Lifestyle

Everything you need to know about Amsterdam's smartshops

Published On 11/11/2014 Published On 11/11/2014

For the chemically curious, Amsterdam has more to offer than just smokeables; however, you won’t find Amsterdam’s second-most famous “soft” substance in any coffee shops. So where are the “magic mushrooms”? Trick question! They’ve been illegal since 2008. But don’t worry, Amsterdam’s smartshops make sure that no one has to miss them. We’ll tell you what that means, and everything else you need to know about Amsterdam’s other soft stuff, one smartshop at a time...

Kokopelli Smartshop

Kokopelli

Red Light District
Pre-2008, there were more than 40 smartshops in Amsterdam, but now there’s more like 10. Opened in 1993, this one was the first. They started out selling vitamins and herbal energy drinks... but put themselves on the map when they put magic mushrooms on the shelves that year. Along with the Dreamlounge in the Canal Belt and two smartshops in other cities, Kokopelli is part of the Conscious Dreams empire. In the back there’s a cushy lounge area where you’re free to try their wares in safety -- to a DJ'd soundtrack on weekends.

Flickr/Michael Costa

Magic Mushroom Gallery

Spui
Though mushrooms were banned, nobody said anything about truffles, aka philosopher’s stones -- which are basically the same thing (psilocybin), just slightly watered down. The trip still lasts almost six hours, and the effects will depend on which type you take. Beginners are advised to start with the Mexicans; at the other end, the galindoi will keep even the most hardened shroomsperts seeing in full vibrating color. These two “souvenir shops” (the second is in a basement on the Flower Market) also have some seriously cool toys.

Tatanka Smartshop

Tatanka Smartshop

Leidseplein
If truffles just won’t do it for you, you can still get the real shroom thing legally by growing it yourself. Shops like Tatanka make it easy for you with pre-packaged, all-in-one grow kits for every strain in their lineup. They’ve got step-by-step instructions to get you feeling fungi in a few weeks. Like most shops on this list, Tatanka’s also got an online shop. And yep, they’ll ship you the grow kits, too (if you live in Europe).

Stichting Mediamatic

Mediamatic Fabriek

Eastern Docklands
Rather actually learn the growing process? Mushroom-loving futurists Mediamatic offer mushroom-growing workshops every few months, covering either the magic kind or the boring (oyster) kind. Sign up for their newsletter to find out when the next one’s scheduled.

Flickr/Will Will

Smart Zone

Red Light District
Psilocybin products are just a small part of the smartshop lineup. Like the vitamin shop of your trippy Earth Mother dreams, smartshops were named after the herbal stimulants they sell (like powdered guarana) and other products intended to stimulate the mind and improve memory. At Smart Zone, a tiny shop tacked on to the back of the St. Christopher’s hostel and Winston Kingdom club, you can perk up with kola nut, or wind down with skullcap or valerian. Or stimulate other body zones with aphrodisiacs like muira puama and ginkgo biloba.

Flickr/Pavel Mrlik

Innerspace

Dam Square
Though chemical designer drugs are explicitly forbidden, if it’s all natural and hasn’t been outlawed, it’s fair game for the smartshops -- meaning there are plenty of stronger herbal supplements to find as well. Some of the most popular, available at Innerspace and others, is kratom (a sort of faux-opium), Salvia divinorum (a short-lived but super-intense psychedelic), and cacti (the scarily strong peyote and friends).

Azarius

Azarius

Canal Belt
For the true spiritual warriors, shops like Azarius also sell ayahuasca mixes. The blend of psychotropic herbs, used in South American vision quests, contains DMT (“the god molecule”) as an active ingredient. This is one spiritual journey not to be taken lightly, or unsupervised -- luckily, Azarius basically doubles as an information center for the curious. You can even stop by for nightlife tips.

Flickr/Capitu (ou Marcela)

Alien Visitors

Dam Square
If your interests are of the dance party variety, this tiny nightclub of a shop is the more obvious place to check in; in addition to party clothes, blacklight gear, and inside intel on the clubbing scene, you can pick up herbal party favors. Every smartshop sells their own versions of these, but they’re basically natural replacements for chemical (hard) drugs. These so-called “herbal XTCs” are pretty mild, which is why the faster-acting liquid variety is the most popular.

