How to behave in a Dutch Coffeeshop

As John Travolta clearly explains in the opening scene of Pulp Fiction, it is legal to smoke weed in the Netherlands. That’s why maybe the biggest tourist attraction in Holland is the coffeeshop–but how to behave in a Dutch coffeeshop? Of course you can just walk into the first coffeeshop you come across, start smoking the legal herbs of the Dutch and get totally baked. But if you don’t want to stand out as a tourist right away, here are some tips and tricks to enjoy stoners’ paradise like a local and properly know how to behave in a Dutch coffeeshop.


Prepare: scout a nice coffeeshop

First of all, you need decent preparation. Carefully select the coffeeshop you want to hang out at and think about the effect you’re looking for. In most big cities there’s a large variety in coffeeshops, but some are better than others. Search for one that has a nice and relaxed vibe and that isn’t too crowded. If you’re staying there it’s not enough to buy weed, but order drinks and food as well. When served properly, tipping is normal.

Prepare: what’s your flavour?

When you’ve chosen a place where you feel comfortable, ask the person behind the counter which kind of weed suits your experience and expectations. It’s always okay to ask about the strength and effects of the different kinds of weed the menu offers if you’re not sure which one to choose. If you can’t roll a joint, you can buy pre-rolled joints as well. These pre-rolled joints are usually quite strong so you can easily smoke one pre-rolled joint with three or four people. Don’t be too cocky by choosing a strong quality right away. In the Netherlands we’ve turned growing weed to an art form, so be careful even if you’re an experienced user. The most common mistake made by tourists is that they are so high or stoned that they lose control, get ill or even worse. That’s why the best tip is to take it slow.


How to behave in a Dutch Coffeeshop: Sharing is Caring (It’s called a joint for a reason)

Smoking weed is a social business. You don’t have to smoke a whole joint all by yourself. A group of people smoking their own separate joints is the one thing that tells they’re tourists. Besides it’s called a ‘joint’ for a reason! Sharing your happy cigarette can lead to new contacts and it’s a good precaution for getting too high too soon.


How to behave in a Dutch Coffeeshop: Stay far from eatables

Although it might seem like a nice solution for not wanting to smoke, it is strongly discouraged to have eatable weed products. It is very hard to know the dosage you’re using and the effects can be much stronger than smoking a joint. Nowadays almost every shop has alternatives for nicotine tobacco, so if you’re not comfortable with the idea of smoking due to the negative image of cigarettes, you can always try out the nicotine-free tobacco.

Although a bong might be a nice idea every once in a while
Although a bong might be a nice idea every once in a while (you know, if you’re not afraid for other people’s bodyfluids)

Warning! Don’t mix with alcohol

In most shops there won’t be any alcohol in the first place, so this one might be unnecessary, but alcohol and marihuana are a bad combination. The effects of alcohol and marihuana are contradictory, so it suppresses the effects of cannabis. The combination can lead to nausea and headaches, and throwing up in a decent coffeeshop will not be appreciated.

Warning! Don’t buy on the streets

Although you can buy weed legally in the coffeeshops there still is a streetmarket. Most of the time the quality is bad and you can’t be sure of the strength, so avoid dealers outside the shops.


Enjoy! Sit back and RELAX

If you have taken all these tips in account, there’s only one thing left to do. Light up, sit back and enjoy one of the most unique selling points of Dutch society: smoking some good stuff in a legal and safe environment.




  1. […] There’s two things I LOVE doing but I know I SHOULDN’T DO. One of them is having Ben & Jerry’s ‘cookie dough ice-cream’ for breakfast every damn morning; and the other is riding my bicycle while listening to music. There’s something spiritual about listening to Queen’s ‘Bicycle Race’ while your riding your trusty steed down Scheveningen’s pier. Or blasting meneer Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Child‘ on your headphones when coming back from having a good “coffee”. […]


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