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Amsterdam Coffee shops

By Viator, August 2010

4 60 Reviews | Add your review

Nothing symbolizes Dutch pragmatism better than the country’s drug policy. Rather than wage war on all drugs and drive them further underground with all the criminal, anti-social activity that brings, they take a different approach. Concentrating on the elimination of hard drugs, authorities tolerate the sale of soft drugs in controlled environments.

Hence the Netherlands’ famous “coffee shops”. But to avoid confusion, let’s get our terms straight. If you actually want coffee in Amsterdam, head for a café or “koffiehuis”. Because what you’ll get in establishments marked “coffeeshop” is actually cannabis, sold by experts, to be consumed on the premises.

The minimum age for cannabis use in the Netherlands is 18, and visiting the coffee shops of Amsterdam is a rite of passage for many college-age young adults from around the world. But the image of the young stoner is just one part of the story. Long-time puffers who came of age in the ´60s or first-time middle age tokers all feel comfortable in this tolerant environment. 

Being a practical people, the Dutch don’t just value the intoxicating qualities of cannabis, but all the other uses that versatile hemp can be put to as well. The Hash, Marijuana and Hemp Museum illustrates some of these uses, including medical treatments and the products which can be made from hemp fiber. Also on view in this unique center of cannabis lore are smoking accessories and displays detailing the history of marijuana usage and culture.

Whatever your views on cannabis, it’s difficult not to be impressed by peaceful Amsterdam. Spending a few hours breathing in the city’s liberal atmosphere is sure to open your mind.

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