Is smoking weed in Amsterdam legal? (+ 7 best coffeeshops!)

The answer might surprise you 🌱

You’ve arrived in Amsterdam, you’re ready to hit the coffeeshops, but wait: Is smoking weed in Amsterdam legal?

You’re not the first to ask this question, and you won’t be the last. The Dutch cannabis legislation is pretty complicated, so we’ve broken it down to be understood by normal, non-Dutch-speaking humans (a.k.a. you and us 🤝). 

Pssttt… don’t worry: you’ll be able to smoke weed in Amsterdam while you’re visiting — but it’s not quite as easy as you think!

🚭 Smoking weed in Amsterdam is not actually legal — but it is decriminalised

Believe it or not: smoking weed in Amsterdam is technically not legal (say whaaat?!).

Why do people come to Amsterdam to smoke, then? Well, that’s because the Netherlands has a so-called “tolerance policy” (gedoogbeleid) when it comes to cannabis. This makes smoking weed neither legal nor truly illegal. 

Cannabis has been available for recreational use in Amsterdam since 1976. Image: Depositphotos

Huh? Confusing, we know. 😅 But essentially, this means that consuming weed in Amsterdam (and the rest of the Netherlands) is decriminalised, and tolerated, as long as:

  • It’s not being done in an area of Amsterdam where smoking is banned
  • The weed is sold by a coffeeshop with a valid licence
  • The person isn’t carrying more than five grams
  • The person is over 18 years old 
  • The smoker doesn’t cause a nuisance to the public

💨 The ins and outs of the law: what’s allowed and what’s not?

Of course, a law wouldn’t be a law if it was easy and straightforward. 😉

So, what’s the deal with Amsterdam’s smoking ban? And how about smoking in bars? Let’s have a look.

Is smoking weed in Amsterdam legal in public places?

Technically, smoking weed in any outside public space is not allowed, but in practice, you will not get in trouble for it. Wanna blaze it up at a public park? Go for it, except…

Smoking weed has been officially banned in some designated areas of Amsterdam’s city centre. 

You’ll see signs like this in some parts of the city centre. 👀 Image: DutchReview

Yup, in February of 2023, the municipality of Amsterdam made headlines around the globe when they announced a partial smoking ban, the blowverbod

However, this widely dreaded ban is not as bad as it first may sound. Firstly, it only counts for certain areas in the old part of town, namely: de Wallen (the Red Light District), the Dam, the Damrak, and the Nieuwmarkt. 🚭

Secondly, according to various Dutch sources, the Dutch police and the handhaving (municipal law enforcement officials) often let you get away with a warning at first. 

That is not a guarantee, though, so be cautious — because blazing it up in one of these areas could potentially land you a juicy €100 fine. Ouch!

Is smoking weed in Amsterdam legal in bars?

In the old days (or well, before 2008), Amsterdam coffeeshops prided themselves in providing their customers with both smokes and spirits. 🍻

In 2008, however, the Netherlands enforced a new law that forced 750 coffeeshops all over the country to choose between selling cannabis or alcohol. 

Nowadays, sharing a bud and some booze is only allowed in certain smoke-friendly bars,  such as the Coffeeshopamsterdam Café, where booze, buds, and buddies can still come together for a great time. 🙌

Woman hands holding a cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol in a bar in Amsterdam wondering if it's legal
Ah, a refreshing beer — perfect for preventing the classic “cotton mouth”! Image: Depositphotos

READ MORE |  What Amsterdam bars can I smoke weed in (that aren’t coffeeshops)?

Here’s the catch: you can smoke and drink in these cafes, but they do not sell weed — you have to bring it with you. 

On top of that, the weed you smoke inside these bars has to be pure (meaning it can’t be mixed with tobacco), because the Netherlands has a strict ban on smoking tobacco in public indoor spaces. 

Is smoking weed in Amsterdam legal in coffeeshops?

Of course, the most common place to smoke weed in Amsterdam is the place you buy it at: in coffeeshops (no, not the places that sell coffee). 

With over 160 coffeeshops spread throughout the Dutch capital, you have plenty of options to choose from. 

A coffeeshop at Rembrandtplein square in Amsterdam, Netherlands
According to the municipality of Amsterdam, around 23% of tourists visit a coffeeshop during their stay. Image: Depositphotos

Again, by law, coffeeshops can’t allow you to smoke tobacco inside of their establishment, so you’ll have to go for a pure joint. Besides that, you’re free to smoke away to your liking inside or on their terrace.

