Coffeeshops go up-market

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Dutch coffeeshops are getting increasingly chique with design furnishing and fittings replacing the inevitable Bob Marley posters and cool jazz instead of reggae or hip hop.

Hi & Lo, newly-opened in Utrecht, prefers to call itself a smoking club. The club was designed throughout by Workshop of Wonders, a Utrecht firm of architects. The host, Vincente, believes the decor and the choice of music will attract a different kind of clientele - older and well-educated. (continues)


Selling cannabis is against the law in the Netherlands, but coffeeeshops are tolerated under certain conditions. The minimum age is 18, they can only sell soft drugs and five grammes per person per day is the maximum. The must also ensure they do not cause any nuisance, otherwise they are likely to be closed down.


Amsterdam intensifies checks

A specialised team of Amsterdam's city council is going to check the capital's coffeeshops for involvement in criminal activities, according to daily newspaper Het Parool

Research has shown that the shops employ a relatively high number of people with a police record.

There are currently 222 coffeeshops in Amsterdam where cannabis is openly sold for personal use. All applications for permission to start a new coffeeshop or renew existing permits will be scrutinised by the new team, in close cooperation with the police, public prosecutor's office and urban districts. The team will notifiy the authorities in case of suspicions about the owners, their financiers or business contacts.