Posted on: May 31, 2014
The most famous coffeeshop in Amsterdam, partly because it’s one of the oldest in the city. This is the first coffeeshop of The Bulldog chain and the third coffeeshop in Amsterdam. It’s where the story began.
In 1974, this used to be a sex shop, which the owner – Henk de Vries – inherited from his father. One day, a guy walked in and asked Henk if there was also pornography with animals for sale. This was the point that Henk de Vries realized that he no longer wanted to own a sex shop. After removing the customer from his store, he threw porn products into the canal. Then he told his friends that the store would be converted into a living room for the neighborhood where smoking is allowed.
Soon after it turned into something bigger as tourists began finding the place too. In December 1975, coffeeshop Bulldog the first was founded by Henk de Vries.
In the early days of Coffeeshop Bulldog The First, the shop also became as could be described as some sort of training ground for the Amsterdam police department. Police often raided the new coffeeshop multiple times on a single day. Inside this Bulldog shop you can learn and see more about this exciting history. These days the shop is more than just a cellar, it’s a full fledged coffeeshop made up out of 3 levels. Inside there’s also a souvenir shop and a nice canal side terrace for those sunny days.
Henk de Vries: Weed brings me peace in hectic moments … When I come home, I love to smoke a joint and analyse the day again in a very relaxed way. (source)
Coffeeshop Bulldog the first wasn’t the first coffeeshop in Amsterdam despite what may be claimed by some. Or Holland for that matter. The first Bulldog coffeeshop was actually the third coffeeshop to open in Amsterdam after coffeeshop Mellow Yellow and coffeeshop Rusland respectively.
The first coffeeshop in Holland wasn’t even located in Amsterdam but in Utrecht. That first coffeeshop in Holland was called Sarrasani – named after a famous German circus – and was located in a wharf cellar on the Oudegracht in Utrecht. It opened in 1968.
Did you know that it’s not legal in the Netherlands to produce cannabis for commercial purposes?
In 2016 the owner of the world famous Bulldog first appeared on what can be considered the Dutch Forbes 500 list (Quote 500). He entered the list on spot 254 of Holland’s wealthiest individuals. His net worth was estimated at around € 95,-million euros. Not too bad for someone who started out from a basement in a sex shop in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
Henk de Vries: I have never met a councillor or mayor who took the time to talk to me about the issues of the Red Light District. (source)