When you hear the term coffee shop, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are, if you live anywhere in the world outside of the Netherlands, then you are picturing a café selling espressos and snacks.
However, in the Netherlands, a coffee shop is an establishment where it is legal to sell and smoke cannabis products. Since the first shop opened in the 1970s, the country, and in particular Amsterdam, has grown to become synonymous with cannabis. The liberal views highlight the progressive approach the region has to topics that are otherwise considered unsavory elsewhere.
A brief history of Coffee Shops in the Netherlands
During the 1960s, the hippie culture made drug use an increasingly more common occurrence around the world, and the Netherlands was certainly no different. With the use of marijuana on the rise, policymakers decided to intervene, and while some countries introduced a strict no-tolerance policy, the Netherlands introduced a more relaxed solution.
During this period, soft drugs were being flagrantly sold across the country, and the government was fearful that these scenarios would lead users into trying harder drugs. That is why they implemented new laws that were designed to allow people to smoke cannabis in a safe and controlled environment, removing the possibility of patrons coming into contact with hard drugs.
As legislation relaxed during the late 1970s and 1980s, it saw a rapid rise in the opening of coffee shops, and an entire industry was established. However, while the country is known for its liberal approach, coffee shops still have to adhere to a number of rules:
- Coffee shops much not advertise the sale of cannabis or drugs.
- No hard drugs to be on the premises
- No more than 500g of stock to be kept on site
- No minors allowed on site
- Customers can not purchase more than 5g a day
- Customers must not cause any public disturbances
Alongside these rules, coffee shops must also not sell any alcohol and cannot be within 250m of a school. Failure to adhere to these rules can see the shops being temporarily closed for up to six months or, in the case of major breaches, closed permanently.
Three most popular coffee shops in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is arguably the most famous place in the Netherlands for coffee shops, and thousands of people visit the city every year to visit the legendary stores and take in the sights. Coffee shops can be found all over the city, but a large majority are located within the De Wallen district.
There are dozens of great shops to choose from, but three of the most popular based on the review and how well know these Coffeshops amongst locals and tourists, include:
Harlemmestraat 44, 1013 ES Amsterdam
Sun – Thurs : 10am – 1 am, Fri – Sat : 10 am – 2 am
Formally known as Dampkring 2, Coffeeshop Amsterdam is popular for residents and visitors alike, thanks to its friendly atmosphere and great music. The shop also has a wide and diverse menu to choose from, giving guests the ability to sample various strains to suit every taste.
Famed for providing high-quality products, their cakes are one of the star attractions and a must-buy for visitors.
Handboogstraat 29, 1012 XM Amsterdam
0031 20 6380705
Daily 10am – 1am
The original Danmpkring store is one of Amsterdam’s most iconic coffee shops and is the venue of choice for visiting celebrities. Film fans will also recognize the shop from the Hollywood blockbuster Oceans 12.
The shop has an extensive menu to choose from, featuring a wide range of strains, while the staff is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. With some great music and an incredibly relaxed vibe, it is a great spot to spend a few hours unwinding. There’s even a house cat lounging around to give it that true living room feel.
The Bulldog Palace, Leidseplein 15, 1017 PS Amsterdam
0031 20 625 9864
Thu: 10am – 1am | Fri & Sat: 10am – 3am | Sun: 10am – 2am
When people think of coffeeshops in Amsterdam, Bulldog is often the first shop that comes to mind. One of the first to open in the city, it has branched out to feature several stores around the town, but it is the original shop, located near the Red Light District that is most popular.
Spread over two floors, it provides visitors with a vibrant atmosphere, and despite its popularity, it still features fair prices and high-quality products. The shop also has a great food menu if you are looking for something to eat while smoking.
Three most popular coffee shops in Utrecht
Although Amsterdam is renowned for its coffee shops, various cities around the country feature stores, and Utrecht has some of the best in the Netherlands.
Wittevrouwensingel 206, 3572 CE, Utrecht
Daily 12pm – 8 pm
Culture Boat is a unique coffee shop as in fact, as the name suggests, it is situated on a boat! With plenty of tables and chairs, a great Moroccan theme, it is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
The beautiful surroundings, coupled with friendly and knowledgeable staff, ensures Culture Boat is a must-visit location for 420 enthusiasts.
1e Daalsedijk 294, 3513 TL, Utrecht
Daily 12pm – 8 pm
The cozy atmosphere of De Vipshop makes it one of the most popular destinations for locals, and the store caters primarily to locals, although tourists are, of course, welcome. With a Caribbean décor, it makes for a great spot to while away an afternoon.
Although small, the store does not feel packed, and it is a great location to start a conversation with strangers.
Oberchstraat 1, 3572 EA, Utrecht
Daily 2pm – 8 pm, Sunday and Monday Closed
With one of the most extensive choices of weed in Utrecht, experienced smokers and newcomers will always be able to find the right joint at ‘t Grasje. With incredibly friendly staff and a warm and welcoming environment, it is one of the most popular coffee shops in the city.
Three most popular coffee shops in Groningen
With a younger population, Groningen is a lively and vibrant city, and there are some fantastic coffee shops for visitors to sample.
Papengang 3, 9711 PA, Groningen
Mon-Wed : 11am-12am; Thu : 11am – 01 am; Fri-Sat : 12pm – 3 am; Sun : 3pm – 12am
Dees is the biggest shop in the city and is packed with amenities. Alongside a huge choice for customers to choose from, the shop also has a big outdoor area as well as games such as pool, darts and table football.
Situated over two floors, it’s a very popular attraction, but it focuses on providing visitors with an affordable and high-quality product range.
De Vliegende Hollander
Gedempte Zuiderdiep 63, 9711 HC, Grongingen
Daily 10am – 12am
The oldest coffee shop in the city, it has been serving customers since 1983 and is popular for locals and visitors alike. The shop has made headlines numerous times (most notably for sending the King a package of joints for his 18th birthday!) and offers a wide choice of products to choose from.
Regulars will also recommend that visitors sample the cakes and brownies, which are amongst the best in the city.
Oude Boteringestraat 53, 9712 GE, Gronignen
Daily 11 am – 12 am; Sun 12pm-12am
A very small coffee shop, Metamorphose features modern furniture alongside a host of great games, tasty coffee, and a wide selection of snacks. Being based near the university, it has a young crowd and has become somewhat of an icon in recent years with branded t-shirts and merchandise available.
Supplying the best coffee shops
At Eurocones, we focus on providing coffee shops across the Netherlands with high-quality pre-rolled cones. Our mission is to bring 420 enthusiasts together, while our young and passionate team are here to help shop owners reduce the time and costs involved in making their joints.
With a wide range of products on sale, we offer cones in all sizes while we also have two commercial filling devices to choose from. The Fill Block will let coffee shops fill 34 cones in one go while the Knockbox 100 will fill a hundred cones in less than three minutes!
Want to find out more? Get in touch today and find out how we can help you.