How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

| April 1, 2012 | 70 Comments

Before getting started I just want to clarify that we are not drug users. We don’t condone using illegal drugs. And we are not telling you to go and smoke weed in Amsterdam. BUT, our goal of this travel blog is to help advise, educate and provide travel tips for ALL situations. So if you are headed to Amsterdam then we hope our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam will help you out.

And check out this smoker friendly accommodation for your next trip.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam Coffeeshop

When you tell people that you are visiting Amsterdam then they immediately think of one thing and one thing only. Weed. Dope. Herb. Buds. Spliff. Whacky Tobbacky. Pot. Marijuana. Cannabis. 

Call it what you will but just know that the biggest name for it is “ILLEGAL”.

Yes it is actually illegal to smoke weed in Amsterdam. But for now the Netherlands government do tolerate smoking in designated “coffeeshops”. This is slowly changing as the Government tries to moderate the tourism drug trade and in 2013 there will be new laws which we won’t go in to now as they are continuously changing.

In the meantime if you obey the rules, are not a moron and use our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam then you are going to be fine.

Smoke weed in Amsterdam

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t smoke weed in Amsterdam in public such as on the streets. There are over 300 designated coffee shops where you are tolerated to smoke weed. These places are regulated and everything is done in the open.

Don’t get confused and try to smoke in a koffiehuis (coffee house) which sells coffee and light meals or a café that is a casual restaurant and/or bar.

The coffeeshops are super easy to spot with marijuana leaves in the windows and Bob Marley paintings on the doors. Not to mention the smell wafting through the cold breeze. There will also be the usual tourists that have stupidly over-indulged and are glassy eyed.

We visited one of the five Bulldog coffeeshops when we were in Amsterdam and had no complaints. We even enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate while we were there!

Bulldog Coffeeshop in Amsterdam

Buying weed in Amsterdam

As long as you are over 18 then you will be allowed to buy up to 5 grams of weed in the regulated coffeeshops. Plus you have the added security knowing that your marijuana is not going to be laced with anything else if you are attempting to buy it off someone on the street. And who knows, they might be setting you up to get busted.

We were (and are) total amateurs and had no idea what to do once we actually stepped foot in the coffeeshop. But quickly sussed it out. There will generally be a “dealer bar” with full menu’s and everything for you to choose. So if you are an expert you will probably know what to order! Prices will of course vary by quantity (grams, bags, individual joints) and quality.

For a beginner ask lots of questions. Don’t be shy like we were. Ask the staff what they recommend and what effects each type has. They will know then that you are a newbie and will guide you. Just know that they are very accustomed to tourists who don’t know exactly how to go about the whole process.

What we found out is that it is actually perfectly fine for you to visit other coffeeshops and smoke weed that you have already purchased somewhere else. However, it is considered rude not to at least buy a hot chocolate or coffee if you do this. Coffeeshops do also have some of the best coffee in Amsterdam.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t be an idiot

Number 1 rule: Don’t smoke too much weed in Amsterdam! Even if you are a pot loving hippie from a commune you are probably going to find the marijuana really strong in Amsterdam. Just take it slow.

If you are enjoying a drink as well then again take it easy with the booze. All the coffeshops won’t sell you beer as well as cannabis.

EAT! Don’t go drinking and smoking on an empty stomach as cannabis lowers your blood sugar level and this can turn a fun day into a disaster if you haven’t eaten recently. Check out our Amsterdam Food Guide for some quick eating tips here.

A final word of warning, please watch out for the spacecake! Eating cannabis will knock you on your ass and is much stronger than when smoked.

Finally, enjoy yourselves and for goodness sake obey the rules, laws and customs while you are smoking weed in Amsterdam.

If you have an addiction to drugs then reach out and seek some help.

Check out these Weed Products for your next travel adventure.

About the Author ()

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Comments (70)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Great post…brought back some fun memories. Well, they are fuzzy, but still fun:)

    I agree with the spacecakes. I had a long debate with my friend about the viscous they produce. You eat one, you get hungry, you eat another, you get more hungry, and on and on:)

    • Cole says:

      Thanks D.J! We have debated about whether or not to post this or not but decided it would be better to educate some people as most are going to try it anyway! We never tried spacecakes but I was tempted.

