Experience the strains that made Amsterdam the center of the weed world.
In the entirety of the long love affair between people and cannabis, there’s never been a place quite like Amsterdam. During the dark years of near-universal cannabis prohibition, the Netherlands was a lone bastion of legal weed, and Amsterdam was the nation’s beating heart.
Cannabis enthusiasts of all stripes made pilgrimages to the Netherlands to experience the world-famous “coffeeshops” for themselves and returned home with stories of now-legendary strains like White Widow, Amnesia Haze, and Northern Lights.
The culture of creation and appreciation nurtured in the Amsterdam coffeeshops gave rise to a generation of master breeders that influence the broader cannabis conversation to this day. Some of the foremost of these growers found their home at Royal Queen Seeds, the iconic European seed bank that has recently made its way to American shores.
We recently met RQS and learned about their fascinating F1 hybrid seeds, but this time, we’re looking back into the past with their Coffeeshop Classic seed bundle. This bundle of three famous strains, White Widow, Amnesia Haze, and Northern Lights, pays homage to a golden age of cannabis when the coffeeshop reigned supreme.
We’ll take a quick look at what made the coffeeshop scene so special, how it came to be, and how its legacy continues today. Then, we’ll take a peek at the strains included in the bundle and how they came to define the Amsterdam era. Let’s dive in!
How the Dutch saved weed
The Netherlands’ world-famous “coffeeshops,” which have been serving the needs of Dutch cannabis lovers and perplexing caffeine-deprived tourists for decades, owe their existence to a lucky confluence of factors.
Strong labor unions and a cultural bent towards pragmatism combined to make the Dutch legal system somewhat idiosyncratic, and these quirks encouraged Dutch authorities to take a laissez-faire approach to drug enforcement when it came to cannabis.
It wasn’t always that way, however. During the wave of psychoactive drug proliferation that happened all over the US and Europe during the 1960s, the Dutch responded as repressively as any other government. In the 1970s, the ever-pragmatic people wisely decided to reassess this policy and discovered that the cost of cannabis prohibition far outweighed the benefits.
While they did not fully legalize cannabis, the Dutch adopted a policy of non-enforcement of the laws currently on the books. In a situation that might be familiar to readers in a few American states, this resulted in a situation where cannabis is neither legal nor illegal, a term the Dutch call “Gedogen” but we might be more familiar with as a “grey market.”
But what does any of this have to do with coffee? Well, by the time the Geodogen era came around, cannabis had already completely penetrated youth culture in the Netherlands. It was not at all uncommon for cannabis dealers to congregate in the same places young people would, like music venues, movie theatres, and yes, coffeeshops.
When the Dutch government was considering what they should do about these “house dealers,” they decided it would be better to keep them dealing in safe venues, rather than being forced into the rougher parts of town where cannabis-seeking young people might encounter harder drugs.
Thus, coffeeshop became the unofficial, then official, term for a location where one could buy cannabis, and over the years, the coffeeshops grew into the world-famous industry they are today.
These factors combined to make the coffeeshops the premier locale for cannabis enthusiasts to meet each other, talk about the craft of growing, and compare favorite strains. It’s no underestimation to say that these coffeeshops had an essential role in nurturing and pioneering the cannabis culture that we all know and love today.
If it weren’t for the coffeeshops, there wouldn’t even be a Leafly! So next time you spark up your favorite strain, spare a thought for the coffeeshops of ages past that served an essential role in keeping your joint lit.
The deep roots of Royal Queen Seeds
This exciting coffeeshop backdrop of creative cannabis culture and consumption birthed a number of famous businesses that are still with us today, but few of them have the breadth of historical knowledge or the growing expertise possessed by the team at Royal Queen Seeds.
They owe their beginnings to the coffeshops, where they cut their teeth and learned to grow in Amsterdam, the heart and soul of the cannabis community. They were founded in the city during the height of the coffeeshop era and, to this day, operate a brick-and-mortar location in Amsterdam, deep in the historic downtown area.
This living connection to the coffeeshop era helps Royal Queen Seeds stay true to their roots. They were there when iconic strains were bred and proliferated throughout the coffeeshop community, and they weren’t just passive observers either.
Royal Queen Seeds hosted fairs during the coffeeshop era to help popularize strains and evangelize the wonders of cannabis. Many of the seeds that they have available for purchase today owe their lineage to this era, which the team at RQS remembers quite fondly.
“The Netherlands used to be the focal point of the cannabis movement. The world’s attention shifted there, and the industry flourished,” said Royal Queen Seeds founder, Boy Ramsahai. “Coffeeshops demanded the breeding and development of new stains, and people could freely enjoy smoking without issues.”
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Although the focus of the cannabis industry has definitively shifted to the American side of the Atlantic these days, we can look back on the Dutch coffeeshop era as a true golden age for cannabis and one that deserves to be appreciated.
Luckily, groups like RQS maintain the history, culture, and strains of genetics that made the halcyon days truly special. “The seed that was planted still thrives today with Royal Queen seeds,” said Ramsahai.
Grow your own history with the Coffeeshop Classics Pack
To pay homage to the cannabis of eras past, Royal Queen Seeds are offering a special bundle of seeds made famous by the coffeeshop culture that raised them. The three strains included in the Coffeeshop Classics Pack, White Widow, Amnesia Haze, and Northern Light, all grew into the legends they are today in the dynamic coffeeshop scene.
Royal Queen has safeguarded these genetics over the years, meaning that when these seeds germinate you can be sure that you will be getting the exact same terpene profile that set Amsterdam buzzing back in the day.
But breeders as savvy as RQS didn’t pick the three members of the Coffeeshop Classic Bundle only because they’re famous coffeeshop mainstays—no, these girls are sisters, who can team up to help you achieve a balanced buzz throughout the day.
Amnesia Haze, a citrusy, sativa-dominant strain offers a robust, cerebral high, perfect for a daytime smoke and pairing with, you guessed it, coffee. On the stem, Amnesia Haze buds feature flairs of burnt orange and plenty of frost.
Once the morning glow of an Amnesia Haze smoke wears off, White Widow is waiting for you in the wings. This child of the Netherlands and mainstay of the European market produces dense, resin-packed buds with famous flecks of white trichomes, from which this strain derives its name.
Few strains developed such a famous reputation as White Widow in the coffeeshop scene, due to its surging, powerful high that relaxes the body and accelerates the mind. White Widow is an ideal “rally” smoke, a great way to enter into a good-vibes mode after work when it’s time to party.
And when it’s finally time to nod off with a nightcap, the final strain in the Coffeeshop Classics bundle, Northern Lights, is just the strain you want. Northern Lights will give you a deep, stoney feeling that will mellow out even the most chaotic of days.
Growing Northern Lights will result in buds with an eye-catching viridian base with deep, nearly-black purps. Like her sisters in the bundle, Northern Lights is also quite potent, so make sure you’re careful with this icon of the coffeeshop era.
The Coffeeshop Classics Bundle is just a small selection of the dozens of strains that Royal Queen Seeds have on offer. You can head to their website to explore all of their different options, read their blog, check out growing FAQs, read user reviews, and more. You can also follow them on Facebook, X/Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with all the exciting deals and new products that RQS has in store.
Availability subject to law.