10 Best Coffeeshops in Amsterdam

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam are not actually coffee shops they are legal places to smoke weed. If you want a coffee or a place to sit have a light lunch and a real coffee you need to find a Cafe. But if you head to Amsterdam to uncover the one-of-a-kind atmosphere of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam, these are cafes where you don’t eat or drink but smoke weed. Light up alone or with friends and go on a tour of coffeeshops in Amsterdam. Read on for the top ten smoking houses to visit and some essential information on Cannabis and CBD. 

I Am  Amsterdam sign - coffee shops in Amsterdam

We are Canadian and in Canada weed is legal. The legalization and regulation of cannabis began on October 17, 2018, when the Cannabis Act came into force.

Does Canada have medical Marijuana?

Medical cannabis use laws have been in effect in Canada since 2001. Patients using medical cannabis are allowed to have up to 150 grams or 30 times the daily dose prescribed by an authorized healthcare practitioner, of dried marijuana or its equivalent.

Vote yes to legalize Marijuana in Canada Sign - coffee shops in Amsterdam

When did medical weed become legal in Canada?

In 2001 the Canadian Courts rule Canadians have a constitutional right to use cannabis as a medicine.  Regulations grant legal access to cannabis for individuals with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. Authorized patients can grow their own pot or obtain it from authorized producers or Health Canada.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as cannabis or hemp. One specific form of CBD is approved as a drug in the U.S. for seizures. CBD does not contain THC and is used all over the world these days for many purposes from anti-seizures, arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease, Cancer Chemo treatment to suppress nausea, epilepsy and many other conditions.

coffeeshops in Amsterdam a poster for CBD oil

The general consensus from users is that CBD induces feelings of calmness. As an alternative to anti-anxiety medication, CBD reduces common anxiety symptoms such as racing thoughts, increased heart rate, and restlessness. Personally, we use CBD for arthritis and anxiety relief.

Weed in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the term coffeeshop has come to mean alcohol-free establishments where cannabis (weed, hash, marijuana) are sold and consumed. According to the Dutch Drug and Coffee Shop Law, Amsterdam coffee shops are licensed to sell small quantities of cannabis to adults over 18.

As for now, every person above 18 may enter a coffee shop. Your ID may be required to check your age.

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam

The Netherlands has a tolerance policy regarding the selling of cannabis (weed, hash, marijuana). Selling cannabis in coffee shops is illegal, but not punishable. That sounds strange of course, but the Dutch Drugs Law is the key to success in lowering crime. Coffeeshops in Amsterdam have to pay taxes and the authorities have a clear view of this market. In this way, it is easier to influence and control the sale of cannabis. Smoking cannabis is legal and people don’t have to buy drugs from dealers or criminals. In this way, also the quality of cannabis is guaranteed so that health risks are minimized.

There are 2 groups of drugs in the Netherlands: soft drugs such as weed, hash, and marijuana and hard drugs such as XTC, cocaine & heroin. Hard drugs are, as in many countries, forbidden in the Netherlands.

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam

Regulations for coffeeshops in Amsterdam

A coffeeshop has to follow a few rules regarding the selling of cannabis:

  • Not allowed to sell alcohol
  • No hard drug sales
  • No sales to anyone under the age of 18
  • Maximum of five grams of cannabis per person
  • Advertising drugs is not permitted

Because coffee shops are not allowed to advertise, you can recognize them on the Ethiopian flag (red-yellow-green), sometimes with a cannabis leaf on it. You are allowed to smoke weed in a coffee shop, but tobacco is forbidden because of the Dutch smoking ban.

The city of Amsterdam has a policy to maintain a small-scale coffee shop sector. Amsterdam can determine how many coffee shops are permitted to sell cannabis.

coffeeshops in Amsterdam a neon sign hangs over a coffeeshop where you can smoke legal weed in Amsterdam

Tourists can visit Amsterdam coffeeshops

Every year 5 million tourists are visiting Amsterdam. Many of them visit coffee shops in Amsterdam as well.
Starting in 2013, a new law was about to allow residents only to the coffeeshops (“Weed-pass”). But the mayor of Amsterdam decided differently and therefore coffeeshops will still be open for tourists as well. Otherwise, the authorities fear that this would increase the street trade in soft drugs and increase criminal activities.

In 2017 Mellow Yellow, along with 28 other shops, was forced to shut down following the recent passing of government legislation that prohibits coffee shops from being open within 250 meters of a school. The new laws are part of a compromise to prevent law enforcement from implementing the “weed-pass” (membership) system that is meant to prevent non-Dutch citizens from enjoying cannabis in the shops, as it could negatively affect the city’s tourism industry.

Weed Pass System

The “weed-pass” system has already been put into effect throughout other cities in the Netherlands, but Amsterdam has been slow to follow suit.  Jasper Karman, a spokesman for the mayor’s office says the school proximity law helps keep the remaining 167 coffee shops in Amsterdam open.

Quality

The cannabis available in coffee shops is much stronger than foreign visitors are used to. One should take this into account. Therefore the best thing is not to order the pre-rolled joints or space cake if you are not sure how you will react to this. One can always ask the staff members for advice.

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam

10 best weed cafes in Amsterdam

Grey Area

Frequented by the likes of Snoop Dog, Willie Nelson, and other celebrities who are hard to out smoke, this establishment is one of the best coffee shops in Amsterdam. It features a wide variety of prize-winning cannabis and a simple let’s get the down-to-business vibe. Note that legroom is fairly scarce since the smoking parlour is rather small. 

