Exploring Coffee shops in NL -
Our favorite Coffeshops in Haarlem (Part I) and Amsterdam (Part II) plus the scoop on cannabis in the Netherlands
Naturally as travel bloggers we like to take in as much of the local culture as possible and in the Netherlands that includes smoking some cannabis at their infamous coffee shops. There’s much rumor circling the Netherlands about how the laws changed in 2011 ‘Tourists can’t buy weed here anymore…’ was something we heard before visiting the area. We both found that news very hard to believe as soon as we dropped our bags at our Air BnB – found ourselves the closest coffee shop walked right in (after showing our IDs – you must be 18+ to enjoy the shops) and purchased some fine, stinky Haarlem pot. The misconception that is circling many coffee shops in Amsterdam is that there came a time when these coffee bars had to choose between – alcohol sales and cannabis/coffee sales. Another big change is that most of these coffee shops in the Netherlands must purchase the product from illegal street growers making the industry difficult, pricey and uncertainty about product quality due to unregulated growing practices. The reason we say illegal because most big-time growers here host more than the allowed 5 plants – making their grow an illegal operation. Either way we come from Colorado where we both worked and were very passionate about the cannabis industry in our home country, Emily and myself were apart of a movement, we bud tend cannabis very similarly to the people working behind the bars of these coffee shops. So to clear the smoke on ‘Can tourists buy and smoke weed in Amsterdam and the Netherlands’ YES as long as your older than 18 your good to blaze in Amsterdam and Haarlem.
The Experience inside the Netherlands Coffeeshops
Now we’re going to take you inside some of our favorite coffeeshop spots, places we thought we’re chill, welcoming for tourists and some places that we didn’t enjoy very much - that aren’t with your time or euros. Typically the shops in the Netherlands sell grams, pre rolled joints (careful most have tobacco mixed in ie: spliff), hash, and some have infused treats called space cakes or brownies. We read some background on visiting coffee shops - common practice is to not just buy the pot in these shops - ask for a cappuccino or a juice and spend some time sitting in there. At our first stop - Coffee shop Empire located in Haarlem, we purchased a gram of cannabis to try out and a bit of hash plus two cappuccinos for us both to enjoy. It was a very different experience than visiting a dispensary in Colorado where you're not allowed to enjoy the product inside - in the Netherlands you're free to smoke in these coffee shops so naturally we rolled up, smoked down and sipped up some flavorful coffee beans. Things to remember: start slow by sampling buds at a few different shops, you’re allowed to purchase and carry five grams a day legally in the Netherlands, don’t just enter a shop and blaze your own product this is looked at as rude, support these local businesses as coffee shops not just pot-stops, we don't recommend smoking in public because these coffeeshops exist for a reason.
1. Coffeeshop Empire (located in Haarlem, Netherlands) - our favorite local shop, Empire was the first we visit in all the Netherlands so it will always be a memory for us, good vibes as they welcomed us in and when we walked up and said ‘We’ve never done this before’ the budtender pointed out some suggestions and we were all set. They even had some cozy seating outside where you could enjoy a doobie and people watch. Decent bud quality and a zippy cappuccino as well - we enjoyed starting our days here.
2. Coffeeshop High Times (located in Haarlem, Netherlands) - We frequent this shop as it was close to our Airbnb but also because it was one of the more relaxed coffee shops to go to. I know, your thinking aren’t all the coffee shops relaxed? Not really, most were crowded with tourists or packed with locals and I would be one of the only women inside which made smoking down a bit uncomfortable with twenty eyes on you. Coffeeshop High Times was always relaxed with just the right amount of locals and nice bartenders. Also if your looking to smoke a blunt , this is where you’ll find the wraps (a bit of a rare find here in the Netherlands). Many of the images for this post were taken inside Coffeeshop High Times they were nice enough to let us shoot some photos and I felt comfortable blogging and burning in there - good environment.
3. The Regine (Haarlem, Netherlands) seen below - By far one of our favorites purely on the fact that they had the best bud (better than most shops in Amsterdam which tend to just get crushed with tourists) we saw the entire time while visiting the Netherlands. Every strain we smelt was comparable to Colorado medical standards. As far as hanging out there… there is limited space so finding your own table is a must. Mostly an older, local male crowd we just picked out a couple funky strains and were on our way. Ultra friendly staff that would chat with us about Colorado and bud tending - probably one of our best experiences in all the coffee shops we visit thru the Netherlands. They were also the High Life Cannabis Cup winner - typically would mean nothing to us but their product stood up to this title.
Thanks for reading our post on pot in the Netherlands - we had a blast visiting here, and while we covered a lot in this post I am going to save the Best Coffeeshop in Amsterdam for our Part II post. Check back soon for the follow up to this post on our favorite spot to stop while touring the streets of Amsterdam. Thanks for following us and stay tuned for more... E&F ~MYT