Amsterdam Travel Tips and Warnings
Visiting Amsterdam and Smoking Cannabis
Amsterdam is a great city with many great sites, people and places. The city has people from more than 178 different nationalities living in it and has a huge history. Many people wish you a friendly good morning in the streets and are super-helpful if you have any questions, but Amsterdam is not thát small though. And as with any big city, especially when you might do some things or use some substances you are normally not abusing and your body and brain might not be very used to, Amsterdam comes with some secrets and particular things you need to understand and keep in mind when visiting it. Of course marijuana is an interesting plant and Amsterdam is a great place to discover many sides of this lovely plant and its usage. We will share with you some more about marijuana in general as well as there are some things you might want to know and consider before just toking up the first thing that comes within reach.
skip to chapters:
- When in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam’s Red Light District
- Pick Pocketing / Crime
- Taxi’s / Scammers
- Biking in Amsterdam
- Boats and Canals
- Parking in Amsterdam
- Sleeping in Amsterdam
- Coffeeshops in Amsterdam
- Prices of cannabis and hash
- 20 Good coffee shops in Amsterdam
- Marijuana and cannabis
- Smoking cannabis
When in Amsterdam
- Pay attention to your money and always count the change you are given back! Especially at touristy places they might think you are too stoned to notice.
- In Amsterdam you will probably meet some strange dealers in the night, most of them are in groups of 3-4 persons. Avoid talking to them and they will probably leave without any troubles. Only buy your weed in registered coffee shops!
- By night, the Red Light District is a maze of dark streets, where mostly only pickpockets and pushers hang out.
- Be careful with buying anything on the streets. Don’t smoke in public places. Don’t do any bullshit like singing/screaming, smashing bottles,
urinating in the streets, etc.. treat Amsterdam like your home and it will treat you the same.
- Dutch policemen are really strict and they won’t tolerate vandalism of any kind.
- Don’t be rude or arrogant and try to use words like “please”or “thank you”. 😀
- Always have your passport or ID on you. Keep it in a safe place, surely not in external pockets or in a bag.
- Don’t try to visit everything the first day. Take it easy! Amsterdam is big and there is plenty to see, but take your time.
- Buy a map. Touristic guides are o.k., very useful to quickly find many interesting places and you don’t have to stare at your smartphone the whole time. Touristic guides can help you to safe a lot of money! A great guide is Get lost! Cool Guide To Amsterdam (about 10 euros only). This alternative guide has a lot of cool plaecs and tips on Amsterdam.
- Drink something when in a coffee shop and try to have a good time. It’s not just a place to get freaking stoned or buy our weed.
- If the coffee shop is full and you are taking a table it’s expected that you order a drink and that you only smoke the stuff you bought there. However Amsterdam has plenty of coffee shops and there’s really no reason to hang for hours in a packed place.
- Amsterdam is pretty freaking cool but can be a nightmare if you abuse smoke or space-cake or space-brownies. Spacecake starts playing with your mind after an hour or even 2 hours, depends on what have you eaten before. It also depends how good it is and how much hash or weed is in there. The problem with such cakes is that you just never know whats inside or how much of it. If the effect is too strong for you, ty to sit down somewhere and drink or eat something sweet. Sweets are good for recovering yourself from THC overstone but avoid to eat too much, if you don’t feel good go outside and take some deep breaths.Fruits can be helpful also.
- Getting around with some weed in your pocket is not a big problem here. You can carry up to 5 grams on you and if you don’t do anything stupid, everything will be fine. (try not to get too stoned ). Take it easy 🙂
- Beware of the passing bikes and trams! When you are stoned, everything seems to move very fast and you are very very slow, so take care. Stay on the sidewalks! Dutch locals hate tourists that blindly cross roads and will not hesitate to hit you with their bike. When you hear the sound of a small bike-bell ringing, it is time to jump back on the pedestrian road and open your eyes.
