You probably already noticed that there are a lot of coffeeshops in the center of Amsterdam. But how many coffeeshops are there in Amsterdam? At the moment Amsterdam has 164 coffeeshops. If you consider that in the whole of the Netherlands there are in total 355 coffeeshops, then you can say that this is a very large number.

Amsterdam supplies a significant portion of the demand for cannabis and space cakes for Dutch residents and foreign tourists. But what are the prospects for the number of coffeeshops in Amsterdam in the coming years?

How many coffeeshops in Amsterdam have disappeared?

The number of coffeeshops in the Amsterdam metropolitan area has shrunk considerably over the years. In 1993, Amsterdam still had more than 400 coffeeshops. This decreased in 2000 to 283 shops. And then there were only 222 coffeeshops in Amsterdam in 2011.

Currently, we only have 164 coffeeshops left. For what reason have so many coffeeshops disappeared over the years?

Criteria for tolerance of coffeeshops

The number of coffeeshops in the capital has been strongly related to the criteria coffeeshops need to abide by. In the early 1990s, a decision was made to introduce the tolerance criteria for coffeeshops nationwide. All coffeeshops had to meet these criteria in order to stay open.

The criteria that a coffeeshop must abide by are:

  • The coffeeshop is not allowed to advertise the coffee shop;
  • No hard drugs may be held and/or sold in the coffeeshop; 
  • The coffeeshop may not cause any nuisance, such as parking nuisance around the coffeeshop, noise nuisance and/or loitering customers in front of the coffeeshop itself;
  • No soft drugs may be sold to youth under the age of 18.
  • Per transaction, only personal use (up to 5 grams) may be sold;
  • The coffeeshop is only allowed to have a small commercial stock (no more than 500 grams) on hand;
  • The coffeeshop must be an alcohol-free establishment;

In addition to these criteria that apply to all coffeeshops in the Netherlands, municipalities can establish additional policy criteria for local coffeeshops.

More stringent approach since 2012

The municipality of Amsterdam made use of the possibility to set up additional criteria for coffeeshops. Cannabis smoking bans were introduced in various locations, coffeeshops in the Red Light District were closed down and a distance criterion between coffeeshops and schools for secondary education was introduced. As a result of all these measures a large number of coffeeshops had to close down.

While the demand for cannabis increased, fewer coffeeshops existed to meet this demand. In some neighborhoods, this has led to street dealing. This can only be prevented by supplying enough coffeeshops to keep up with the demand. But how many coffeeshops with quality cannabis does Amsterdam need?

The number of local cannabis users

A study revealed that the municipality of Amsterdam has about 73,000 current users of cannabis. But since the Amsterdam coffeeshops are also visited by users who live just beyond the city limits, we should also take into account the 22,650 current users of cannabis from neighboring municipalities. All these users could potentially visit a coffeeshop in Amsterdam.

How often do we visit a coffeeshop?

But of course not all cannabis users go to a neighborhood coffeeshop. Research shows that 11% grow their own good cannabis and thus provide for their own needs. Users who fully satisfy their own needs will be less inclined to visit a coffeeshop.

Of the cannabis users in and around this city, almost one-third (30%) visit a coffeeshop daily and over two-fifths (43%) two to three times a week. 

This means that every cannabis user who doesn’t grow it themselves visits a neighborhood coffeeshop on average 13 times a month. If we take into account only adult users, this means almost 1.5 million visits per month to Amsterdam coffeeshops.

Foreign tourists and the tourist coffeeshop

Research by the municipality of Amsterdam shows that the Amsterdam coffeeshops are also very popular among international visitors to the city center. Besides the fact that these visitors visit Amsterdam to come and walk or cycle through the city, 22% say they come to Amsterdam to visit a coffeeshop. In fact, for 57% of the tourists, the presence of coffeeshops plays an important role in their choice to come to Amsterdam. 

Amsterdam attracts about 9.0 million visitors annually, of which 3 million of these visitors fall in the age category that likes to visit coffeeshops. In this category, 72% also appear to actually visit a coffeeshop during their stay in Amsterdam. 

Increased coffeeshop visits

The 164 Amsterdam coffeeshops are together responsible for selling to about 2.75 million customers per month. It is expected that the demand for good-quality weed will increase in the coming years. This is because both the number of residents will increase as well as the number of foreign visitors. Whether the Amsterdam coffeeshops can continue to provide foreign tourists with a variety of weed depends on the Amsterdam coffeeshop policy.

Coffeeshop The Border

In our coffeeshop we will of course continue to provide both our local visitors and international guests with excellent weed. In our coffeeshop Amsterdam you can find the menu of The Border which showcases a great selection of cannabis. Check our current opening hours here. We look forward to seeing you soon in the best coffee shop in Amsterdam.