Sex and Drugs and Gouda
June 20, 2011 4:02 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are heading to the Netherlands on vacation. It's mostly a cultural and gastronomic tour for us nice respectable people, but if you happened to have some recommendations for coffee shops and sex clubs, we wouldn't mind hearing them. Anon email inside, too.

Basically what it says on the tin. We're responsible adults curious about what else life has to offer. We don't smoke up at home or go to sex clubs, so we'd be grateful for any recommendations that might be suited to absolute beginners.

For the coffee shop, in addition to any recommendations, we'd love some guidance about how it works. Do they sell you a joint, or a bowl? Do you order off a menu? I think I can count in years the last time I smoked up, and my wife, in decades.

For the sex club, we'd be looking just for a sexy show of some sort--with appeal both to guys and girls. Some sexy sex. For the love of god, no audience participation, if such thing exists.

On a related note, I've heard good things about the Museum of Sex; if there's other sexy things to do (or a shop with the awesomest dildos or something) we'd be happy to hear about that, too.

For anyone willing to share on a more anonymous basis, drop us a line at Please let us know if we can share your anonymous responses; I can email the mods so others can have the answer, too.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation around The Netherlands (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

The wife and I used this book -- at least its legal-in-America recommendations -- on our trip a year ago. Caters slightly to the hostel-staying backpacker sort, but there are lots of quick reviews for the sort of thing you're asking about. Also lots of dead-basic info about proper etiquette and such. (Yes, there is a menu, and the folks working there are really helpful.)

Surprisingly, the Rick Steves guide also had a bit of useful info on that front. He talks about it here.
posted by supercres at 4:11 PM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

My knowledge of this subject is limited to reading news articles, but you should be aware that recent news suggests they are banning foreigners in coffee shops.
posted by desjardins at 4:23 PM on June 20, 2011

My wife and I did a similar beginner's tour about a year ago, at least for the smoking part. I personally liked Cafe Dampkring, which is large and busy with a 60's psychodelic vibe. Others feel more like, well, coffee shops, but they're mostly all fine.

As far as choices go, you can get pretty much whatever you want, including pre-rolled joints and pot brownies, with a wide variety of strengths available. Just remember to bring your own matches or lighter.

Do be aware though that they're trying to change the laws to prevent drug tourism, and may have already. If that is the case, you may be somewhat out of luck, at least legally speaking.
posted by tau_ceti at 4:26 PM on June 20, 2011

As far as I understand it, anti-drug tourism measures have only been introduced on the municipal level as of now. They seem to be mainly aimed, at the moment, at preventing cross-border drug tourism from Belgium and Germany. This is an ongoing process, however, so it's probably worth finding out what the situation is in the areas you're planning on visiting.

Tangentially, I wonder what the Court of Justice would do with such regulations if they were asked for a preliminary ruling. EU citizens have no particular rights as tourists (as opposed to as workers) under the current treaties, but this seems like an unusual case, as the "right to smoke" is not naturally linked to residence. If the Court were in the right mood, could the Netherlands find itself in a peculiar position? In all honesty I doubt it, but it does highlight an interesting gap in our "citizenship" rights. Anyone who knows a bit more about this got anything to say?
posted by howfar at 6:21 PM on June 20, 2011

Coffee shops sell joints, which are rolled with pot and tobacco. They will also sell you weed in small amounts. What you want to do there is buy some rolling papers or a little pipe at a headshop.

They also have smart shops if you want to try mushrooms or something else. The people there will explain and answer any questions.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:50 PM on June 20, 2011

Do they sell you a joint, or a bowl?

Yes, you can order them rolled. It's stronger than what you'd think, so I recommend asking for it mixed half-and-half with tobacco. Take your time, and if you smoke too much you want sugar water.

Do you order off a menu?

Yes, there will be a menu posted on the wall, always with a name, sometimes with a description. If you don't know what you want, describe the mood you are looking for, and they will pick for you.

Tip: You will really want to take a photo. It's not allowed inside the coffee shops.

I recommend Hunter's for a laid-back time, and Barney's for pancakes and pot in the morning (which is pretty awesome).

sexy show of some sort--with appeal both to guys and girls.

Many people (tourists, but hey it's fun) go to Casarosso. It's a big place next to the fountain that looks like a spurting penis, across the street from the Bananabar (in which, yes, bananas play a role). Basically, people having sex on rotating stages, and you watch from your seat. No audience performance required, although there are places for that...

