The term ‘Coffee shop’ applies to the 200+ places in Amsterdam that sell *cough cough* cannabis. Now you should know that the laws of The Netherlands do in no way allow for the buying, selling, smoking or walking around with cannabis but, since the 1960s The Dutch have been more relaxed about its use. In the 1970s places like the Bulldog and Mellow Yellow started popping up and eventually it turned into the industry it is today.
I’m often asked “How will I know it’s a coffee shop?” The easy answer is since the 1990s they’ve regulated coffee shops and they all now have a licenses which is displayed in the window or on the door near the entrance. However, opening a door will often give you an immediate answer.
Are all coffee shops created equal? Nope. I often say think of coffeshops like bars. Some bars have all the finest beer on tap and you may get slightly less beer for slightly more money, others are generic bars that offer the same as all the bars in the area and then some are ‘dive’ bars, where you probably wouldn’t really like to be seen but will do in a pinch. You can expect the same concepts and feels in coffeeshops.
Some of the betters shops in town are Abraxy’s, Green Place, Grey Area and Dampkring. I hope in the future to write a bit more about these places in greater detail.
Please, for your safety and enjoyment, take time while you are enjoying Amsterdam’s coffee. Some people get here and take way too much way too fast. There’s no need for it. Relax and take a bit in and see how it will affect you. Give your self 20 minutes or so and then maybe have a little more. Mostly people have problems when they take too much in too quickly. Dutch police will laugh at you and locals will just be annoyed by you. It’s for this reason they are attempting to shut many of these things down. So here’s hoping it will continue for years to come and that will only be possible if they people who come here also have respect for the people who live here.