This website uses cookies!

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services.

Different cookie preferences
Privacy policy

Cookie declaration

i Cookies are small text files that can be used by websites to make a user's experience more efficient. The law states that we can store cookies on your device if they are strictly necessary for the operation of this site. For all other types of cookies we need your permission. This site uses different types of cookies. Some cookies are placed by third party services that appear on our pages. You can at any time change or withdraw your consent from the Cookie Declaration on our website.

Learn more about who we are, how you can contact us and how we process personal data in our Privacy Policy. Please state your consent ID and date when you contact us regarding your consent.

Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

Name Provider Purpose Expiry Type
cookieConsent De Kade Amsterdam Stores the user's cookie consent state for the current domain. 31 days HTML

Preference cookies enable a website to remember information that changes the way the website behaves or looks, like your preferred language or the region that you are in.

We do not use these kind of cookies

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

Name Provider Purpose Expiry Type
_ga Google The _ga cookie from Google Analytics records a unique ID for our web visitors that is used to generate statistical data about how the visitor uses the website. We have set our Google Analytics cookies as privacy-friendly as possible. This cookie collects information such as: the number of visitors to the website, where visitors come from and the pages they have visited. Maximum 2 years HTTP
_gid Google Registers a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website. 24 hours HTTP
_gat_gtag_xxxxx Google Registers a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website. 1 minute HTTP

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third-party advertisers.

We do not use these kind of cookies

February 17, 2023

Is Weed Legal in The Netherlands?

Due to its long history and cultural significance in the Netherlands, cannabis is considered a significant part of Amsterdam’s identity, and the Dutch laws surrounding it have earned the city the nickname “The City of Freedom. But is Amsterdam really that free regarding cannabis? 

Short answer: no, we aren’t that free. Cannabis is technically still illegal in The Netherlands. The Dutch government has taken a unique approach to managing it’s use. In Dutch we call it: ‘Het Gedoogbeleid’. It translates to ‘tolerance policy’. It has been like this since 1976. That’s almost 50 years already! But what does that mean? And why doesn’t the Dutch government just legalize already?

**Coffeeshops **

In the Netherlands you have been allowed to buy hashish or weed at coffeeshops since 1976. Coffeeshops are establishments where customers can purchase and consume cannabis in a controlled environment. These coffeeshops are licensed and regulated, and the sale of cannabis is strictly controlled. How the shops get their product is formally a mystery since cultivation is prohibited, and coffeeshops can’t purchase cannabis. Yes, it’s confusing.


While possession and use of cannabis are technically illegal in the Netherlands, the government has chosen not to actively enforce the law for small amounts of cannabis. So possession of up to 5 grams for personal use is decriminalised, however, the police may still confiscate it. The government allows the sale of cannabis in licensed coffeeshop and tolerates the possession and use of small amounts of cannabis for personal use within those establishments.
It’s important to note that ‘gedogen’ still doesn’t mean legal - cannabis is still technically illegal, but the government chooses not to prosecute in certain circumstances. Still following?

Is it allowed to smoke weed in public in Amsterdam?

While it is technically illegal to smoke weed in public places throughout the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, you will see lots of people smoke in public. And especially in Amsterdam, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get in trouble for this. But remember: smoking weed in public is prohibited, you can consume cannabis in a coffeeshop without fear of prosecution.

So what is the problem?

Notably absent from toleration of consuming cannabis, is the cultivation of the plant. This has led to a seemingly paradoxical system where coffee shops are allowed to sell soft drugs but where production is nearly always punished. This is referred to as the backdoor problem. Significantly, the quirks of the system’s evolution have led to the paradox that while sales are de facto legalized, the coffeeshops are still supplied via an illegal production system. Criticism has been raised over the years against continued prosecution of cannabis growers.
Another major obstacle that coffeeshops in Amsterdam encounter is the inability to verify the quality and potency of the cannabis products they sell. Legal uncertainties related to the sale of cannabis in the Netherlands mean that coffeeshops are not authorized to conduct tests on their products, leading to possible inconsistencies and safety issues for those who use them. As a result, some coffeeshops may resort to using illegal laboratories to determine the quality and safety of their products.

The weed experiment

A significant change occurred in early 2017, when a slight majority in the House of Representatives allowed for a law to pass that would partly legalize production of cannabis. In late 2017, the newly formed coalition announced that they would seek to implement an experimental new system in certain cities where coffee shops could legally acquire cannabis from a state-appointed producer.
The government hopes that by regulating the production and supply of cannabis, they will be able to reduce the involvement of organized crime in the industry, increase transparency, and better protect public health. However, the experiment is not without controversy, with some critics arguing that it does not go far enough and that it may lead to an increase in drug tourism.
Despite the controversy, the Dutch government is committed to the experiment and is taking steps to ensure its success. The state-regulated growers will be carefully selected and will be subject to rigorous testing and inspection. The government will also closely monitor the experiment and evaluate its impact on public health, safety, and crime.
If successful, the weed experiment could serve as a model for other countries that are grappling with similar issues related to the legalization of cannabis. By regulating the production and sale of cannabis, governments can better protect public health, reduce crime, and ensure that people have access to safe and high-quality products. Maybe in the future, Amsterdam will be the cannabis capital of the world once again.

Want to know more on the history of weed in Amsterdam and the Netherlands? Check it out!

Map marker
Stadionkade 107, Amsterdam

Stadionkade 107,
1076 BN Amsterdam

+31 6 23 85 26 66

Opening hours
Open from 08:00 - 23:00
from Monday - Sunday

Parking-spaces are available

Public transport
Accessible by public transport
Bus stop near Olympic Stadium

Social media
Facebook / Instagram