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10 Tips For Using Drugs in Amsterdam

Posted on: November 7, 2014

10 Tips For Using Drugs in Amsterdam

Drugs in Amsterdam

(This article has been updated on 20 July 2017)

Are you going to visit Amsterdam and are you planning to use drugs? Then this article might be a good read for you! :-)

We thought it would be good to publish some useful tips for those would like to experience soft and/or hard drugs in Amsterdam. There are a lot misunderstandings when it comes to drugs in the Netherlands. Before we go into that, we’d like to let you know how the Dutch think about soft drugs in general. Most Dutchmen don’t consider weed or hash dangerous. And most of them do not have a problem with the coffeeshops (this is how we call cannnabis stores) or people who occasionally use soft drugs. Although it must be said that the use of alcohol is much more accepted in the Netherlands than smoking cannabis.

Cannabis Coffeeshops in Amsterdam


Fun fact: Did you know that only 7% of the Dutch population uses cannabis?

Cannabis use in the Netherlands

Use Dutch population: 7%
Use Dutch youth: 7.8%
Number of hospitalizations:  89 (main diagnoses)
Number of selling points: 614

Alcohol use in the Netherlands

Use Dutch population: 78%
Use Dutch youth: 43%
Number of hospitalizations: 6.473 (main diagnoses)
Number of selling points: 70.000

Source: National Drug Monitor (Annual Report 2012, published November 5, 2013)

Coffeeshop The Bulldog was one of the first coffeeshops in the world. It's a place where you can buy and use drugs in Amsterdam.
The Bulldog is one of the first cannabis stores (aka coffeeshops) in the world.

The Netherlands has a reputation for being a country that likes to do business and for having a liberal society; These are just a few reasons why we allow cannabis in our country. Tolerating soft drugs doesn’t mean that everyone uses it, in fact, most citizens of the Netherlands don’t even use cannabis.

During our tours in the Red Light District our local guides can tell you much more about drugs in the Netherlands. We’ll share all the things you didn’t know about this subject. For example: Did you know that producing cannabis for commercial purposes in the Netherlands is totally illegal? And did you know that smoking weed in Amsterdam on the street is not allowed? Hear more fun facts during our fascinating Red Light District tours.

Drugs and Sex Trade Included in Dutch GDP

Did you know that the revenue of the illegal and legal drug industry in the Netherlands is included into the Dutch Gross Domestic Product (GDP)? This might sound weird, but it’s true! Since 25 June 2014, the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics includes the trade of illegal activities in the Dutch GDP. A few examples of these illegale activities: XTC, cocaine, heroin, smuggling, etc. The trade in these illegal activities are estimated by the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics and based on police sources.

The graph below shows the trade in legal and illegal activities. According to the Bureau of Statistics the trade in cannabis is euro.

Graph GDP of the Netherlands - Trade in legal and illegal activities
Source: NRC Q – based on numbers of the Dutch Bureau of Statistics (CBS)

The GDP of the Netherlands in 2010 was 586.7 billion euros, but after including the trade in these activities the Dutch GDP increases with 44.7 billion. So the Netherlands have become 7.5 percent ‘richer’.

Drugs Tips

We believe that it would be best if most drugs would be legalised. It seems that we are far away from having that, so therefore we are providing you with 10 tips on how to use drugs in Amsterdam. First thing first: a “cafe” means “pub” throughout the Netherlands; a “coffeeshop” is where one procures cannabis. While marijuana is not technically legal in the Netherlands, the possession and purchase of small amounts (<5 gram) of “soft drugs”(ie marijuana, hashish, space cakes and mushroom-based truffles) is allowed and users won’t be prosecuted for smoking or carrying this amount. This means that coffeeshops are actually conducting an illegal business – but this is tolerated to a certain extent.

The Dutch government has let individual municipalities decide for themselves whether to enforce the national weed pass. Therefor there are almost no municipalities which have implemented this pass.

10 Tips for Using Soft Drugs in Amsterdam:

  1. Drugs are not bad, mkay :-)
  2. Only use drugs when you want to. Don’t let anyone else decide this for you.
  3. Don’t do drugs on an empty stomach.
  4. Make sure you have something sugary around. Like a Coca-Cola. Take that when you feel dizzy.
  5. Ask how much THC it contains, when you’re purchasing cannabis. The Dutch cannabis has an average THC-level of 14.6%.
  6. Tell the staff at the coffeeshop how experienced you are with cannabis. They are there to help you!
  7. Use it at a place where you feel comfortable.
  8. Start off with a small drag and wait 10/15 minutes. Take your time, there is no rush.
  9. Chillax… Don’t worry about a thing,.. cause every little thing, gonna be all right.
  10. Fresh air is your friend!

Mush truffles (a.k.a Magic Mushrooms) is legal in Amsterdam. A smart shop is a place which sells this drug in The Netherlands.
An advertisement of a so called smart shop in the Red Light District.

