Postcards From Amsterdam: Changes Ahead?

Wander anywhere in the centre of Amsterdam and the scent of cannabis is bound to waft under your nose. One quarter of all visitors to the city try marijuana during their stay and the government has decided that so-called "weed tourism" is getting out of hand, particularly in the border towns frequented by Europeans from neighbouring countries. Earlier this year it was announced that it would push for a visitor ban, requiring membership for coffee shop patrons and allowing membership only to Dutch residents. This month it was also decided that the shops may no longer sell products containing more than 15 per cent THC, which can currently be as high as 25 per cent.

amsterdam coffee shops

While the constitutionality of a ban on visiting tokers is discussed and shop owners wonder how they will comply with new restrictions, many Dutch people wonder what is happening to their liberal society. Will these bans change the culture and decrease the amount of visitors (and tourism revenue) to Amsterdam? Will there be an increase in dangerous street dealing?

What do you think about the coffee shop culture in Amsterdam?

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9 years ago

I put in my three (Euro) cents on this issue here. Sure it makes a difference if you’re an 18-year old backpacker or a 40+ tourist, but for what it’s worth…

Reply to  andyhiggs1969

Cheers for sharing your post on the issue, Andy! I’ve replied over on your blog =) ~Andrea.

9 years ago

Definitely will be interesting to see! The debate about legalizing pot in the US will be watching for sure… Not quite the same thing, but I couldn’t believe it when I was living in NYC and they outlawed smoking indoors. Now I find it vile living in Las Vegas that they haven’t done the same. Then again, I don’t sit for 12 hours straight smoking and gambling. It’s all about the numbers!

Reply to  Abby

Ugh – I really hate that about Las Vegas…we were talking about that with some European friends yesterday. It’s so unpleasant to be in the casinos with all the smoke.

9 years ago

I have been to the coffee shops in Amsterdam although it is not really my thing – but I think that A LOT of people just go to Amsterdam for the coffee shops and not for the beautiful architecture or culture, so I think that they would potential lose a lot of tourism revenue. This will affect not only the coffee shops but also hostels, hotels, souvineer shops, bars, and even the cultural attractions.

Jade Johnston

9 years ago

Of course Amsterdam and the Dutch wouldn’t have to deal with this weed tourism issue if neighbouring countries didn’t have such silly prohibition laws in place.

9 years ago

I could care less about the ban personally, as I’d love to go to Amsterdam for other reasons, but I do wonder how this will after their tourism.

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