The People You Meet in Amsterdam Coffeeshops is a series of candid conversations with coffeeshop patrons about life, cannabis, and everything in between. In our third installment, Josse talks about writing poetry, reading Kerouac, and getting a tattoo of an Amsterdam zoo’s mascot on his forearm.
**Editor’s Note: Although the legal age of consumption/purchase in the United States is 21, it is 18 in the Netherlands.
Met at: Katsu
Leafly: What are your hobbies?
Josse: Well, first, going to school is a big part. It’s not as much a hobby, but it’s a big part of your life anyways.
Oh, you’re reading Kerouac. How do you like it?
I like it so far. It’s for the English literature list. The way he writes is very cool because it’s America after the Second World War. It’s interesting, as a European, to see the view of Americans after the war because it was a bit heavier over here. We experienced more of it—everybody, not just the people in the war. I’m not too much into history. But I like it.
I also draw, I paint, I write, I write poems.
Is there a particular theme you explore in poetry?
No, not really. It just depends on my mood. I try to stay current, not outdated, not be too pretentious. That’s the biggest part, I think: I don’t want to be too pretentious or anything. I cringe when I read very pretentious things.
Do you have a writer or a poet you really admire?
In the Netherlands, in the 50s, you had a group—De Vijftigers, “The Fifty-ers”—and they were experimental. They tried to build this whole thing, just without any rules, without any boundaries.
Is your family supportive about your smoking weed?
Of course, when you’re young, you try to hide it at first. You try to kind of be sneaky, but at a certain point, you’ll come home and your eyes are like fucking red [laughs]. You’re like, “Yeah, OK, I’m stoned.”
I have some friends and at their houses, we just sit there under the exhaust fan in the kitchen. That’s where most Dutch people smoke if they don’t want it to smell bad. We smoked a joint there with a friend’s parents. They are kind of hippie-ish, so they don’t mind. They come home from work, they roll a joint first, and they sit around and listen to some reggae music. That isn’t the relationship I have with my parents. And I really don’t mind. I don’t think I would be very comfortable with that. Til I was 15, I think, I was straightedge.
Did you put an X on your hand?
I was kinda into that, but grew out of it before I put any tattoos on myself. Now I have [shows tattoo on inner forearm].
That’s a unique tattoo: Artis de Partis, the mascot of Amsterdam’s zoo. What does it say?
“Butterflies are to look at.” It’s a little sign they put up in the butterfly house.
This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
Lead image: Karina Hof for Leafly.