A complete Coffee shop etiquette guide

A coffee shop in the Netherlands isn’t a place where you can have baked goods and coffee. You can get baked as coffee shops in Holland are legal marijuana dispensaries. Most of the coffee shops in Amsterdam can be found around the Red light district( sex worker district) . I went to the Bull Dog which is supposedly the oldest coffee shop in Amsterdam a few of the Coffee shops claim this.

The first time I visited Amsterdam I skipped the coffee shops. Amsterdam was my first solo trip and I visited again just for Kings Day.. And on this trip I went to a coffee shop. I don’t have buckets loads of coffee shop experience. I make up for this inexperience by having a really close Dutch friend named Monique who’s more like my big sister than friend.  I also hated the way tourists were acting in Amsterdam after getting high which means this post will be a bit of a rant so please bear with me.


Don’t expect alcohol to be served

Legally coffee shops aren’t allowed to sell alcohol on site. You will find some bars where you can smoke inside of the bar having bought your joint from a coffee shop.

Read more at : https://www.tripsavvy.com/amsterdam-coffeeshops-cant-sell-alcohol-1456630



Don’t expect bong’s and pipes

In Amsterdam bongs and pipes aren’t popular instead joints are what people use mostly. You won’t normally find them at coffee shops.


Don’t smoke tobacco

You aren’t allowed to smoke cigarettes inside of coffee shops. This is another law and you could be asked to leave if you are found smoking. Some of them do allow you to but, ask first and be considerate. If you aren’t allowed to smoke cigarettes inside the coffee shop, smoke outside I saw many people doing this.


Don’t buy too much

Buying too much is unnecessary as you can always go back for more. Remember it is legal to smoke in the Netherlands at a coffee shop but it isn’t legal to carry weed on you to another European country. People risk it but, it could land you in trouble.

A digital feed of Weed photo at the Hash Marihuana & hemp Museum in Amsterdam

Do take it easy with space cake

Space cake for those of you who don’t know are cakes, brownies which have marijuana baked inside of them. Space cake takes longer to kick in but, when it does it make you very high. In high school a kid in my year decided it would be funny to give the home economics teacher a whole weed muffin. Needless to say the teacher got very high at the time it was a silly, funny story but, the poor teacher took a long time to get sober. Rather have a small piece and give it time to kick in if you are going to eat space cake.


Ask about the menu options

There are a number of different options on the menu in coffee shops. You can buy different types of marijuana. Some of them are stronger than others so if you know little to nothing about weed like me rather ask the employees at the coffee shop what they recommend. A few polite questions are the way to go.


Do buy something

So I’ve read about tourists going to coffee shops and buying nothing just to see what it’s like inside. If you want to do that don’t sit down and take up place. You can buy cake the non space cake kind and coffee, tea, cool drink inside of many coffee shops. Do at least buy a cup of coffee if you intend on visiting.

Buy from licensed establishments 

Go to a coffee shop which will have it’s license clearly displayed in front window or on the door. Buying from someone on the street is illegal. Stick to the rules and avoid fines and or jail time.

I added this The Bulldog coaster photo to one of a canal in Amsterdam. Don’t buy from an illegal place when you can got to coffee shops like The Bulldog


Don’t ride a bicycle directly after

The Netherlands is bicycle crazy and if you are riding one rather wait till you sober up before riding. If you are in a busy place like Amsterdam it’s best not to ride your bicycle directly after. Traffic is killer and bicycle riders are rather aggressive.

Bicycles and canals on King’s Day in Amsterdam. Don’t smoke and bike immediately after.

My rant

This part pissed me off big time the streets of Amsterdam central basically smell like weed almost 24/7. I hated the fact that people were walking around smoking all over.  The smell was awful. The smoke clouds sucked. And I kept on thinking that it was so stupid to smoke outside in the cold I visited Amsterdam in September and then again in April both days were chilly. The coffee shops weren’t even full. I feel strongly about this as it gives all tourists a bad reputation. There are actual people living in Amsterdam who call the city home. Disrespectful visitors ruin the community’s standard of living all because they are inconsiderate. The Netherlands is a liberal country however, it’s wrong to expose non smokers to constant smoke clouds. Even though it is legal to smoke outside find a larger space to do it in damn it.  Phew and now my rant is over.

To find out more:




Thank you very much for reading and please feel free to comment.

Happy travels!

Nikki xx


  1. kagould17 says:

    Hi Nikki. We stayed in a hotel right across from the Bulldog, when we were in Amsterdam in 2017. Never had the urge to go in. In our hotel room, there were 5 notices stating that while it was legal to smoke in Amstedam, we would be charged $250 if caught with drugs in the hotel. On the street, you could not easily avoid the smell of weed being smoked. Now Marijuana is legal in Canada, so I also expect the smell to pervade our summer festivals, as our weather warms up. Pity, we were making so much progress on smoking cessation programs. Allan


    1. I find the outside smoking inconsiderate towards people who don’t smoke. I’m not for bans because they tend to not work at all. Portugal has managed to implement a innovative way to deal with drug addiction. Plus marijuana does have benefits. But, I will remain baffled by people who aren’t thoughtful enough to see how massive smoke clouds are not ok.


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