Amsterdam’s Red Light District
Another great attraction for tourism is the Red Light District. Windows with half naked women standing there, waiting to take in customers and do what their mother once forbid them to do. It seems quite innocent of course and some of these ladies don’t look half bad. But be aware that there are some rules and advices to keep in mind:
- Don’t take pictures of the girls
- Don’t walk through small alleys alone during the night
- Beware of pickpockets
- Don’t let your sexy girlfriend go to this neighborhood alone, even at daytime
Pick Pocketing / Crime
As in most bigger cities, there are always people with bad intentions. Amsterdam is no exception. Wherever you go in the city, you always got to be very careful. Carry your bag in front of you, guard your things and always always be wary of the people around you. Especially in crowded shops and streets it might happen that before you know it, your stuff is gone.When you rent a bicycle, be careful where you park it and make sure to lock it with all the locks that where provided. Small locks are easy to pick for a Dutch bicycle thief. It seems that many Dutch people admit that the bike they are riding is probably a stolen one so it seems there is a big market for bikes that somehow can’t be satisfied.
Taxi’s / Scammers
I have been told never to take a taxi in Amsterdam. First of all they are crazy expensive, but second of all they try to scam you.My advice would be to just avoid them as much as possible. Not only for traveling matters, but also in the streets. Most of these taxi drivers are super-unfriendly assholes who don’t care about bikers or pedestrians. If you accidentally as much as touch their car when they are passing by, they might get out of the car and start a fight with you. This while they are the ones that occupy most of the space in the streets, waiting for dumb customers that can effort to get scammed. If you however do wish to take a taxi, make sure it’s an official taxi and don’t take a taxi that some guy is offering you randomly.
When wanting to travel from the airport to Amsterdam, just take a train. Take the train. The train connection within the Netherlands might never be on time, but other than that it is perfect. You can buy your train ticket right after landing and while waiting for your luggage in the yellow/blue machines or at the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) ticket desk. One-way ticket to go to Amsterdam Center from the Airport is around: 5 euro. You will be in the city within 20 minutes.
Or you can of course take a bus. There are special bus services that will take you from Schiphol Airport to the Centre of Amsterdam. Ticketprice should be around 4 euro.
Another way to get around within Amsterdam, are bike-taxis. These guys are pretty fast and not that expensive. Also they might be ablt to tell you some interesting facts about the city.
Biking in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a perfect city to go around by bicycle. There are special roads for cyclists and every Dutch person ows at least one bike. The main problem with biking in Amsterdam though is tourists on a bike. They keep bumping into lampposts, trees, other people, each other and they go sooooo slow! I heard Dutch people complain an awful lot about tourists on bicycles and i see what they mean when biking myself in this city. Especially after smoking some joints or eating some space-cake, cycling can be harder then it seems as the Dutch traffic participants don’t really show any mercy for tourists on a bike.
Don’t get me wrong, if you know how to bike, go and rent a bike at one the many rental places in the city. Bikes are not very expensive to rent and you will get around a lot faster then by public transport or by foot.
(Tip between you and me: If you are planning to stay a bit longer, just buy a bike. On Dutch websites like www.marktplaats.nl you can buy a beautiful bike for about 50 euros but make sure to buy a good lock as well as many bikes get stolen…)
When parking your bike, make sure you park it in a place where the cops don’t take it away. Park it on official parking places for bikes. Especially at Central Station where the cops remove bikes on a daily base.
Boats and Canals
Amsterdam is build on and around water and it has hundreds of beautiful canals. Many people with a bit of money own a small boat in Amsterdam to be able to go around the city on sunny days. Not only do the Dutch use boats to go around for pleasure as well as business, but they also live on them! In the city of Amsterdam you will see many beautiful houseboats on all the canals. Some of them are small and cute, some of them huge and even with several floors. Even rebuild industrial ships are functioning as houseboats. You can rent a houseboat for a few nights to experience what its like to live on one of these, but i have to warn you it’s not cheap.
To take a tour through the canals on a boat you can just choose one of many boating companies that go around the city as they all take the same routes and have about the same prices. For about 8 euros you can take a trip through Amsterdam by boat.
