Blow for cannabis cafes as numbers continue to decline

The number of ‘coffeeshops’ in the Netherlands is continuing to fall but the closure rate has slowed, new official figures show.

Last year there were 573 outlets licensed to sell cannabis, 18 fewer than two years earlier and 41 less than the number in 2012.

The figures, announced on Tuesday by justice minister Stef Blok, showed that Amsterdam accounts for 173 of all coffeeshops, or 30% of the total. Rotterdam had 40 outlets, The Hague 36 and Utrecht 10.




Amsterdam had one coffeeshop for every 4,907 residents, a far higher concentration than any of the other 102 municipalities which license cannabis cafes. At the other end of the spectrum Zoetermeer has a single coffeeshop for a population of 125,000.

Owners said the closures were partly due to the city council imposing stricter criteria, including a rule that coffeeshops cannot be located within 250 metres of a school.