READ MORE | Visiting a coffeeshop in Amsterdam: etiquette, tips and tricks for first timers

Amsterdam coffeeshops are great for many reasons, not only to smoke weed. Similar to bars, they are social places where people can meet and spend time with friends, all while enjoying some of that fine Dutch herb. ☘️ 

Is smoking weed in Amsterdam legal in my home?

Smoking weed at home (or at your accommodation) can be a great experience! Think about it: the comfy bed is right there, the fridge is stocked with food, and you don’t have to worry about how to get home.

But is it okay to smoke weed in Amsterdam when you’re in your own four walls? Ja, technically it is. Although your neighbours might not like the smell, you are allowed to smoke weed in the privacy of your own home. 

How about a cheeky joint to get the creative juices flowing? 😉 Image: Depositphotos

If weed causes you to be a nuisance to others, however, then that is something that can be acted upon, and your neighbours could call the police, for example. Therefore, if you do like to have an occasional smoke at home, make sure you are being considerate, especially if you live in a flat. 

That being said, many AirBnBs and rental apartments will have a policy against smoking, so make sure you do not get in trouble. When in doubt, ask your landlord — or stick to the balcony just to be safe.

🇳🇱 Is weed legal in the rest of the Netherlands?

The Dutch tolerance policy applies to the entire lowlands except for two cities. Wait what?

Yup, there are two Dutch cities in which cannabis is not just decriminalised but actually completely legal since December 2023: Tilburg and Breda.

Both located in the south of the country, the two cities are part of an ongoing trial for legal weed. During this experimental phase, 19 local coffeeshops are selling weed from three government-designated growers.

The ultimate goal of this trial is to expand the Netherlands’ tolerance of marijuana to full legality.

☘️ Where to buy the best weed in Amsterdam city centre: our top 5 picks

Ready to try out smoking weed in Amsterdam? Leuk! Let us give you our insider scoop and suggest some of our favourite coffeeshops in Amsterdam to buy weed from. 

1. Boerejongens West: high-end weed with the best advice

They even have their very own doorman! Image: DutchReview

The Boerejongens Coffeeshops are among the most popular coffeeshops in Amsterdam. With four locations spread throughout the city, this is a great option that’s never far away.

What makes this place unique is its classy vibe and knowledgeable staff. Besides great weed, they also sell some of Amsterdam’s best hash and edibles (a heavenly Red Velvet space cake, for example) — we high-ly recommend it! 

📍 Where to find it: Baarsjesweg 239, 1058 AA Amsterdam

2. De Tweede Kamer: the authentic Amsterdam weed experience

A true classic! Image: DutchReview

If you’re looking for a piece of Dutch cannabis history, De Tweede Kamer is your place to be. This place, located on the famous Singel and founded all the way back in 1985, is a favourite among locals and tourists alike.

We’re not exactly sure why, but its name is a reference to the Dutch House of Representatives — perhaps pointing a finger at those responsible for the confusing cannabis laws? 😉 

The staff are not politicians, however, but they are true connoisseurs of cannabis, happy to answer any and every question you may have. 

📍 Where to find it: Heisteeg 6, 1012 WC Amsterdam

3. Coffeeshop Amsterdam: come and hang out

When in doubt, ask your questions to the lovely staff members — they’ll be happy to help. Image: DutchReview

Coffeeshop Amsterdam (formerly known as Dampkring 2) is a great coffeeshop if you actually want to hang around and smoke. With more than 90 seats spread across three floors, Coffeeshop Amsterdam is guaranteed to have an open spot for you.

The relaxing atmosphere and the friendly people make this place a true gem, where you can enjoy not only a nice joint, but also delicious (non-alcoholic) drinks, and lekkere bites — perfect for the munchies.

4. Coffeeshop Noord: for a luxurious experience

Yup, that’s a coffeeshop! Image: Supplied

If you’re ever looking for a coffeeshop in Amsterdam North, look no further than Coffeeshop Noord.

Located on the IJplein, a 12-minute walk from Amsterdam North’s ferry port, this coffeeshop is a true hidden gem, serving some of the city’s most high-quality cannabis products.

Whether you’re on the hunt for a delectable edible or some smooth weed, Coffeeshop Noord’s expert staff will make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for.

5. Coffeeshop Relax: the perfect place to… well, relax

A stone’s throw away from Amsterdam’s Central Station, you’ll find Coffeeshop Relax — another great coffeeshop in the city centre.

