A Total Guide to Coffee Shops in Amsterdam

Whether you’re a fully fledged stoner or whether you’re curious about smoking, eating or vaping weed for the first time, we’re here to help.

There are a few things to remember though about cannabis in Amsterdam. Contrary to belief, it is illegal but in 1972 the Dutch parliament relaxed their drug laws to in effect categorize drugs between hard (Heroin, Cocaine, etc) and soft (Cannabis) and turned a blind eye to residents and visitors involving themselves in a recreational drug.

Coffee shops are designated places where you can sit back and relax with a drink and have a joint and nobody will bother you. However, smoking on the street isn’t necessarily wise because you are giving the authorities a reason to stop you. That being said, if lingering around in a crowded coffee shop isn’t your thing, don’t be too worried about lighting up in Vondelpark or next to one of Amsterdam’s canals. Just be mindful of others who have come to Amsterdam who don’t want to smoke, or smell it for that matter.

What strain should should i smoke?

So the first thing you’ll see in any coffee shop is a menu. Long gone are the days where you pick up a bag of cannabis having absolutley no idea what you’re getting. In Amsterdam you can choose a strain and/or flavour to your choosing, don’t have a clue, ask away.

The bud tenders are super cool, they won’t judge you and ultimatley want you to have a great time whether you’ve smoked all your life or are trying for the first time.

Be aware that if it’s your first time or you don’t know how to roll then you can buy pre-rolls (see below) but the budtender will point you in the right direction. If you are rolling your own joints it is worth noting that it is illegal to roll it with tobacco, you may find a substitute from behind the counter.

One of the questions will be “what kind of high do you want?” (and this is important). If you want to feel all giggly and be in a situation where something like a guy pulling a chair out next to you will send you in a fit of laughter, then you need to opt for a SATIVA strain. It gives you an uplifting, happy, and energetic high.

If you want a deep sense of body relaxation where even if there was a E50 note on the floor, it’s not worth getting up for, then you need to go for an INDICA strain. But you will be out of it, you’ll see indica zombies floating about Amsterdam day and night.

Hash is also another option for novices as its THC levels are much lower than that of skunk (Hash is brown and skunk is green).

What if i don’t like smoking?

That’s cool too, you don’t have to smoke cannabis and most coffee shops have something called Space Cakes. A space cake is simply a muffin or cake that has been laced with weed.

Just be aware though that ingesting weed takes slightly longer to take effect than the instant tokes of a joint meaning if you eat the whole cake, it may take up to 30 minutes to take effect in which time you could be in a weed hole with no way of getting out. Just take your time, bite a bit off and then leave it for half an hour – space cakes can ruin your experience quickly.

Experienced smokers may be intrigued to try out a volcano, which is basically weed heated up in a big plastic bag and then smoked. Some coffee shops have these but not all. We know that both Spirit and Greenhouse Effect have them. Volcano’s give a smoother inhale so are better on the lungs than smoking a joint.

You can use a bong too, again some coffee shops will supply them but for hygienic reasons you may be better off buying your own from many of the souvenir shops scattered throughout the centre.

Top Tip: If you are a novice or have never tried Dutch weed, grab yourself a can or bottle of a sweet sugary drink like coke, Fanta, sprite, etc. If you feel completely out of it, sugar helps to counteract the THC in your brain

Where are the best places to smoke?

This is a question based purely on preference and everyone will have their own opinions on which coffee shop is the best and why. It’s also hard to answer because coffee shops close down for various different reasons and getting a license for a coffee shop in Amsterdam is nigh on impossible nowadays.

I really liked Sevilla coffee shop which was located next to Rembrandt Square on Utrechtsestraat but it closed down. I liked it because it had old cinema seats which were comfortable, it wasn’t on a busy street so it was quiet, the prices were good and the weed was of good quality.

If you just want weed, then you’ll have no issues getting some. Finding a seat and finding one that is comfortable for when you’re high is harder to find. Most coffee shops aren’t designed to make you feel comfortable as they really want you in and out, not staying all day while you write songs and discuss politics or bucket lists with other stoners.

