America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
Amsterdam High School Relocates to Save Historic Coffeeshop
By Dan Geddes
24 March 2012
AMSTERDAM–A recent Dutch law forbids the operation of any of Amsterdam’s world famous cannabis coffeeshops within 300 meters of a school. While many coffeeshops will be forced to close, one Amsterdam principal has responded to the law by announcing that he will be closing his public high school instead.
“While we support the new law’s goal in establishing some distance between schools and coffeeshops, we have decided that the coffeeshops are far more important for the future of Amsterdam than the location of our particular school,” said Marc van den Rijn, 59, principal of the prestigious Johan Cruyff New Gymnasium in Amsterdam's city center.
“Unfortunately, our building is only 299 meters from the Holy Amsterdam coffeeshop, in a small alley just off the Herengracht. They were here first—since 1975—so we will just have to go.”
Van den Rijn’s primary motivation was to preserve Amsterdam’s tourist magnet, the coffeeshops.
“I am afraid that despite our glorious Dutch weather and world-famous Dutch cuisine, such as pickled herring and boiled cabbage, Amsterdam will become only an obscure, second-rate tourist destination if the coffeeshops are ever closed. In their hearts, everybody knows this."
"Without access to semi-legal weed and hash, tourists who can tolerate merciless North Sea winds and incessant rain might prefer to go to Hamburg or Bruges instead. Hamburg has better prostitutes anyway, as everyone knows. And Bruges has more colorful architecture."
"And, while educational, not everyone finds visiting the Anne Frank house—where a poor Jewish girl hid from the Nazis, before they shipped her off to a work camp to die—to be a particularly uplifting holiday experience. They might even prefer Euro Disney to that. Or Iceland."
“Our school building needs a major renovation anyway, so we are happy to move outside of the city center and start over in a new building, far away from the venerable Holy Amsterdam coffeeshop, where I've been buying weekend hash for me and my wife since 1975. I'll have to cycle into the city center on Friday evening, but it will be worth it. At least Holy Amsterdam will be saved,” said van den Rijn.
Holy Amsterdam coffeeshop owner Wim Koepoep stated: "We are pleased with Principal van den Rijn's decision. Since the Johan Cruyff Gymnasium is moving out, we are planning to buy the school building and begin a major expansion, including the establishment of a Cannabis College, where students can study the history and science behind this fine plant, also known as hemp."
"If we all went back to making paper from the renewable hemp plant, as used to be the case, it would no longer be necessary to chop down a single tree to create paper products, including toilet paper and paper napkins. Hemp is also a superior fabric to cotton in most respects, including its positive environmental impact. Hemp can really save the world!"
So far no other Amsterdam principals have announced their intention to close their schools to save local coffeeshops.
24 March 2012