…And when we say great, we mean award-winning. Yup, this place has won several prizes for its quality products, like second place in the 2022 HighLife Cup for its Amnesia G13 strain and Best Hash in 2020. 

If that doesn’t convince you, Coffeeshop Relax also has an inviting interior, various fresh pastries, and truly gezellige staff. 

📍 Where to find it: Binnen Oranjestraat 9, 1013 HZ Amsterdam (for the centre), and Vechtstraat 9, 1078 RE Amsterdam (for south Amsterdam)

6. Coffeeshop Siberië: for canal views away from the crowds 

Just look at these stunning double doors! Image: DutchReview

Boasting an impressively extensive menu which advises you of the strengths and effects of each weed strain, Coffeeshop Siberië also has special items on the menu that change regularly. 

But besides having amazing weed, this place has so much more to offer — most importantly, an extraordinarily good vibe. 

Located in a stunning canal house off of the Brouwersgracht, the walls of this coffeeshop are decorated with local art, while all the weed is professionally tested in labs. We’re big fans!

📍 Where to find it: Brouwersgracht 11, 1015 GA Amsterdam

7. Coffeeshop Oost: authentic and affordable

Stunning, both inside and out. Image: Supplied

Coffeeshop Oost represents the perfect blend of old and new. It’s a sleek new shop located in a charming old building, selling the authentic cannabis experience in a modern setting.

Though this coffeeshop will pull you in with its affordable prices and sleek look, it’ll leave you wanting more thanks to its incredible variety of quality products.

From delicious spacetries (get it? Pastries but spacey! 😋) to quality hash and weed, the knowledgeable budtenders have everything you could want and more. 

To get more info on the best places for smoking weed in Amsterdam, be sure to check out the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam.

🪁 Things to do after smoking weed in Amsterdam

Getting high in Amsterdam legally is one thing, keeping yourself entertained while you’re riding the wave is another. 🏄‍♀️

Depending on the headspace you’re in after smoking weed in Amsterdam, some activities may be more suitable for you than others. Therefore, we advise you to decide on your trip-activity after you get high in order to avoid spending money on an experience that you will end up hating.

Whether you need time to chill, something to stimulate the brain, or just a good ol’ trippy trip, these activities should do the trick:

  • Relax in a park and watch the clouds go by
  • Feel your heightened senses at a museum
  • Pet some cute goats at a petting zoo
  • See the city from another angle on a canal cruise
  • Challenge your friends at a boardgame café
  • Play some glow-in-the-dark minigolf
  • Satisfy your munchies at the Foodhallen
  • Go listen to some live music
  • See a movie at the Tuchinsky theatre
  • Try your luck at an escape room

⛈️ What if I have a bad trip after smoking weed in Amsterdam?

Worried man sitting on sofa with head on his hands on a bad trip in Amsterdam after smoking weed.
Don’t worry, it can happen to the best of us (unfortunately). Image: Depositphotos

If you have a bad trip after smoking weed in Amsterdam, first of all: don’t panic. We know that’s easier said than done, but remember that your trip won’t last forever.

It’s important to remember that anyone can have a bad trip — no matter how experienced of a smoker they are. Signs of a bad trip may include increased anxiety or a sensation that time is standing still.

That being said, bad trips are generally harmless, and, as we said, they will pass. In addition, there are some things that you can do or plan ahead for in order to ease your mind if you start feeling niet zo leuk (not so good).

  • Go to a place where you can relax
  • Focus on your breathing
  • Make sure you have a friend with you
  • Do things that calm you down
  • Talk about nice things
  • Drink some water and have a snack
  • Take a nap
  • If needed, seek medical help

What did we learn? Smoking weed is neither legal nor illegal in Amsterdam. Though confusing, this means that you can enjoy Amsterdam’s best cannabis without worries as long as you stick to the city’s rules.

Not in the mood to smoke your weed? Why not try some edibles? Or are you more the hash kinda person? Either way, we’re sure you’ll find what you’re looking for in Amsterdam — the city of illegal legal weed.

Did you know smoking weed in Amsterdam is not legal? Tell us in the comments!

Is smoking weed in Amsterdam legal? Frequently asked questions

Where in Amsterdam is it legal to smoke weed?

What happens if I get caught smoking weed in an area of Amsterdam where it is banned?

Can I smoke weed indoors in Amsterdam?

What are the rules in Amsterdam coffeeshops?

What is the best coffeeshop in Amsterdam?

Feature Image:Depositphotos

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