  1. Some people will tell you what the best coffee shop is because it was their first, or they go every time they visit. It doesn’t mean you’ll like it. Keep an open mind
  2. Most coffee shops in Amsterdam sell the same thing, some may have slightly stronger strains but trust me unless you’re a cannabis connoisseur, you aren’t really going to notice the difference, and neither is your mate who brags about how he got the best strain of Purple Haze from XYZ. (He’s lying, you’ll be very lucky to find Purple Haze anywhere in Amsterdam)
  3. Don’t jump straight into the first coffee shop you see and spend all of your money. Buy little and often from several shops and see if you can compare them
  4. Have a good time, don’t spoil it by going for a strong strain, I can guarantee that dutch weed is stronger than the stuff you’ll get from your dealer at home.

So here are TotalGuides top 5 coffee shops. They aren’t necessarily the best we’ve been too because some of our favorites such as Sevilla, Blues Brothers, Stones Cafe, Hill Street Blues & Mellow Yellow are now all closed. But, sentimental reasons aside, they are our favourites operating today.

The Saint (Regulierssteeg 1, Amsterdam)

Located on a tiny street next to Rembrandt Square, you’ll walk past it as it really doesn’t stand out. But for that reason alone makes it a hit with me. It is never crowded which means there are lots of places to sit and relax and of course the weed is good. The bud tenders have always been friendly and knowledgeable.

Photo by @f1shstix

Basjoe (Kloveniersburgwal 62, Amsterdam)

I only found this place whilst I was walking back to a hotel in Rembrandt Square and found it purely by chance. Even though its located on a busy street, there are only subtle signs that show its a coffeeshop. I’m glad I did, these guys know good weed and there is plenty of space to get, well, spaced out. A good little spot on a nice day is outside at the front, plenty going on and great for people watching.

Photo by @basjoeshop

The Bulldog No.90 (Oudezijds Voorburgwal 90, Amsterdam)

One of the first coffeeshops in Amsterdam was The Bulldog and has grown since those days in 1975. Because of its central location in the Red Light District, it is always busy but it’s a cool spot, and the weed is generally good.

If you can get into this coffee shop and especially get a place at the front window on a hot summer’s day then it’s a great place to relax and chill. Even better is its location, so you can have a chuckle to yourself when you see sheepish looking guys quickly exiting out of one of the nearby doors.

Photo by @coffeeshopsofamsterdam

De Dampkring (Handboogstraat 29, Amsterdam)

Most coffeeshops look the same but the Dampkring has a truly unique front facade that kind of makes you feel like you’re about to walk in Andy Warhol’s front room. The weed is good, the vibe is unique, and getting somewhere to sit down isn’t a painless exercise.

Voyagers (Geldersekade 2, Amsterdam)

If there’s one thing that Voyagers does best, its the quality of the weed. I’ve never had a bad batch and that’s credited to the people who run it. They used to own Stones Cafe and like that, it’s well-stocked, high-grade weed makes it a must for anyone wanting a toke and chill.

Photo by @voyagerscoffeeshop

What flavour should i try?

If you’re an experienced stoner then speak to a budtender and see what takes your fancy. But you can’t go wrong with a Lemon or Super Silver Haze (SATIVA) or a Vanilla Kush or Exodus Cheese (INDICA).

Novices or first timers should stick to something light and start off with a low THC content (Around 17%).

Check out Amsterdam Coffeeshop menus but beware the menus change often so they may not always be up to date.

Safety

Aside from the usual safety tips of any major city, which you can find here, when you’re under the influence there are a few things you’ll need to consider.

Amsterdam is home to 800,000 bikes so be careful when you’re having a merry old time walking through its streets. Traditional dutch bikes don’t have hand brakes and the locals won’t slow down for you. So just be aware of that when you’re under the influence.

Coffeeshops are popular and a side effect of weed is that it can make you paranoid so ensure you have all of your belongings with you before you leave as the chances are someone will be waiting to grab your space even before you leave. Most people are too stoned to see what’s in front of them never mind a wallet laying on the floor so don’t leave it to chance.

Take your time and enjoy weed on a full stomach, if you feel yourself getting too hot and sickly, there is no shame getting some fresh air outside. A sugary drink such as coke or lemonade will do you the world of good if you start changing colour.

Weed makes you hungry and the temptation is definitely there in Amsterdam with all the little shops selling XL chocolate eclairs and colossal muffins, be weary that you may put on a bit of weight 🙂

So, go and have a good time and enjoy the experience.