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Postcard from Amsterdam - The Coffee Shop Scene
John talks about the offerings at Amsterdam Coffee Shops.
More of this Feature
B's Amsterdam Observations
John's Amsterdam Observations
Food, Sex, Religion and Safety in Amsterdam

Related Resources
Netherlands Travel Links
Amsterdam Lodging
Amsterdam Sights


Coffee Shops on the Web
Bulldog Cafe
Noon Cafe
Grey Area

The Amsterdam Coffee Shop Scene

A reader contributed article by John

Just as an observer, I was introduced to the coffee shop environment. As you may or may not know, marijuana and hashish are legal substances in Holland and have been so for several years. Coffee shops are licensed and taxed. Pot is sold in licensed shops called coffee shops. There are approximately 500 or so in Amsterdam and many others throughout the country. Coffee shops serve good coffee made right in front of you, but don't confuse them with cafes. Coffeehouses vary from small modest establishments to several storied structures with lavish surroundings. There is often a metaphysical or eastern theme woven into the décor. Some have cushy seats with throw pillows; some have stools. A few serve alcohol and even fewer, food.

People usually go right up to the counter where pot is sold and take a look at the "menu". Categories range from hash, black from Afghanistan or Nepal or blonde from Morocco and Lebanon, Marijuana of both Indica and Sativa varieties grown indoors and outdoors and of course brownies and space cakes, usually containing 2 grams of the substance can also be found. Hash can run from 5 grams of Afghani at the Bulldog for 12 Euro where one can sit right on the Leidseplein have a beer and enjoy the street acts in the square. Visit their "jail cell" without a door downstairs. For 5 grams of Blueberry pot you'll shell out 23.50 Euro. Blueberry is a former High Times Cannabis winner and one of the better strains in the city. Noon is a great place to buy Blueberry and sit and enjoy a soft drink and get high. Isolator hash can run up to 45 per gram, and I'm told it is well worth it.

Names like Dutch Poison, White Widow, Blueberry. Bubblegum, Silver Haze, and the Super Skunk. Flavor the selection. You can also get good kif at The Gray Area a place owned and operated by two Americans.

Seeds can also be purchased at many coffeehouses for ten to twenty Euro per seed. Most pot is grown indoors with the most sophisticated methods known to date. You may sometimes see a "Bush Doctor", usually a botanist making house visits to repair any crop damage.

Other notable Amsterdam coffee shops with nice atmospheres we experienced were:

The Rokerij

Rookies - play pool or board games

Kasmir - lounge on comfortable pillows - tiny nooks and crannies.

Abraxas -view your weed through a microscope or go upstairs and vegitate

The Sensi Seed Company provides the most unique experience. For 5 Euros you can enter the museum of hemp. There is a complete history of hemp going back 10,000 years, worldwide manufacturing techniques, a chart of medical benefits of marijuana and last but not least, you are invited into the vaporization chamber. A famous hippie named Eagle Bill greeted us. Bill demonstrates the vaporizer, a large globe with a tube for sucking out the pot and another slot where he inserts a heat gun with a 200 degree setting and fires it into the chamber onto some very good weed. At this heat, only the tricombs are burnt and there is nothing left but green vegetation. Partakers mentioned that they had never been so high, but without the effects of being tired or stoned out.

Coffee shops usually have an eclectic blend of lounge music or rock. People sit around making long joints (they usually mix tobacco with their hash or pot). People are very pleasant. Nobody forces you to make conversation if you don't feel like it. The environments are quite pleasant and conducive. You will see people from all over the world coming and going.

There are also several Smart Shops where you can legally buy herbal substances and magic mushrooms from all over the world. They have the Don Pedro Cactus and philosopher's Stones as well.

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