News You Might Have Missed: The Yin-Yang of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city of contradictions … Nah, too cliche.

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Amsterdam – the hazy Paris of the East … Nope. Paris of the [fill-in-the-blank] has been done to death. Plus, I think there might already be a city in Europe called Paris.

Amsterdam – goddamn, they love drugs! Not exactly creative. And perhaps not altogether accurate.

Regardless of how you headline it, it’s sad to see that a long-standing tradition of law enforcement looking the other way amid Amsterdam’s “coffee shops” could be overshadowed by the draconian anti-smoking ban planned to blanket the city in July 2008:

A Dutch smoking ban will come into force in July next year for all restaurants and cafes — including coffee shops where cannabis is the top attraction, the government decided on Friday.

“Coffee shops will be treated in the same manner as other catering businesses. They will be smoke-free,” Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told NOS television.

But there is a pseudo-silver lining. Okay, more like a grayish lining with a slight metallic tingle:

Establishments will not in fact have to be completely smoke-free. Proprietors will be allowed to set up a separate room or glass partition behind which people can smoke, but customers will not be served there to protect staff.

Right. At what cost to small businesses?

But I digress as this wasn’t meant to discuss the politics of the decision but rather the ingenuity of Amsterdam-ians (?) to inadvertently replace the skirting of one illicit substance abuse policy by redeveloping an entirely different substance to abuse.


Dutch students have invented powdered alcohol …

The latest innovation in inebriation, called Booz2Go, is being sold in 20-gram packets that cost €1 to €1.5.

Top it up with water and you have a bubbly, lime-coloured and -flavoured drink with 3-per-cent alcohol content.


Bonus points for cleverness and marketability for sure!

“Because the alcohol is not in liquid form, we can sell it to people below 16,” project member Martyn van Nierop said.

I’m not sure how well that’s going to go over with the Dutch, but good on ya, Mr. van Nierop, for having that entrepreneurial, albeit misguided, spirit!

Assuming you speak Dutch, this video tells the whole story:

Is it at all frightening that the guy mixing the Booz2Go cocktail is wearing a skull-and-crossbones hat?

Lastly, I wonder on what legal ground smoking the powdered alcohol in coffee shops falls? Another topic for another day …

Founding Editor
  1. He says it like that was their goal all along – like he just discovered the cure for cancer and can’t wait to tell someone about it.

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