The history of The Border has its origins in the Leidseplein square in Amsterdam. At the end of the 1980s, childhood friends, Bart and Eric, were working behind the bar at what was then known as the Le Berry café . During their shifts, they would both regularly daydream of owning their own café one day.
The rise of the cannabis cafés
At the beginning of the 1990s, a host of cannabis cafés opened their doors in the capital, one after the other. Today’s strict rules were nowhere to be seen in those days. Bart and Eric, who came from Amstelveen, very quickly realised that there were no cafés in their old home town. They realised they could actually make their daydream a reality.
And in 1992, the time was right. Eric and Bart got the money together and took over the ‘De Schuimkraag’ café. The small café was located nicely on the border between Amsterdam and Amstelveen on Amstelveenseweg 1160. Their own business near the woods – Amsterdamse Bos – was given an appropriate name: The Border.
Opening of The Border
Our original intention was that The Border would be a smaller version of Le Berry, combined with cannabis sales. The upstairs was styled in the 1980’s brown café era, while the basement received a tropical makeover with pool tables, pinball machine and table football. And for the joints, we had a dealer friend of ours with a small bag that had some weed in it. That’s how it was done in the old days.
Naturally, over the course of time, the bag disappeared and our weed seller got his own place behind the bar. We have not looked back since. The Border attracted a lot of smokers. It got so busy that Eric and Bart decided to move the cannabis shop upstairs. The basement became a place to shoot some pool, play some pinball, or grab a beer.
Along came regulations
While all this was going on, politicians were doing their thing too. It seemed that coffee shops were popping up on every street corner throughout Amsterdam. There were approximately 350 coffee shops in the city in 1995; over half are gone now. Step-by-step, the government increasingly introduced new measures.
One of these was the 2007 measure forbidding the sale of alcohol in hash cafés. The Border had already seen the future and decided to stop selling alcohol in 2001. Eric and Bart wanted to set an example. And because of this, they were the first hash café in Amsterdam to voluntarily show alcohol the door. The Border was also the first to have staff on the doors to ensure a strict access policy.
The basement has since shut its doors to customers, and the style of The Border is no longer the same as the cannabis café from the early years. But we did retain the delivery of top service to our customers. The Border still prides itself on how it keeps its customers informed about the products, its quick service, and its varied product range. However, just as important is the environment: this has to be neat, tidy and safe.
We celebrated our 25th year in 2017 and we hope to be around for another 25 years. The Border supports further regulation of cannabis to ensure our business is accepted by the mainstream public. Even though the government is slow and cumbersome, there is no putting the genie back in its bottle. Every meaningful innovative initiative coming from the government is cheered on by The Border.