Information for tourists

Ignore streetdealers

Street dealers are dangerous. The City of Amsterdam warns everybody visiting the city, especially young foreign visitors, for street drug dealers, because they often sell fake, possibly dangerous, drugs and intimidate or rob you. These streetdealers operate in the city center at so called ‘Tourist hotspots’. They target mainly young visitors in order to seperate them from their friends and try to make the deal, or in some cases to rob them. These street dealers are intimidating and can be violent.

Amsterdam is a fun, free-spirited city. But, like any other city, it’s important to be street smart. Ignore street dealers. See this page for more information and watch and share this video on social media.

Dutch drug policy

The Netherlands is known for its tolerant policies on drugs. Many people don’t realise that drugs are officially illegal in the Netherlands. Understanding Dutch drug policy can save you a lot of problems.

Since 1976 the narcotics act has distinguished between drugs that pose unacceptable risks to public health (hard drugs like heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines) and hemp products (soft drugs, specifically hashish and marijuana). Possession, dealing, sale, production and most other acts involving any drug are punishable by law, unless performed for medical, veterinary, instructional or scientific purposes (and then only on permission). So bringing drugs into a club or a bar is also prohibited. You’ll be searched by security at the entrance. If you’re found to be carrying drugs, you could be handed over to police. At dance events, plainclothes security agents may be walking around to spot people taking drugs.

The Dutch government has formulated a drug policy that tolerates cannabis smoking under strict conditions. It is permitted in so called ‘coffeeshops’. You must be 18 years of age to enter a coffeeshop and your ID will be checked. In some regions, non-residents are not allowed to buy cannabis. Visitors should keep in mind that most venues other than coffeeshops do not allow soft drugs to be consumed on their premises. In other words, you may not smoke cannabis in regular café’s, clubs or bars.

back to top

Drug potency and drugs testing in the Netherlands

If you buy drugs in the Netherlands, you should be keenly aware that the potency of the drugs (how strong the drugs is) can differ a great deal from the strength of drugs in your own country. In other words, you never know how strong your purchased drugs will be. If you are trying drugs for the first time or don’t have much experience, be extra careful. We advise you to take a lower dose than you would take in your home country.

If you are staying in Amsterdam for more than a week, you can get your drugs tested anonymously at the Jellinek or GGD Amsterdam drug testing service. Drugs you submit to them are analysed in a laboratory. For some pills such as ecstasy which can be matched to those in our database, there is a 50% chance you will get the results on the same day.


Website Jellinek
Address Jacob Obrechtstraat 92 1071 KG Amsterdam
Details Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 5 and 8.30 PM.
You can call in for the results on Thursdays between 6.30 and 8.30 PM.
Phone +3120-5901590
Costs €2,50 for each sample

GGD Amsterdam

Website GGD Amsterdam
Address Valckenierstraat 4 1018 XG Amsterdam
Details Every Monday and Tuesday between 5 and 8.30 PM (walk-in). Saturday between 1 PM and 4.30 PM (appointment only).
You can call in for the results on Thursdays between 6.30 and 8.30 PM.
Phone +3120-5555450
Costs €2,50 for each sample

For more detailed information on how drug checking works check the info in on this page:

Why do they test drugs in the Netherlands and how does it work?

You can also check the English info on the website of Unity, the alcohol and drugs information project in the Dutch party scene.

back to top

Emergency services

Some people get so ill from their first experiences with cannabis that they call the emergency number 112 and summon an ambulance. They may feel panicked or sick; they fear they’ll never get better. If you feel like that, you should first find a quiet place and eat something (sweet). Usually the worst will be over within an hour.

In Amsterdam the ambulance is called many times for people who consume too much cannabis. Most are tourists who smoke hash or weed or eat spacecake. Some patients suffer from serious physical distress, and many experience sickness, heart palpitations or psychosis. Some have suffered falls after consuming hash or weed, as your blood pressure drops if you suddenly stand up when on cannabis. Drugs also interfere with your coordination and motor functions.

Dutch marijuana generally contains more THC than the weed sold in other countries. Its THC content can also vary greatly. If you’ve taken too much or feel ill, consult coffeeshop or club staff or first aid professionals (at large events, look for the EHBO stand) or call 112.

For serious alcohol- or drug-related emergencies, you should get to a hospital emergency department immediately.

Although possession of both hard and soft drugs is illegal in the Netherlands, it is not against the law to TAKE drugs. Always be honest about your drug consumption when you’re at an emergency department so they will know exactly what treatment you need. Your health is the most important thing. Doctors will not hand you over to the police.

back to top

Prepare & repair

  • Sleep to reset your mind. Make sure you’ve had enough sleep before you go out at night.
  • Listen to your body and to your brain: know what you can and cannot handle. Don’t give in to peer pressure.
  • Think for yourself, care about others. Stay together and make sure you’re surrounded by people you trust. Keep an eye on each other. Make mutual agreements and keep each other informed.
  • Stay safe and don’t drive after taking drugs (including alcohol and cannabis).

Going to a club or dance event? Check out the information on the website of Unity, the alcohol and drugs peer information project in the Dutch party scene.

back to top

Version: 25-02-2021