The Wacky Stoner Cats of Amsterdam

By Dave Fox
Haarlem, The Netherlands

It’s my last night in this country, and I’ve got some blogging to catch up on when I get home. I’m staying tonight in Haarlem, a town outside of Amsterdam, visiting my friends Maggie and Steven.

Whenever I tell friends in America I will be in or near Amsterdam, I end up having the following conversation:

Them: Amsterdaaaaaammm! Duuu-huuude! Woooooooooo!

Me: Excuse me?

Them: Woooo hoooo! Dude! Amsterdam, dude! You can, like, get stoned there!

Me: Ummm… yes. I can get stoned in America too if I choose to, so what’s the big deal?

Them: No way dude!

Me: Way. People do it every day in America.

My point is this: There is a breed of American tourist that comes to Amsterdam for the sole purpose of smoking pot. They spend a thousand bucks on a plane ticket to go sit in what the Dutch call a “coffee shop” and inhale for several days. When they get home, and you ask them what they did in Holland, they reply, “Duuuuuude! Hoooooweeeeee! Ummm, I don’t really know.”

This wouldn’t be so bad if the people doing this were, shall we say, law-abiding Americans who would never touch an illegal substance in their home town and are truly coming here for a unique cultural experience. There is something refreshing about the decriminalization laws here that is worth experiencing if you choose to. But the people who come here for the sole purpose of smoking do so with drooly, stupified grins on their faces. The people who come here just to smoke are the stoners who smoke up every day at home anyway. It’s a hell of a lot of money and time to spend doing the same thing you do at home on a daily basis. Like… at least go visit the Anne Frank House or something. Seriously, dude, your dealer will still be waiting for you when you get home.

The truth about coffee shops in the Netherlands is that they tend to be frequented by foreigners more than Dutch people. I’m generalizing, of course, so if you happen to be Dutch and stoned right now, it is not necessary to write to me hate mail telling me Dutch people smoke pot too. I get that. But people in other countries need to understand it’s not the screaming national pastime here that they might think.

But you are not Dutch. (Unless you are.) And you have been thinking, “Dave in Amsterdam! Marijuana marijuana marijuana! We want stories about marijuana!”

Okay. I do my best to give my readers what they want. So here is a quick story for you:

I was sitting in a bar yesterday, having a beer (yes, just a beer), when a guy named Martin told me the shocking tale of Freek and Sipke, the Dutch Stoner Kittens.

Martin was cat sitting for a friend, and decided to inhale a little bit. As he sat on the couch and lit up his joint, both cats came bounding into the room and jumped in his lap. He did what he could to blow his smoke upward, out of the kitties’ reach, which inspired the cats to start jumping in the air as high as they could. Eventually, the cats’ athletic skills faltered to the point that they could jump no more. They munched some food and went to sleep.

Martin’s friend called an hour later. “I forgot to tell you,” she said, “whatever you do, don’t smoke pot around my cats. They’re addicted.”

The moral of the story? Hell, I don’t know. It’s the middle of the night here. I have insomnia, and a plane to catch in eight hours.

The reason the story is in my blog? Because I know I’ve got readers out there waiting for tales of my marijuana escapades in Amsterdam, and when it comes to my personal habits, let’s just say I follow a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy in public. Rambling on about all of my wacky adventures in the coffee shops would be too much of a cliche anyway. But rest assured, the cats here are happy.

Published on Tuesday, January 10, 2006

4 Responses to “The Wacky Stoner Cats of Amsterdam”

  1. Danny
    January 10, 2006 at 9:43 PM

    Hi Dave,
    I Hear what you’re saying. I myself grew up in amsterdam, and until I was about 14 I thought it was normal for towns to be filled with pucking tourists, and debree of tourists out to have a ‘too good’ time.
    It’s nice to see that there are still people in this world who venture out to see the sights; and as you were already mentioning the Anne Frank house, I just couldn’t resist but to throw in some of our other cultural habitats…
    For example when you all come here, and as everyone seems so interested in our plants.. try going to the International Flower Autions; you may not end up being able to buy a bouquet of roses for your loved one, but there is nothing more beautifull int he depth of winter then to see a bunch of warehouses full of sunny flowers, and the smells there are amazing.
    Otherwise if you’re going to get stoned anyway, why not stop by on the ‘museum plein’ in amsterdam, have a small spliff and go have a look at the marvels of modern and classic art (I mean in the end they are all grouped together just so you stoners out there can find them all!), or go for a stroll around Dam Square; visit the palace and see some of our culture (we do actually have some).
    Or simply take a trip on the canals of Amsterdam…
    Amsterdam has so, so much more to offer then cheap sex & drugs; and when you stroll around that beautifull town at about 8pm just look at the tourist crawling on all fours across the tram track puking their guts out, and realise that even if for just one day, you managed to enjoy our wonderfull city and you got to see some of our true culture.
    Anyway Dave, I hope you enjoyed your trip to Holland; and from this mokummer, when you return, don’t forget to have a ‘patatje oorlog & a sate-kroket’ :))

  2. January 15, 2006 at 2:01 AM

    Amsterdaaaaaammm! Duuu-huuude! Woooooooooo!
    Great story. Forwarding to my wife to read.

  3. January 16, 2006 at 3:01 AM

    HAHA, Loved this. I was a “every evening instead of a glass of wine” pot smoker for maybe 7 years. Stopped like 6 years ago. I’ll be going to Amsterdam in March. Not for the pot, but I will partake a small bit, for the experience. Oh, and the suggestion of smoking a small one before the museum…not a bad idea :)
    I can’t wait to see the REAL sites and to get off the beaten path. Thanks for the great story.

  4. January 16, 2006 at 1:06 PM

    Neat, you work for Rick Steves! Just ordered a bunch of travel store stuff. :) Will you be there in March?

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