Want to know what it’s like buying weed and getting blazed at a coffeeshop in Amsterdam?
One of the biggest reasons to visit Amsterdam is their infamous “coffeeshops” and red light district.
So, the million dollar question is: what is it like?
How do you buy some cannabis and what’s the etiquette or protocol when doing so? Even if you don’t smoke up or eat the edibles (like me), it’s still fine and dandy to be curious and visit one to see what it’s like.
During my visit in Amsterdam, there’s quite a few coffeeshops to visit – about 200 to be exact. Right now, they are not allowing any more shops to be opened so if any shops close down, that’s it. The number of shops goes down – which sucks for people who are looking to visit Amsterdam but there’s many other reasons to visit the city of canals of course.
I ended up visiting Dampkring – a famous & well-known coffeeshop due to Ocean’s 12 being filmed inside featuring George Clooney and Brad Pitt (you can see a photo of them in the shop). Most locals buy weed at their favorite coffee shop and will smoke it in the comforts of their own home or at a local park. However, at Dampkring, it’s a comfortable and well-known shop so the place is usually filled with a mix of locals and visitors looking to toke up.
After wandering in and getting used to the (wonderful or not wonderful) musky smell of the weed, you will see a scattering of small tables and chairs as well as a bar with some stools. The place is dimly lit with a warm and gorgeous interior – lots of orange and reds. It’s also a bit quiet, or perhaps it was just the day I went on. To the far back left, you will see another small counter where all the goods are sold. If you turn around, you’ll see a large framed picture of George Clooney making this place “famous.”
If you’re lucky, you might see the “cannabis cat” – the local shop’s kitty who is free to roam and lay down on the window sills or an empty chair, or your lap if he so prefers.
At the stall or counter, selections are typically divided into weed, hash, pre-rolled joints and sometimes “spacecakes” (edibles like special brownies or cookies). Prices vary by quantity (grams, bags, individual joints) and quality. I recommend going to the little counter/stall and asking questions – you can even say that you’re a tourist and looking for a good experience.
Don’t be intimidated or nervous since the staff are used to having tourists around and want you to have a good time. It helps if you ask them what “type of high” are you looking for…high or stoned?
If you prefer to roll your own joints, they do have paper for that. You can also rent a pipe or a water bong if needed. You’ll also need your own lighter because if you don’t have one, you can purchase one in the back as well in their little vending machine…so bring plenty of cash/coins.
Pre-rolled joints are often rolled with tobacco to cut the strength of the weed or hash a bit while pure weed joints are sometimes available, but you are warned to NOT smoke the whole thing yourself – best to share or do very tiny hits. It’s also noted that you cannot smoke cigarettes in any coffeeshop but you can roll your joints mixed with tobacco and smoke THAT while in the shop. I know, what a weird rule eh?
The “space cakes” can be a trip since there’s really no way to know how potent it is. It’s advised to eat less rather than more and wait an hour for your body to digest to see what experience you’re going to end up having.
After speaking to a staff member at Dampkring, he mentioned that the indica in California is WAY better than in Amsterdam but the satvia in Amsterdam still has California beat. I can’t weigh in on what is better of course – just reporting here! The hash stuff can cause hallucinations – I can attest to that since I had a random guy start talking to someone invisible while next to me in Copenhagen.
At the regular bar, you can ask for the menu. This will be the REAL menu where there’s some non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. The Belgian hot chocolate is to DIE FOR and I highly recommend it! I’m sure after smoking up a bit, a case of the munchies will hit but there is a selection of sweet & salty snacks for you to choose from! Besides hot chocolate, there’s regular soda, water, coffee (of course) and a selection of delicious fruit smoothies to kill your cotton mouth.
Overall, it was a chill and fun way to spend some time. Dampkring has a fun & relaxing environment. I’ve passed other coffeeshops during my exploring and there was ones that seemed more funky, hipster, and “lively” but I didn’t get the chance to go inside. Heard “Dolphin” is also pretty good too.
Some tips to note:
+ Note the difference between a coffee shop and a cafe. A coffeeshop in Amsterdam is known to sell non-alcoholic drinks, snacks, edibles, and weed (or cannabis). A cafe is a regular coffeeshop where coffee and regular food and some alcohol is sold.
+ If you’re not sure, look for a green and white sticker in the window because it’s a license which shows the establishment as a coffeeshop.
+ Bring cash as most coffeeshops will not accept cards. It’s good to have bank notes as well as coins. In Amsterdam, the Euro is the form of currency.
+ It is legal to purchase a maximum of five grams of weed but it’s only recommended to buy one if it’s your first time. Don’t overdo it! There’s nothing worst than seeing a tourist lose his shit because they wasn’t able to handle the goods in Amsterdam. Even if you’re in a state that has decriminalized weed and “know your tolerance,” you’re still in a foreign country and visiting a coffeeshop where you don’t know as much. Can’t hurt to play it safe.
+ If you decide to stay and smoke while in the shop, I would consider it good manners to order at least beverage like a soda or hot chocolate to enjoy.
+ There’s no smoking cigarettes in the coffeeshop but you’re allowed to roll your own joint and mix it with some tobacco.
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