      • Wyn Williams says:

        Nice article, I go to the Dam a lot and your pretty spot on, defintly people new to AMsterdam should ask questions and guidance, that what the staff are there for 🙂 also try a few shops and if it is your first time do not go near space cakes

        Oh and yeah, smoking is back on with out any problems in Amsterdam !

  2. I was a big “head” in my early 20s. The fact that cannabis is illegal is ridiculous–- the result of decades of intense lobbying by the tobacco and alcohol industries, who stand to lose a fortune if weed was legalized. The truth is, weed is far less addictive or damaging to our bodies than cigarettes or alcohol. Thankfully, the Obama Administration had gradually slowed down “the war on drugs” here in the U.S. If you’re ever curious about the history of marijuana laws, I highly recommend a book called “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” It’s eye-opening, to say the least!

  3. Natalie says:

    I can understand you debating whether to post it or not but at the end of the day, most people associate Amsterdam with this establishments anyway. Better to educate because like you say, if they are searching on google for info then they are going to try it anyway. Like that you put the warnings at the end and beginning. I think that adds a lot to the post

    • Cole says:

      That was our reasoning behind it as well Natalie. Hopefully our Mums won’t mind too much 🙂 We really wanted it to be educational rather than “go to Amsterdam and get high!”

  4. Good post Cole – Yes, i would agree that drinking and smoking weed on an empty stomach never goes well. I like the reality on your post and the way you educate vistors visiting Amsterdam. My wife and I did go to Amsterdam and as we both are non smokers did not venture into these coffeeshops. Will certainly guide people to your post who do visit a coffeeshop for the first time in Amsterdam. Thanks for posting it – Cheers

    • Cole says:

      Thanks Abishek for sharing it! Always appreciated. We were really worried about posting this as we didn’t want to come across as promoting drugs in anyway. We don’t smoke or anything ourselves but did try it in Amsterdam so thought it would be better to educate. Hopefully everyone sees it that way!

  5. O this reminds me of the time we had space cakes in Amsterdam. LOL. Good thing we only had one. I think it’s a great post to share. We wrote a similar one when we went in 2006. I don’t think you’ve promoted drugs in any way. Love that you included the warnings and how-tos for those looking for a safe way to experiment in Amsterdam. 🙂

    • Cole says:

      Thanks Kieu! We were really hesitant about sharing it (and not sure what Mum and Dad will say haha) but feel glad that we wrote it now 🙂

  6. Laurence says:

    Those hot chocolates look amazing! Just the sort of thing you would want after a bit of a smoke. This is a very informative post. I’m with Bret on this one. Cannabis is one of those things that really shouldn’t be illegal, particularly as tobacco and alcohol are just as bad if not worse. The other downside of the war on drugs is the negative light that other members of the cannabis tree get painted in. Hemp for example is an incredible natural resource that is seriously underused in our world, because of it’s associations with weed. It’s a messed up world!

    • Cole says:

      Haha just like my reply to Bret, I am not going to get in to the whole argument about whether it should be legalized or not 🙂 But yup the hot chocolates were delicious 🙂

  7. These are great tips! I have been there twice, visited Bulldog twice. The thing to remember is not to go crazy with the smoking!

  8. Haha, fun post, guys! We don’t smoke — but good to know!

  9. Kurt says:

    Ha I so miss Amsterdam. For many reasons besides the bud, hash and canals.

  10. Kali and I are heading to Amsterdam at the end of this month, and one of the things we’d like to try are the coffeeshops. We’re total noobs as well when it comes to weed, though, so I’m glad I came across this!

    • Cole says:

      Glad we could help Christy! We had no idea what to do either! We have heard that there are better places than Bulldog Cafe but for a start I am sure you will enjoy it! Enjoy the peep show too haha.

  11. Ha, brilliant! I remember going to a cafe where the walls and tables were covered in graffiti. What was it called? Blue…something? I guess my head was a little fuzzy!

