Amsterdam Travel

Amsterdam Travel


The Amsterdams Ult Buro (AUB), Leidsepl. 26, is stuffed with fliers, pamphlets, and guides to help you sift through current events; pick up the free monthly UIT-KRANT at any AUB office to see what’s on. The AUB also sells tickets and makes reservations for just about any cultural event. (09 00 01 91, ‚0.55 per min.; AUB office open M-W, F-Sa 10am-6pm, Th 10am-9pm, Su noon-6pm.) The VW tourist office, Stationspl. 10, has a theater desk that can also make reservations. ( (0900) 400 40 40, ‚0.55 per min. Open M-Sa 10am-5pm.) If you’re thirsty for more info on bars, coffeeshops, gay life, and other events, pick up Shark (; print versions available throughout the city).

CONCERTS. In the summer, the Vondelpark Openluchttheater hosts free performances of all sorts every Wednesday through Sunday. (673 14 99; The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, one of the world’s finest orchestras, plays in the Concertgebouw, Concertgebouwpl. 2-6. Take tram #316 to Museumpl. (671 83 45; Tickets from ‚7. Sept.-June, those under 27 can get last minute tickets for anything that isn’t sold out for ‚7. Free lunchtime concert W 12:30pm, no tickets necessary. Ticket office open daily 10am-7pm. Guided tours Su at 9:30am; ‚7.)

FILM. Check out for movie listings. In the Vondelpark, head left from the main entrance on Stadhouderskade to see what’s on at the stately Filmmuseum independent movie theater. (589 14 00; Info center open M-F from 10am; Sa-Su box office opens lhr. prior to first showing. ‚6.30-7, students and seniors ‚5.) The Movies, Harlemmerstr. 159, is the city’s oldest movie theater, (624 57 90. ‚7.50, students and seniors ‚6.50.)

Lorna Clay volunteers at II Cannabis College (785), the city’s foremost authority on all things related to marijuana, hashish, and hemp. Lets Go got her very informed opinion about cannabis in Amsterdam:

In the 60s, originally the cof-feeshops were known as teahouses. You couldn’t buy cannabis, but you could go and buy tea and smoke it there. Then, when the licenses came out, it was just to provide a bit more choice for people and take it away from the criminals. Right off, there only used to be about four or five coffeeshops here, and that was fine for the people that lived here. Then, since the late 70s, Amsterdam’s become a mecca for smokers.

Unfortunately, Amsterdam has seen a big amount of drug tourism and that’s been exploited by a lot of horrible owners. They think I can sell [tourists] bad cannabis and they’ll never come back, and that’s fine because I’ve made my money.’ There’s 281 coffeeshops in Amsterdam and I can recommend 15, honestly… a lot of the owners don’t even smoke. A good thing to look out for are the members of the BCD-basically a union of coffeeshops. We can give you a BCD map.


The coffee at coffeeshops in Amsterdam is rarely the focal point. Places calling themselves coffeeshops sell pot or hash or will let you buy a drink and smoke your own stuff. Look for the green-and-white Coffee-shop BCD sticker that certifies a coffeeshop’s credibility. Although Amsterdam is known as the hashish capital of the world, marijuana is increasingly popular. Technically, pot is illegal in The Netherlands; soft drugs are merely tolerated. It is unlikely you’ll be punished (though your drugs may be confiscated) if you are carrying 5g of marijuana or hash at any given time. Possession of harder drugs like cocaine and heroin will be severely punished. For info on the legal ins and outs, call the Jeliinek clinic (570 23 55). If your questions pertain only to matters of cannabis or hemp, try the Cannabis College (785).

If you do decide to partake, it’s a good idea not to get too caught up in Amsterdam’s narcotic quirk; use common sense, and remember that any experimentation with drugs can be dangerous. Never buy drugs from street dealers, because you have no way of knowing if they are laced with other, more harmful drugs. Coffeeshops are licensed to sell cannabis, and the good ones regulate the quality of their smokeables very carefully. When you walk into a coffeeshop, ask for a menu, because by law they are not allowed to leave menus out on their tables or advertise their products in any way.

Marijuana is the dried, cured flower of the cannabis plant. Different weeds come in and out of favor much like different beers, and are divided into two main strains: Sativa (like the Haze or Kali Mist” breeds) will get you high, giggly, and energized while Indica (like Afghani Shiva or Buddha) will get you really stoned and relaxed. Pot in The Netherlands is incredibly potent; you’ll likely need to smoke less to get the same high than marijuana from your home country. Unless otherwise noted, pre-rolled joints are rolled with tobacco, which makes smoking harsher on the lungs; however, pure pre-rolled pot joints are sometimes available. Almost no one smokes out of pipes; while some places provide bongs, usually only tourists use them. Dutch marijuana is the most common and costs anywhere from ‚3-12 per gram; most coffeeshops sell bags in set amounts (‚6, 12, etc.). Staff at coffeeshops are accustomed to explaining the different kinds of pot on the menu. When you move from one coffeeshop to


If a company doesn’t even distinguish on their menu between bio or hydro, it’s not worth buying. Bio is when weed’s grown in soil and hydro is when it’s grown in water. Usually when you’re growing hydro, you’re filling it with artificial chemical nutrients. Good quality coffeeshops will sell good quality hydro but in bad quality coffeeshops, they don’t flush the chemicals out of their plants so you get high off the harmful chemicals.

[In a coffeeshop] don’t ask: what’s the strongest? It’s difficult for someone to answer, because what’s strongest for one is not strongest for someone else. Ask them for their most flavorsome, not their strongest. Ask them what they recommend. Never go in and ask for a name because it depends on who grows the particular plant, not the strain. For example, White Widow-it’s just been made famous by the name. You will find they will bump up the price. Never ever be afraid to ask the guy or the girl about their weed. Just like if you walk into a wine bar, you want to ask advice about wine. If they give you [a hard time], honestly, turn around and walk straight out… Don’t give them your business.

Know the difference between Sativa and Indica. Sativa will get you high and giggly and energized and that is something that Haze or Kali Mist will do. When you smoke the Indica, that gets you really stoned and relaxed, and that’s like Afghani Shiva” or Buddha. The choice is: Do you want to get high or stoned?

another, you must either buy drugs from the shop or buy a drink if you want to stay and smoke your own stash.

Hashish is made of the resin crystals extracted from the flowers of the cannabis plant, and comes in three varieties: Black (Indian), blonde (Moroccan), and Dutch (also called ice-o-lator hash). These types can run from ‚4-30 per gram, though the increasingly popular ice-o-lator hash tops out at around ‚20-30 per gram. Typically, the cost of the hash is proportional to its quality and strength. Black hash hits harder than blonde, and ice-o-lator can send even a seasoned smoker off his head.

Spacecakes, Spaceshakes, and Space Sweets are cakes and sweets made with hash or weed; hash chocolate, popsicles, and bonbons are also available. Because they need to be digested, they take longer to affect you (up to lhr.) and longer to rinse out; don’t eat another brownie if you don’t feel effects immediately.

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