Parking in Amsterdam
In Amsterdam’s center there are some car parking houses, but they cost about 2.5euro/hour. If you are thinking about parking out of the center it is a good idea to use the AmsterdamArena car parking (under the Arena stadium, the symbol of this parking is the “P+R” signboard) and it costs about 6euro/day (with a tram ticket).
Sleeping in Amsterdam
There are many hotels and hostels in Amsterdam, often the cheapest and those on central location are crowded, so it’s a good idea to book in time. To save some money check the camping sites out of the city (also nice bungalows available). Some useful links about hotels/hostels/campings can be found on our Amsterdam Hostels page.
Remember, nothing is free and Amsterdam isn’t a cheap place to stay. It’s hard to be there without money so it’s better to try to save some money and check for a place to stay way before you plan to go.
Coffeeshops in Amsterdam
Of course for many people a trip to Amsterdam means visiting coffeeshops and tasting some of the fine herbs this city has to offer. However, when walking the streets, it happens that shady guys try to sell you some weed as well. They promise you its cheaper than in the coffeeshops and show you some sample, but take it from me; NEVER talk back to them.
Cannabis you can always get in Amsterdam. Many coffee shops are open until very late. Also these guys selling dope in the streets are not to be trusted and might just be out to rob you. Also they deal in other drugs than just cannabis. They will offer you coke, XTC and other drugs that hopefully you are not interested in. You never know what they might sell you and they might be dangerous guys, selling dangerous stuff.
When you go to the local supermarket and some junkie looking type is trying to sell you a magazine of some kind, it is alright to give them some change or buy one of their magazines. These people are people to and have no bad intentions. This is the way the system allows them to make some small money.
You can find hundreds of coffee shops all over the Netherlands. Amsterdam and Rotterdam are the two cities with greatest
diversity of coffee shops, you can basically divide them in three categories:
- relaxing, with relaxing atmosphere and low music. Try to avoid these places if your company is loud. You will find these shops mostly out of the center, in the more local neighborhoods of Amsterdam.
- neutral, brighter shops with popular music (good places to meet other smokers. Some of these shops also sell beer, but be careful when drinking beer combined with smoking cannabis, you might get sick.
- loud, pub or disco/club style with music at higher volumes. Ideal for louder companies, also most of them have alcohol to.
Prices of cannabis and hash
Prices of cannabis/hash may vary up to 200% for the same quality and strength. The highest prices are in Amsterdam, in central locations can be up to 12euro/g for grass and 30euro/g for hash. One of the cheapest coffee shops in central location with still good stuff is Central coffee shop located near Central Station (A bag of Special (2,4g; kind of nice looking NL hybrid) costs 12,5 euro).
Some of coffee shops will weight the stuff in front of you but most of them sell weighted bags at prices of 5, 10,
12.5 and 25 euros. The maximum amount you may buy in a coffeeshop is 5 grams per person.