10 Tips on How to Use Hard Drugs in Amsterdam:

So, how about hard drugs? Drugs like XTC, cocaine, MDMA, speed and LSD (which are all totally illegal in Holland by the way). We assume that those who’d like to use hard drugs in Amsterdam, have already experienced some drugs before. Most of the drug incidents in Amsterdam happen to those who know too little of using drugs and often it’s the hard drugs that cause damage to those people. Information is king on this subject!

Ignore Street Drug Dealers in Amsterdam
A new anti-street dealer campaign in Amsterdam launched in July 2017.

Ignore Street Dealers!

10 Tips for Using Drugs in Amsterdam.
Ignore street dealers in Amsterdam. They sell fake drugs!
    1. Only use drugs when you want to. Don’t let anyone else decide this for you.
    2. Never buy drugs in Amsterdam from drug dealers on the streets in the Red Light District. Usually it’s fake and when it’s not fake it’s mostly very bad quality that can easily land you in the hospital or even worse!
    3. Get your drugs tested! Did you know you could get your drugs tested legally in Amsterdam? There are a few companies, located 15 minutes away from the Red Light District, called Jellinek & GGD, where you can get your drugs tested by experts. Cost = 2 or 3 Euros per test.
    4. Don’t combine magic truffles (“magic mushrooms”) with alcohol or cannabis. And let the staff of a smart shop inform you on how to use this drug.
    5. Make sure you have some water around. Stay hydrated!
    6. Don’t do drugs or alcohol on empty stomach. Avoid fat, go for carbohydrates.
    7. Stick to one drug.
    8. Start of with a small doses.
    9. Take something sugary if you feel dizzy and get yourself some fresh air.
    10. Enjoy the ride!

Magic truffles and Smart Shops

Smart shops – which offer organic uppers and natural hallucinogens – have long been know for selling magic mushrooms. But in the year 2000, the Dutch government banned them. Nearly 200 varieties of fungus then went on the forbidden list – though conspicuously missing was the magic truffle.

Fun Fact: A smart shop is a place where you can purchase magic mushrooms (a.k.a. “magic truffles”). Counter staf advise on the nuances of dosages and possible effects. Listen to them – their advice will help you with a good and safe trip.

Magic truffles are legal in Amsterdam and in the rest of Holland. In smart shops they are named “Magic Truffles”. Scientifically speaking truffles are not mushrooms and therefor they do not fall within the reach of the Opium Act. Magic truffles are allowed to be produced, purchased, sold and consumed in the Netherlands. In most English speaking countries magic truffles are called magic mushrooms.

Although magic truffels are legal, they are definitely not popular among the Dutch. The magic truffels are mostly being sold to tourists.

Information is key!

Drugs are not bad perse, you just gotta be informed on how to take them. The staff in (cannabis) coffeeshops and smart shops are more than willing to inform you (on how to use drugs in Amsterdam). You could also go to Wikipedia to get more information on these drugs or just ask our local guides.

This is the first smart shop in The Netherlands. It sells magic mushrooms. This one is located in the Red Light District of Amsterdam.
This is a smart shop in the Netherlands. It sells magic mushrooms/truffles. Smart shop Kokopelli is located in the Red Light District.

Fake Drugs in Amsterdam

There are many (fake) street dealers in Amsterdam’s city centre. They stand on Leidse Square, Rembrandt Square, Waterloo Square and in the Red Light District. If they see that you’re not interested in cocaine or XTC, they will ignore you. They usually stand on the Warmoesstraat, Stoofsteeg, Lange Niezel & Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam. These street dealers always sell fake stuff and can get aggressive. Don’t buy it… Seriously, you’ll get ripped off!

In a period of 15 months a total of 1208 street dealers were arrested for the selling of fake drugs in Amsterdam. All together they were responsible for 4857 incidents, 3051 of which were related to the sale of fake drugs. That’s 62%. Most of the victims are men between the age of 20 and 40 from Germany and Great Britain. These tourists come to Amsterdam for the weekend to do everything that god has forbidden: A pill or something to sniff are part of the Amsterdam experience for them. But all too often they don’t get what they bargained for. The XTC pill turns out to be an aspirin or a contraceptive pill, the gram of cocaine: baking powder.
(Source: Jellinek)

The municipality of Amsterdam, police and public prosecutor want to put a stop to the nuisance of fake drug dealers but that may be hard to do. Stronger punishments raise legal objections. Current Dutch drug laws do not apply to the sale of fake drugs and the public prosecutor believes that a separate law to fight fake drugs isn’t feasible. Fake drug dealers can only be punished with fines totalling a couple 100 euros. The worst cases can get a maximum sentence of 6 weeks.

Most tourists who have used drugs in Amsterdam knew in advance what they wanted to get:

54% Knew in advance that they were going to use softdrugs, like cannabis.

1% Knew in advance that they were going to use just harddrugs.

