Growing drug problems in Maastricht

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

The introduction of the weed pass in Maastricht on 1 May has led to a fourfold increase in street disturbances related to illegal sales of cannabis. However, the Maastricht council says this is mainly because people are less reluctant to file a complaint.

A special hotline received 619 complaints in May, compared to 166 one year ago. Since 1 May, coffeeshops in Maastricht can only sell cannabis to local residents who have registered with the coffeeshop and obtained a weed pass.

The pass, which will be introduced nationwide on 1 January 2013, is intended to put an end to the large numbers of foreigners travelling to the Netherlands from Germany, Belgium and France just to buy soft drugs.

Maastricht Mayor Hoes says he is satisfied about the new coffeeshops policy, despite the substantial increase in the number of complaints. He claims there has been a drop in the number of foreigners coming to Maastricht and says the disturbances from illegal cannabis sales are “manageable.”


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide


Read more: Fresh protests as weed pass takes effect