20 Good coffee shops in Amsterdam
|In alphabetical order:||Address:
|420 Cafe (De Kuil)||Oudebrugsteeg 27||10.00-1.00||10.00-3.00|
|Barney’s Breakfast Bar||Haarlemmerstraat 102||7.00-22.00||7.00-22.00|
|Blue Bird||St. Antoniusbreedstraat 71||9.30-1.00||9.30-1.00|
|Central||Prins Hendrikkade 89||7.00-22.00||7.00-1.00|
|De Dampkring||Handboogstraat 29||10.00-1.00||10.00-2.00|
|Front Page||Zoutsteeg 14||9.00-0.00||9.00-2.00|
|Greenhouse Centrum||Oudezijds Voorburgwal 191||9.00-1.00||9.00-3.00|
|Greenhouse Namaste||Waterlooplein 345||9.00-1.00||9.00-2.00|
|Grey Area||Oude Leliestraat 2||12.00-20.00||12.00-20.00|
|Homegrown Fantasy||Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 87a||12.00-23.00||12.00-0.00|
|Old Church||Oudekerksplein 54||10.00-1.00||10.00-2.00|
|Pink Floyd (Umma Gumma)||Haarlemmerstraat 44||9.00-20.00||9.00-20.00|
|Rokerij||Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 41||10.00-1.00||10.00-3.00|
|Rokerij II||Singel 8||9.00-1.00||9.00-2.00|
|Rokerij III||Amstel 8||9.00-1.00||9.00-1.00|
|Tweede Kamer||Heisteeg 6||10.00-1.00||10.00-2.00|
For more information on Amsterdam Coffeeshops go to the page: Amsterdam Coffee Shops
Marijuana and cannabis
Marijuana is a Mexican term for the Cannabis (Indica, Sativa and Ruderalis – For a really detailed description of what is exactly marijuana is we suggest you to take a visit to
the Wikipedia page about marijuana, but we will try to tell you some basics you might want to know about. In many countries the term Marijuana means dried female Cannabis buds prepared for consumption. This will get you high as you might know :D.
Basically the Sativa produces an energetic uplifting high (clear head and body; communicative – the strongest sativas may cause panic attacks for some people) and the Indica produces a lay down stone (dizzy with slower movement. – the strongest indicas may cause paleness and some people intend to vomit when they smoke too much). We said “basically” because there are many subspecies of sativas and indicas with all totally different characteristics. Many smokers prefer to smoke hybrids instead of pure Indicas or pure Sativas.
Hybrids are mainly divided into 3 categories: Mostly Sativa, Indica/Sativa and Mostly Indica.
|75% Sativa||25% Indica||(Durban, Kali
Mist, Neville’s Haze, Power Plant, Purple Haze, Silver Haze,
Skunk #1, etc…)
|50% Sativa||50% Indica||(AK47,
BubleGum, Jack Herer, Orange Bud, Super Skunk, White Rhino,
White Widow, etc…)
|25% Sativa||75% Indica||(Blueberry,
Buddha, Citral, El Nino, Great White Shark, K2, Misty, Northern
Lights #5, etc…)
Just try a few strains of different categories and you will quickly discover which type of grass works best for you. A good tip is to start the day with a mild Sativa or mostly Sativa strain and go stronger later in the afternoon, in the evening it’s time for some good hash and Indica hybrids, and a pure Indica stone is the best way to finish your Amster-day.
Marijuana’s THC can be detected in urine where it will last from 3 to 21 days or even over a month if smoked regularly. So be aware of this when you go home and know you are going to face a drug test.
The joint is a mix of tobacco and grass (or hashish of course). Tobacco is a source of nicotine, tar and chemicals so it’s better to use as little tobacco as possible. If possible roll your joints pure without any tobacco, but be careful not to get too stoned of course. In both cases (with or without tobacco) you inhale a very hot smoke.
A better, or more healthy solution is to smoke by using a pipe. The only complaint compared to joints is the fact that the bigger pipes are not very easy to carry with you and a pipe should be cleaned regularly. Both joints and pipes are based on a combustion principle (burning of material) which is the source of monoxide and other released toxins.
The best way to get high though would be to inhale only the good ingredients (THC). This you can do by using a vaporizer, which heats the grass without or with very little combustion. The effect or the feeling you get when getting high with a vaporizer is better and so different in every aspect compared to any other smoking method. So much different that it shouldn’t even be in the same category as smoking joints or a pipe. When we talk about using vaporizers we talk about vaping, not smoking.
At the Cannabis College and in some coffee shops (2 pieces available at the “420 Cafe” coffee shop) it is possible to try one of the best vaporizers, the Volcano vaporizer. A fine piece of German high technology, very much appreciated and wanted by many smokers that you can buy for about 400 euros. Is it worth the price? Well, we have tried it many times and we fully recommend it. You can of course also ask yourselves:”Does the health have a price?” It is no coincidence that medical marijuana smokers are using vaporizers and don’t roll joints with tobacco.