Tip: Also no photos in here. Nor photos of the women in the windows in the Red Light district.

Museum of Sex; if there's other sexy things to do (or a shop with the awesomest dildos or something)

I didn't think the museum was all that great. If you are in the Red Light district, you will easily find sex shops. Seriously, like every few feet. You can't swing a cat without hitting a dildo, I promise.
posted by Houstonian at 6:55 PM on June 20, 2011

Shrooms are no longer for sale, and have not been for some time.

The non-fruiting body of the shrooms is still found in a few smart shops. I know not whether they are effective, however.
posted by rr at 7:01 PM on June 20, 2011

Amsterdam Coffeeshop Database is you best resource for that sort of thing. for the sexy stuff.

To each his own, but I find the sex museum, torture museum, and other silliness, Cheesy.

Try the Museum of Handbags and Purses

My best day in The Netherlands is wandering and sidewalk cafes. Rent a bike.

posted by humboldt32 at 9:32 PM on June 20, 2011

You don't say where you're going, but I assume it's Amsterdam. How long is your visit?
posted by humboldt32 at 9:34 PM on June 20, 2011

When in a coffee shop, you might be tempted to pick up a bud and smell it, as this is what you did in college. Resist that temptation.

Also, you might have the idea that it would be fun to make a pot/hash joint and smoke it before going to the Rijksmuseum. You might become... disoriented, such that you have trouble even navigating the revolving glass door that allows entrance to the museum, turning 540 degrees before actually entering. Do not less this deter you! You might, upon completing the monumental task of paying the entrance fee and checking your bag, embark on the journey of navigating to the room that contain's Rembrandt's Night Watch. After trying to decipher the museum map for 15 minutes, you might ask a helpful guard, who will give you directions. After carefully following his directions and making very good progress for another 10 minutes, you might enlist the aid of another guard just to make sure you're on the right track. He might inquire, "Didn't you just ask me that 10 minutes ago?" DO NOT LET THIS DETER YOU! Because when you finally do manage to see the painting, it will put all the other art you've ever seen before into a new perspective. Totally.
posted by the real deal at 10:14 PM on June 20, 2011 [9 favorites]

check out the huge public library in amsterdam, too. It is right along the water and the architecture is amazing. Honestly, it was a highlight of my trip a few years back.
posted by shrimpsmalls at 11:21 PM on June 20, 2011

Rent a bike. Get wired on coffee. Don't take pictures of the girls in the red-light district. Head for Jordaans for peace and quiet.
posted by gonzo_ID at 12:36 AM on June 21, 2011

You say you're on a gastronomic tour. There are two restaurants in the Netherlands with three-star ratings from Michelin. One is De Librije in Zwolle, a 75 minute trip from Amsterdam. The other is Oud Sluis(warning, music on load) in Sluis, quite out of the way in Zeeland, near the Belgian border. Small Dutch towns are worth a visit.
posted by knile at 1:49 AM on June 21, 2011

Yeah, for my guests dampkring is the go-to coffee shop recommendation, and casarosso is the go-to sex show recommendation.

You can buy pot as a pre-rolled joint, loose bud, or hash. Go slow as it is stronger than you expect!

The sex museum is mildly amusing

Amsterdam's restaurants scratch together a few Michelin stars between them.
posted by jannw at 2:59 AM on June 21, 2011

I recommend 420cafe for the coffeeshop, it is very close to Central station and one of the only coffeeshops that doesn't explicitly feel like a coffeeshop. By this I mean it is warm, wooden and nicely lit inside, looking just like most other Dutch 'brown cafes.' Classic rock on the music, Attenborough on the TV, a nice relaxed atmosphere. Other coffeeshops are more explictly about weed, or try to be trippy, and this is a nice change.
Here you can buy in gram amounts, or buy prerolled, and they have pipes you can borrow as well. Smoke less than you think, you can always smoke more and you will probably be surprised at just how strong it all is. So take one or two tokes, put it down for ten minutes and see.
posted by tumples at 5:19 AM on June 21, 2011

A lot of coffeeshops have vaporizers now that you can use, might be nice if you're not habitual smokers. A lot easier on the lungs. The staff will be happy to set one up for you and show you how to use it.

The non-fruiting body of the shrooms is still found in a few smart shops. I know not whether they are effective, however.
Oh, yes, they are most definitely effective. I don't know if they're still allowed to sell them, but when they were, the item in question was called "Philosopher's Stones".
posted by bink at 10:34 AM on June 21, 2011

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