Haarlem Coffeeshop History

Many tourists naturally assume that Amsterdam has the most liberal policies when it comes to coffeeshops but this is actually incorrect; it is Haarlem that has the most progressive system used to monitor and enforce the guidelines that were established by the national government.


In the mid-90’s when all of the coffeeshop “rules” were being brought into question around the nation and each city was given the opportunity to establish their own regulations and guidelines, Haarlem’s 20+ coffeeshops were facing some serious changes.

First, the city council wanted to impose a “no-move, no re-sell” policy on coffeeshop owners so they would not be allowed to re-locate their shops from their current addresses and would not be able to sell their licenses onward to a new owner. Of course this policy was completely unfair to owners who had invested all of their energy and money into shops that they would never be able to re-sell!

Wisely, the city decided to allow shops to move and to re-sell their licenses; they also allowed shops to maintain a larger amount of “stock” on site and they also allowed shops to use merchandise with their addresses and logos, which are still not allowed in Amsterdam. Controls are still strict and rules must be followed but Haarlem has a very reasonable plan to handle the issue of coffeeshops and that is reflected in the way in which the shops are more integrated into the social fabric much more than in other cities. Well done Haarlem!


For more on Haarlem, see these:

Cannabis Shops & Coffeeshops in Haarlem

How To Get To Haarlem