Barney’s Coffeeshop

Placed inside the ground floor of a 16th-century building, Barney’s Coffeeshop is one of the most upscale coffeeshops in Amsterdam. It is done out as an Amsterdam apothecary of yore, making it a great spot for a smoke-heavy selfie and a nice place to hang out with friends in Amsterdam at night

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam
©Barney’s

Even if prices here are slightly higher than in other coffeeshops in Amsterdam, it is well worth it for on the menu are the most prized strains of the highest quality. 

Green House United

Situated close to Barney the interior of this somewhat minimalist smoking house with great cannabis has been jazzed up by a built-in floor aquarium with exotic fishes, making it one of the most unusual coffeeshops in Amsterdam. Its inside features 10 tables of different sizes with stools and comfortable benches dotted around for an amicable chat among fellow smoke-exhalers. Head here when on high because fishes, whose ancestors dwelt in the Southern Seas, are believed to make all your wishes come true. 

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam

Original Dampkring 

One of the most popular coffee shops in Amsterdam is Original Dampkring. It has been renowned for a thoroughly and flawlessly selected, quite extensive smoking menu, a cosy atmosphere of convivial nonchalance, and expert cannabis ninjas on its staff. Even if there is enough room for a company of 4-5 friends, keep in mind that due to the smoking Original Damkring’s being one of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam getting a seat can take some time. 

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam

The Bulldog the First

Established in 1974, the Bulldog the First is one of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam, with a reputation as a veritable “weed” mecca. At the time of its founding weed was still illegal in Amsterdam, so the place was functioning illegally as an iconic illegal pot hangout.  It has kept a lot of memorabilia from its “outlaw” period, serving as a reminder of how Amsterdam’s cannabis culture has evolved. 

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS - JUNE 10, 2014: Amsterdam Bulldog coffeeshop entrance where one can smoke weed. Cannabis in the Netherlands is illegal, but is decriminalised for personal use.

Note that over the weekend it pulls in not only pot-aficionados but also football lovers who can watch football games, making it one of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam to watch football. 

Abraxas Coffeeshop

Located in Amsterdam’s downtown the Abraxas Coffeeshop is one of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam to spark up over Christmas and herald in long weed-laden caravans of Santas, deer and elves. Its two-storied spacious interior decorated in wood gives you vast breathing room and makes you feel as if you were at a mountainous chalet, while its choice weed unfailingly keeps you on high with no skis insight.  

Amnesia

Named in a reference to the temporary memory loss developed by the most persistent of the establishment’s patrons, Amnesia is by rights one of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam. Its smoking stuff is arguably Amsterdam’s headiest, with your mind being well out of reach of the more mundane concerns after a toke in its fashionable deep-red-walled plump-cushioned interior. Also, it offers a variety of mouth-watering smoothies, milkshakes and juices for hydration’s sake, and a chance to sit on a cosy summer terrace overlooking a canal. It is the perfect place to spend summer in Amsterdam. Note that Amnesia is one of the most considerate coffeeshops in Amsterdam, offering pre-rolled joints for the most indolent tokers. 

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam
©Amnesia

Katsu

One of the cosiest coffeeshops in Amsterdam, prized by locals and travellers alike is Katsu. The joint feels like home thanks to its somewhat subdued lighting, amicable stuff, potted plants, cosy interior and quiet atmosphere making it a perfect spot for a successful date, which is greatly facilitated by going to coffeeshops in Amsterdam. 

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam

The weed on offer comprises three strains: Jamaican, Mexican and Nederweit ones. What is more, it has been recommended by the Cannabis College weed gurus, making it one of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam. 

Tweede Kamer

To get a sense of old-school pot-smoking visit Tweede Kamer, one of the oldest coffeeshops in Amsterdam. Established in 1985 when cannabis had just become legal it pioneered weighing & packaging in front of a customer, which allowed for a smoother selection process.  The ganja warriors on staff ensure high quality by sampling it themselves, a tradition that made it deservingly one of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam beloved by locals and travellers alike. 

Note that in a light-hearted manner the ganja joint bears the same name as Dutch Parliament as if hinting that transparency and democracy go hand in hand. 

The Stud

Named Amsterdam’s best coffee shop in 2015, the 1982-founded Stud is a great place to socialize, with locals as well as travellers adorning the venue. It is a must not only for its potent buds, making it by right one of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam, but also because of a chilled vibe and great selection of cannabis-themed clothing and merchandise. Keep in mind that those that don’t light up can also come and pass time, with many choosing books over the more ephemeral pleasures that made the smoking house’s name.  

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam

Smoking weed in coffee shops in Amsterdam has become a rite of passage for travellers. It has been so popular that it is now clearly part of the city’s identity and culture. Despite this, there are rumours that smoking weed in coffeeshops in Amsterdam can become restricted to locals only, so pack up your bags and hurry to Amsterdam, while it is still a much-needed beacon for those keen on sparking up all over the world. 

There is lots to see in Amsterdam and all around the Netherlands and to be honest, I think it is one of the friendliest countries in Europe. Most folks here speak perfect English and that makes it a fantastic tourist destination for those afraid of having to speak or understand another language.

This guest post was written by: Samantha Karen is the founder of the travel blog SamseesWorld. She is a twenty-something traveller on a mission to explore the world to seek the new and unknown so she can document her experiences and inspire others to explore this wondrous world. Her objective is to learn about the world while also searching for her place in it. Check out Sam Sees World for valuable information on the best things to do, see, eat, and experience while travelling and making memories along the way.

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