Could this be the end of drug tourism in Amsterdam? Weed sales to foreigners potentially banned

The end of a lads trip to Amsterdam could be nigh: Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema wants to end drug tourism in Amsterdam. 

If her plan is successful, coffeeshops will only be allowed to sell weed, hash, brownies, and other goods to residents of the Netherlands.

“I expect, an important reason for [tourists] to book a budget flight for two days in Amsterdam will disappear,” Halsema told De Volkskrant.

At the same time, she wants to protect coffeeshop owners against organised crime.

Residents only

Halsema has her target set on 166 coffeeshops that attract unwanted visitors to the city centre. By banning sales to foreigners she hopes the number of coffeeshops will drop. This, in turn, will reduce nuisance, and make the soft drug market more transparent and controllable for police.

If tourists are no longer allowed to purchase soft drugs in coffeeshops, Amsterdam will only need approximately 68 coffeeshops. “A huge difference!” says Halsema.

A national law in 2012 made it possible for tourists to be banned from coffeeshops if municipalities chose to enforce it. However, only several municipalities have implemented the rule so far. Amsterdam was not one of them.

What measures is Halsema proposing?

There are three measures in Halsema’s new plan.

  1. The introduction of an “i-criterion” that would restrict coffeeshop sales to residents.
  2. Limit the number of coffeeshops allowed to be part of a chain to prevent major companies from emerging.
  3. Increase the amount of stock a coffeeshop is allowed to have on hand from the current maximum of 500 grams to regulate the back door of coffeeshops.

To enforce the restrictions, authorities will be able to check coffeeshops to ensure they’re only serving residents of the Netherlands. “We assume that a certain type of tourist will no longer choose Amsterdam. Our goal is to shrink the market,” says Halsema.

When will the ban take effect?

There’s no quick fix for the issue — Halsema believes the earliest timeline could be next year. “These are major changes about which there are many opinions in Amsterdam,” says Halsema.

“You must also offer coffeeshop owners a reasonable transition period and we want to introduce another quality mark for entrepreneurs who are acting in good faith. All those things take time.”

What do you think about Amsterdam’s proposed ban to coffeeshop customers? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Add Weed/Unpslash

Samantha Dixon
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.


  1. Restricting and closing coffeeshops will cause that foreigners will be served by runners which will make the Amsterdam softdrug market less controllable and more opaque (less transparent). This is already the case in some Dutch cities near the Belgium border who restricted their coffeeshop policies.

    All this has nothing to do with drugtoerism, but with the wish of the Dutch government to not been seen (critisised) as drugsparadise by other nations.

    But they forget why the coffeshop game in existence in the first place! In the seventies the Dutch government allowed homedealers to get the drugs scene and the nuisance of the street. This and the diversion of harddrugs and softdrugs by law in 1968 eventually led to the fenomenon of the coffeeshop.

  2. I believe it’s going to cost you. Every time someone wants to make a name for them shelves they want to stir things up. YOU’LL be sorry.


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