15% Knew in advance that they were going to use soft- and harddrugs.

30% Decided in Amsterdam that they were going to use drugs.

(Source: Jellinek)

Fake drugs in Amsterdam Red Light District
We spotted this sign on the window of a store in the Red Light District.

TIP: DO NOT buy drugs on the streets from dealers. They sell rubbish and can get very aggressive!

So where should I buy hard drugs in Amsterdam then?

If you’re really keen on buying XTC, cocaine, MDMA or any other illegal drug like that, we’d advice you to buy it in a club from someone who’s really having a blast. Usually it’s not that difficult to spot someone who has a bit more fun and energy than the rest of the crowd. Ask that person what he’s or she’s having and if there is anything for sale.

Don’t be stupid, don’t buy it on the street from dealers! Especially not on Leidse Square, the red light district, Museum Square or around Rembrandt Square – in other words: the more touristic areas. These street dealers sell fake stuff or even worse: White heroin as cocaine. This happened in the end of 2014; a few tourists bought fake cocaine from a street dealer and passed away because it was actually white heroine.

Amsterdam Anti Drug Campaign against street dealers.
A drug-warning from the City of Amsterdam in November 2014.

It would be great to have the opportunity to get your drugs tested in every bar, club or festival. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in Amsterdam yet. Hopefully the Dutch government will allow this in the near future. As we all know that drugs are being used in pretty much every club in the world. Lot of locals are using the services of that drug test lab. Or they go online to search for a drug report.

Where can I get my drugs tested in Amsterdam?

In Amsterdam, there are several places where you can actually can get your hard drugs tested legally. Although XTC, MDMA, cocaine are illegal in the Netherlands, it’s still very popular here. There are many ways to get it tested in a way that is totally legal in the Netherlands! This is what most locals do before using it.

Tips For Using Drugs in Amsterdam XTC

  • You can get your drugs tested at a official and legal test company called Jellinek located on the Keizersgracht 572 and Jacob Obrechtstraat 92.
  • Another place that test XTC, cocaine, MDMA, etc in Amsterdam is the GGD which is the Public Health Service of Amsterdam. The GGD is located on Valckenierstraat 4.
  • Most smart shops (those shops that offer magic mushrooms) in Amsterdam have test kits which can be bought for a couple of euro. Test your drugs yourself by following the instructions. Or let the personal help you out. The employees will not report you if you’ve bought some cocaine or some pills. They are more willing to inform you on the quality.

An Interview With the Founder of the Drug Test Lab in Amsterdam

We interviewed August de Loor who is the founder of Amsterdam’s Drug Consultancy Bureau. We wanted to know more about those legal drug tests in Amsterdam which is a great way to reduce risks among drug users. CLICK HERE to read this exclusive interview and to get some tips from this expert.

Drug Culture in Holland

During our tours, our local guides can give you more tips for using drugs in Amsterdam and tell you more about the drug culture in Holland. They can answer most of your questions. Wanna know what’s legal and what not? Or would like to know why illegal drugs are tested by legally by organizations of the city of Amsterdam? Join our tours, ask our local guide and we’ll tell you all about it!

Enjoy this article? Others who read this also read these 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Drugs in Holland and Undercover Police In Amsterdam Hunt Fake Drug Dealers

8 Responses to 10 Tips For Using Drugs in Amsterdam

  1. Jane D. says:

    i asked many Dutch people and none say they do drugs. Its mostly tourists. LOL.

  2. Alasdair McNelly says:

    I’m actually surprised it’s as high (pardon the pun) as 7%

  3. Trey Fredericksen Boyce says:

    I wonder if the USA will ever give up on the war on drugs and just give in? I wonder if it would really make a difference for the worse if it was legalized. I know it is easy to say yes, but would it?

  4. Jocelyn Rotella says:

    I agree with amsterdam and there drug laws. The free heroin clinics for addicts should be practiced in the u.s.a.. I’m sure it would reduce crime rate tremendously. They should have same type of clinics for meth users also, where it is monitored and controlled, since it’s used mostly for focus and productivity in my observation and experience. And at the same time people are addicted enough they can not function without it.

  5. counterstrike says:

    The tips is very fascinating

  6. Georgie says:

    As a UK resident and a habitual cocaine user, I hope that one day the UK will offer illicit drug facilities. I think they would find that most new users just need someone to talk to and a bit of direction. The amount of money they would save from this kind of program, not to mention the young people who would take a completely different path.

    The war on drugs is not working. A more direct aproach of love and care would save the UK billions. It’s frightening to think what the US would accomplish.

    We need to be progressive, preventative measures have failed everyone. Myself included.

    • 5un1L says:

      Well put Georgie. Drug addiction, just like alcohol or cigarette addiction is not a law enforcement issue, it’s a health issue. (para quoting the genius of Russell Brand here a bit)

  7. martin says:

    I had a ball of time great experience. Nothing too drastic mind you….Great place to unwind.

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