  12. Laura says:

    A friend of mine returned from Amsterdam and confessed to me that half of the money he had spent on that trip had been on weed. The funny thing is that at home he never touches the stuff. 🙂

    • Cole says:

      Hahaha your friend sounds like the typical Amsterdam tourist! We never smoke at home either so it was a bit bizarre but the experience was still awesome.

  13. Bud Tender says:

    Here are a bunch of actual coffeeshop menus, just for background information.

    Bud Tender

  14. Brilliant! I do like the photos with the coffees and the hot chocolates… 😉 But I love Amsterdam, such a pretty little city with all the small cafés by the canals, heading there again next weekend

    • Cole says:

      Yea it doesn’t all have to be about the weed. Hopefully we will return again sometime but so many other European cities to visit!

  15. Erik says:

    Good, helpful information! People are going to try it, it’s best they know what they are in for.

    I have been to Amsterdam quite a few times, and wether smoking in the coffeeshops is your main goal or not, it is important to make sure you see the city. I met way too many stoners who only went for the pot. I have no problem with that, but too many hadn’t seen any of the city. It seems to me that missing such a great city to sit around stoned all day is unfortunate. I always tried to tell them, don’t get so fried that you can’t at least enjoy strolling the beautiful canals.

    Agreed on the space cakes- I’ve seen way too many people freak out or just being way too uncomfortable after eating those- an experiment I’m glad I never tried!

    • Cole says:

      Cheers Erik. We were really worried about posting this but have had a good response so really glad we did in the end. Totally understand what you mean about visiting the actual city. So many tourists seem to stumble in and out of coffeeshops all day and miss out on some amazing sights such as Anne Frank’s house! We were warned about the space cakes as well so really glad we didn’t try them!

  16. cheryl says:

    I love you guys for posting this! 🙂

    I don’t get why people think that having some weed at a coffee in the ‘Dam is such a bad thing. Do it, have fun. Why not?

    I may or may not have visited a coffee shop during my visit to Amsterdam.

    • Thanks Cheryl! We were really worried about posting this. Glad we did it though as the majority of people have congratulated us while others have asked why did we post it if we are not experts! And we are definitely not experts but like most people we like to experience different things so tried our best to write a beginners guide for it 🙂

  17. Steven says:

    Thank you so much for the information. Do most coffeeshops speak English?

  18. great places to enjoy weeds in moderation…hope every place or countries will allow that kind of venues for marijuana users…”legally”

  19. Colin says:

    The notion that foreigners cannot purchase weed in AMSTERDAM is utterly false until 2013 and the law may not even go into full effect thanks to loss of enthusiasm from the bill’s original proponents Onno Hoes (Mayor of Maastricht). The wietpass law has taken effect in southern Netherlands and cities like Maastricht but NOT Amsterdam yet. I’m not exactly sure where you heard that but verify stuff before you post it bro. Refer to the Bulldog’s website lol

  20. Felipe Cassity says:

    Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic post.Really thank you! Fantastic.

  21. Eli says:

    Thank you very much Cole for the interesting and informative read!! I am planning on going to Amsterdam in a few weeks and very excited to try this “strong” grass there 🙂 I also appreciate the fact that you stress to be responsible and not stupid and of course don’t fuck with the law haha

    Thanks again and stay high my friends,

    • Hahaha thanks Eli for dropping by! Let us know if you have any problems getting in “strong” grass while you are there. We are not quite sure of the laws at the moment, so any information would be great after your visit. If you remember it… haha 😉

  22. kbeth says:

    Leaving in two weeks for Amserdam. I know the Cannibus Cup is going on. Will the coffeeshops be crowded because this event? Hope not to have problems. This is my 3rd time..but many years ago…So hoping all is cool..

  23. kbeth says:

    Here is the site. It is the High Times Magazines Annual Cannibus Cup.

