Keep these tips in mind when visiting Amsterdam coffeeshops. Some of them might surprise you! Once you're comfortable with these dos and don'ts, make sure to check out our picks for Amsterdam's best coffeeshops too.
DON'T: Confuse 'Coffeeshop' with 'Koffiehuis' or 'Café'
All this said, visitors should know that coffeeshops do not sell alcohol. While they were never really known for being pub-like, some did used to sell beer. But in 2007, the Dutch laws changed and dictated that a shop may either sell alcohol or cannabis products.
DO: Ask Questions About the Menu
But don't just point to a funny-sounding name like "White Widow" or "Bubblegum" and hope for the best. Ask the staff what they recommend and what effects each type has. They often ask something like "Well do you want to be high, or do you want to be stoned?" If you're intimidated, don't be -- coffeeshop employees are friendly, knowledgeable and very accustomed to tourists who don't know exactly how to go about the whole process.
DON'T: Buy Too Much
DO: Buy SomethingIt's perfectly fine to visit a coffeeshop and smoke weed, hash or a joint that you've already purchased somewhere else (which is another reason you shouldn't feel compelled to buy at every shop). But it is considered rude not to at least buy a drink or snack if you do this. You'll want to anyway, as coffeeshops are known for having some of the best coffee (go figure) and fresh juices in the city. Some nicer ones have delectable desserts and typical Dutch hapjes, or little bites popular at happy hour.
DON'T: Underestimate the EffectsEven if you've tried cannabis products in the past, you should still be warned that selections in Amsterdam coffeeshops are quite strong. If you're brand-new to it all, educate yourself by asking the staff about effects and just ease in slowly.
Pre-rolled joints are often rolled with tobacco to cut the strength of the weed or hash a bit; pure weed joints are sometimes available, but these aren't the kind you smoke solo! A final word of warning: beware of the spacecake! Many people don't understand that the effects of cannabis when eaten are much stronger than when smoked. The results -- which many people describe as more of a "trip" -- can be overwhelming if you don't know what you're in for.