Over 200 municipalities in the Netherlands prohibit drug use in public spaces – who knew?!

People perceive the Netherlands as a place where tall hippies cycle around with a permanent joint hanging from their mouths. After all, if you ever mention to anyone overseas that you live in the Netherlands, it will produce a knowing smile in the other person closely followed by “you smoke a lot of weed then!?”

A stereotype, like always, lacks nuance. In reality, although the national law for the Netherlands allows drug use, more than 200 municipalities prohibit drug use in public spaces.

Stepping across different municipal boundaries within the Netherlands could in fact mean the difference between being fined or not.

Booked your first trip to the Netherlands and want to smoke a spliff in Amsterdam?


Out of the four big cities in the Netherlands, Rotterdam is the only one to have enacted law (and let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t venture outside Amsterdam if you came here to smoke)

In the other small municipalities, the purpose of having the law is to allow authorities to intervene in cases of excess drug use so consistent enforcement of the law is rare.

 

How many municipalities ban drug use in public spaces?


There is a total of 355 municipalities in the Netherlands and 218 ban drug use in a public space. That equates to 60% of the Netherlands. The law is also applied to specific places within a municipality such as Mercatorplein in Amsterdam and the boulevard of Scheveningen.

Is legal inconsistency within a country a good thing?


Jon Schilder, professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, stated “It is absolutely not desirable that ‘lower governments’ make something punishable which the higher law does not want to make punishable.”

However, if challenged in the legal system, the law will likely prevail as it limits inconvenience and allows a stop-gap for situations needing urgent attention.

Jan Brouwer, an expert on Dutch drug policy queries “Does smoking a joint in the public space now cause more nuisance than smoking a cigarette?”

What do you think?

Feat pic: Amsterdam Coffee Shop / Source: Pexels /Alexandra G.

Freya Sawbridge
Freya Sawbridge
Freya was born in Edinburgh but raised in New Zealand (cue every person she meets saying “oh I have always wanted to go there but it’s so far away!”). A restless and curious nature has led her to move countries 5 times in the last 3 years in attempt to find a place she can call home. She contacted DutchReview on a whim and arrived in the Netherlands in summer 2019 to start her internship.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related posts

Latest posts

Here’s how to check into Dutch public transport with your bank card

Hoera! Starting January 31, you can check into NS trains using your debit or credit card. This means that, for the first time, contactless...

The Netherlands is getting rid of its deer farms after new breeding ban

Minister Adema has decided that, from January 1, 2024, deer camps may no longer use the animals for breeding in the Netherlands. As a result,...

6 influencers you didn’t know were actually Dutch

From YouTube to Instagram to TikTok — the Dutch are taking the world of social media by storm. Haven’t come across any Dutch influencers...

It's happening

Upcoming events

The latest Dutch news.
In your inbox.