Coffee shops in Amsterdam may look from the outside like any other bar, but far from it: coffee shops in the Netherlands can sell cannabis and other substances.
A country of contradictions
Although it might seem strange, all establishments that sell soft drugs are not allowed to also sell alcohol. The Dutch government also forbids smoking tobacco in the coffee shops.
The coffee shops can only sell “soft drugs”, like marijuana and mushrooms, but are forbidden to sell “hard drugs”.
Not only for smokers
If you don’t like to smoke, all coffee shops sell cannabis and other substances in various formats. You can order a tea with cannabis, smoke a bong or order different types of space cakes.
If you want to visit a coffee shop without trying any of its specialties, you can also sit and have a soft drink or coffee; however, be aware that there will always be a strong smell of marijuana.
Over ten years ago, there were nearly 1,000 coffee shops open in Amsterdam. Nowadays, there are approximately 150 due to the pressure from neighbouring countries and from the Dutch government that wishes to reduce this type of tourism.