When Nature Calls

When Nature Calls

Canal Belt
The first smartshop we ever went to is right on the edge of the city’s party zone, but is perfectly camouflaged into the Leidsestraat’s upscale retailers in its monumental building. Full of sleek gadgets from vaporizers to tools to test the safety of those kinds of party favors you shouldn’t have in the first place, When Nature Calls makes the whole smartshop business look downright classy -- right down (er, up) to the crystal chandelier.

Chills & Thrills Of Amsterdam

Chills & Thrills

Grachtengordel-West
Although most head shops are not smartshops, pretty much every smartshop is a head shop, too, meaning they’ve got all your “tobacco”-smoking accessories, also. Not only does Chills & Thrills offer a full line of glass pipes, vaporizers, and even glass vaporizers -- but they’re also upping their game as a grow shop, too. Operating under the name magicseeds.nl, they say they’re working on their own cannabis strains for home growers, and have already launched all-in-one cannabis grow kits...
 

If you partake...

-Pick a safe, comfortable place where you can hang out for a long time and don’t have to worry about acting like a weirdo.

-Do it with people you feel easygoing around. At least one sober sitter is a good idea.

-Talk to the sellers about what to expect and read all the pamphlets they give you before you start.

-Make sure you have nothing you have to do for the rest of the day.

-If you’re a newbie, don’t do it in the Van Gogh Museum.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Kokopelli Warmoesstraat 12, Amsterdam, 1012 JD (Red Light District)

Opened in 1993, this was the first smartshop in Amsterdam, and although it started out selling vitamins and herbal energy drinks, you can now get much more potent substances to enjoy in the cushy lounge area.

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2. Magic Mushroom Gallery Spuistraat 249, Amsterdam, 1012VP (Medieval Center)

MMG is a "souvenir shop" located in the Spui 'hood and it specializes in truffles (aka philosopher's stones), which are basically the same as mushrooms, but slightly watered down.

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3. Tatanka Smartshop Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 151A, Amsterdam, 1017 PZ (Leidseplein)

Just one of multiple locations, Tatanka features magic truffles and a host of other similar products, not to mention a knowledgable staff that will guide you to the right choice whether you're a newbie or a seasoned vet.

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4. Mediamatic Fabriek VOC-kade 10-12, Amsterdam, 1018 LG (East)

Located in the Eastern Docklands, Mediamatic gives you a little bit of everything, serving as a gallery, project space, aquaponics farm, AND a cafeteria. And if you're interested in growing your own mushrooms, stop by for one of their workshops held every few months.

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5. Smart-Zone Sint Annenstraat 19, Amsterdam, 1001 RB (Red Light District)

Located in the Red Light District, this smartshop features a wide range of products from psilocybin items to herbal stimulants to aphrodisiacs and more.

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6. Innerspace Spuistraat 108, Amsterdam, 1012 VA (Medieval Center)

This Dam Square smartshop is been open since 1995 and is well known for taking its products (energizers, herbs, seeds, all the usual smartshop suspects.) and talents on the road to outdoor music festivals.

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7. Azarius Kerkstraat 119, Amsterdam, 1017 GE (The Jordaan)

Nestled in the Canal Belt, Azarius is a go-to for true spiritual warriors since, in addition to selling the usual suspects like most smartshops, it also sells ayahuasca mixes, which are blends of psychotropic herbs, used in South American vision quests. And if you're worried about your potential vision quest, Azarius is also an info center for the curious.

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8. Alien Visitors Zoutsteeg 13, Amsterdam, 1012 LX (Medieval Center)

This tiny nightclub of a shop -- located in Dam Square -- might be located in a hidden alleyway sports a number of different products like party clothes, blacklight gear, inside intel on the clubbing scene (!), and herbal party favors.

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9. When Nature Calls 508 Keizersgracht, Amsterdam, 1017 EN (The Jordaan)

This Canal Belt smartshop is full of sleek gadgets from vaporizers to tools to test the safety of "party favors", all while making the whole smartshop business look downright classy -- right down to the crystal chandelier.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Chills & Thrills Nieuwedijk 17, Amsterdam, 1012 LZ

Not only does Chills & Thrills offer a full line of glass pipes (yes, you can call them bongs here, though the Dutch don’t), vaporizers, and even glass vaporizers -- but it's also a grow shop, too.

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