Foreign travel advice
Local laws and customs
Don’t carry or use drugs. The Netherlands has a reputation for being tolerant on the use of so-called ‘soft drugs’. In reality drugs are prohibited and this tolerance exists only for designated premises in the major cities. Possession of prohibited substances or buying them outside these designated areas can carry a prison sentence. Buying or smoking soft drugs in public places is an offence in Amsterdam. There are specifically designated cafés where the use of cannabis is tolerated. Although popular, the sale of both dry and fresh psychoactive mushrooms is forbidden by law. Be extremely careful as combinations of alcohol, cannabis and wild mushrooms are a fatal cocktail and have resulted in several deaths.
Everybody from the age of 14 must be able to show a valid identity document to police officers and other law enforcement authorities on their request. The documents you can use to prove your identity depend on your nationality:
- If you are a British national living in or visiting the Netherlands you can use your passport.
- If you are a dual national you can identify yourself with a valid Dutch driving licence, passport or Dutch/European identity card.
- Photocopies are accepted as a temporary measure but police may insist on seeing the original document as well.