  24. Kim Wild says:


    I thought I’d clear a few things up on here and other silly rumours on the internet.
    After some investigating a couple of months ago, I made a point of speaking to every coffee shop owner/employee on my visit – I went to 9.
    It’s fine to smoke weed in DESIGNATED smoking areas outside (these are clearly marked), you can still smoke tobacco in the coffee shops (I actually went to buy some herbal tobacco and they said it was fine to smoke my Golden V) and as for the crazy rumours and ‘reports’ about changing the law – every single coffee shop dismissed the idea. It would destroy their economy and tourist base. I honestly think its our governments trying to crack the control whip again.
    Also you may say you don’t condone drugs, but passive smoking will still get you high.

    Peace, one love – I’m going back to my commune… Sorry full time job 😀

  25. Patricia says:

    Going on a transatlantic cruise in May, 2013, will visit Amsterdam for 2 days, any further details about the coffee shop ban for foreigners?

    • Hi Patricia,
      On Adela’s last visit in November they were allowed to buy weed fine. Not sure what will be happening in May though sorry. We are not aware of any rule changes at this time.

    • Toby says:

      Hi Patricia,

      I’m a local and can tell you that smoking weed in Amsterdam is still allowed, also for tourists. I doubt that it will change in the near future, if ever! Furthermore you are actually also allowed to smoke in public. Although it is very uncommon, the owner of a pub, bar or café may permit the use of cannabis in their establishment. However buying it is only permitted at locations with a so called declaration of tolerance (coffeeshops).

      I hope that the weather in May will be sunny. If so, buy some weed at a coffeeshop, go outside and sit on the edge of a Gracht (canal) or go chill at Vondelpark and enjoy the Amsterdam lifestyle.

      For more information check the official City of Amsterdam homepage:

      Enjoy your stay!

  26. Vincenzo Giuliano says:

    Buying weed is still allowed, went to a coffeeshop last week and had mo trouble whatsoever.

  27. pat says:

    hi there,
    im going to holland soon
    i would like to know a place to go. a town.
    i will be there one day.
    i would like to smoke diferent kind of weed and try some mushrooms 🙂

    thanks for the infoooooo


  28. Sean M says:

    I guess I will just have to travel to Europe now! Thanks for the tips!

  29. Marie says:

    can we consume cannabis when we ARE 18 since you said OVER 18 ?

  30. Lotte says:

    Actually, it’s not illegal to smoke weed in Amsterdam. I live there and its totally fine to smoke.

  31. Alejandra says:

    I have a question, Is there some park or place different to Caffe or Bar for smoke weed without problems?

  32. angelica says:

    I wish I had read this before going to Amsterdam. For those who don’t do drugs please don’t mix mushrooms and weed together. I did that big mistake and Omg had the worst experience of my life. I totally blacked out. I took 4 puffs and looked at my husband who wasn’t smoking thank God and told him I’m done. So he comes to me to comfort me, I looked at him and I told him I’m dizzy, once he put his arm around me I was DONE! he told me I closed my eyes and started shaking then fell on the floor. When I finally could respond I was sweating like crazy, I couldn’t see, but I could hear everyone calling my name and blowing on my face. I couldn’t feel my body at all. They took me outside to get some fresh air. I blacked out again a medic was helping me they we’re giving me water with sugar which I vomit 3 times, they were forcing me to eat a chocolate candy but my mouth was so dry I couldn’t swallow. They put some ice on my head multiple times because it was melting very fast. My heart beat was sooooo fast and then extremely slow. The medic was scared cause he lost a guy (died) doing weed and mushrooms . I could hear everyone talking and worried. I remember everything after waking up. All I could think about was “OMG I must look like shit” “My hair” I could tell you more of what happened but I was like that for almost 3 hrs. Anyways Amsterdam is a beautiful place. Don’t just go there for the weed. Please people who haven’t smoked before I strongly recommend you not to do it. If you don’t need it know you won’t need it later.

  33. Zeke says:

    Hey, great post guys, just wondering if you are still allowed to smoke marijuana in Amsterdam as a foreigner in 2014? Any ideas?

  34. Richard says:

    I know many people who have never been drug users. But it is literally impossible to visit Amsterdam and not to smoke some weed or eat a brownie. Anyway, thanks for an awesome guide!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *