a time rather than jumping into the deep end. The staff are extremely friendly and hospitable, as is the atmosphere. A unique selling point is the art gallery featured throughout, which shows work by local artists, and occasionally they offer classes.