The Dutch owner of café De Kachel in Groningen who fought against the smoking ban and racked up some 20,000 euro in fines has been invited to speak in Scotland about the smoking ban. Back in February 2009 Gerhard Sannes was the first café owner in the Netherlands to be fined for repeated smoking in his establishment, earning him international attention. He runs a small one-person pub and felt pushed to go out of business if he were to apply the ban, which he fought.
In Scotland, some 700 pubs have closed because of the smoking ban. The Scots are interested in the Dutch system, which allows small pub owners, usually self-employed owners with no staff, to allow smoking.
I cannot help but point out the irony of flying to Scotland at the moment, which is not possible because of volcanic ash. But maybe the ash will clear up on time.
(Links rtvnoord.nl, gic.nl)
Tags: Groningen, smoking ban
While outgoing Minister of Health Ab Klink blew up his own political career recently with his yes-no-yes-no behaviour at a crucial moment, now one of his biggest political accomplishments is being turned over: the smoking ban.
After fighting tooth and nail, small cafe owners with no staff will be allowed to smoke and allow smoking in their establishment. Although the smoking ban has been in effect since 2008 and there have been creative people with small cafes fighting it, the first nation-wide exception is coming up. This is a big ‘international sign of friendship’ salute to Mr Klink.
Besides the obvious monetary arguments, protecting staff again smoking when you don’t have staff is nonsensical. The Netherlands is funny that way.
Tags: smoking, smoking ban
This past weekend in and around Amsterdam and probably throuhgout the rest of the country a number of smoking parties were held where people could smoke just about anything including marijuana and haschsch where normally etiquette dictates that that is more of a coffeeshop thing. A DJ friend over at Ghetto Restaurant on the Warmoestraat played music about smoking and cigarettes, and cigar aficionados had get togethers all over town, if I can believe all the flyers I saw. We all know that the French, Irish, Canadians and Americans all run out outdoors in packs to smoke one, even two cigarettes in a row and then get back to their food and drinks left with the friends who don’t smoke. The Dutch also know that tomorrow, 1 July, Big Brother won’t necessarily be coming by to check and see if everyone has radically changed their habits.
Predictions are fun when they are not taken seriously, so here are some predictions for the upcoming month as regards the smoking ban.
1) The first major fine from a respectable establishment will make the news.
2) Some places will pay the fines and let people smoke in protest, at least for a while.
3) All kinds of private clubs with membership will cash in, as the ban on them will not apply.
4) Any kind of weirdo initiative will make the news, especially anything related to coffeeshops.
5) More establishments than expected will either close or change hands.
6) There will be clashes between smokers who persist and non-smokers who feel they have won the war.
Let’s wait till the smoke clears.
Tags: Amsterdam, cigarettes, coffeeshops, smoking ban
After 1 July 2008 smoking will be a thing of the past in Dutch cafes and restaurants. This also means that smoking anything in coffeeshops will also be banned. We already reported about one coffeeshop who jumped the gun and banned smoking as of 1 January 2008.
Local Amsterdam television station AT5 has already claimed that the new hype to circumvent the ban is smoking using a condom-shaped balloon. Pot is evaporated and placed in a balloon that really does look like a condom once fully blown. Using the ‘smoking condom’, one can take a toke without anyone being bothered by it. None of the reports say anything about exhaling the smoke though… we’ll keep you informed.
Tags: Amsterdam, balloon smoking, coffeeshops, smoking ban
As of 1 February, Boerenjongens, an Amsterdam coffeeshop (a place to smoke marijuana and haschisch in the Netherlands) decided to ban smoking inside its establishment. Owner Martijn van Bennekom says that all his employees were for a ban on smoking. “It’s much nicer to work in a smoke-free environment than to work in smoke the whole day”. While some patrons have no problems with the idea, others think it’s weird. “You can’t drink alcohol in a coffeeshop and now you can’t smoke. All you can do is drink coffee now.” So people come to buy drugs and leave because you can’t smoke in front of the coffeeshop either. The owner says he hopes that selling fancy juices, coffee and the smoking ban will attract people who wouldn’t normally go to a coffeeshop. One patron said, “when you go to the supermarket you just buy your food, you don’t eat it there.” That’s one way to look at it.
Tags: Amsterdam, coffeeshops, hasch, marijuana, smoking ban
After all the whining and complaining about banning smoking in Dutch establishments in the media (you can still see people being interviewed smoke on TV), some 70% of hotels, restaurants and cafes plan to ban smoking in their establishments on 1 January 2008. This is surprising since the actual ban is set for 1 July 2008. According to a spokesperson of the Royal Dutch catering and hospitality organisation, implementing the ban on 1 January has psychological reasons. “Many people start their resolutions on New Year’s Day, which often includes giving up smoking.” In fact, about three quarters of Dutch hotels have had smoking bans since 2006.
And then there’s the discussion about an exception to the ban for ‘coffeeshops’, which in Dutch refers to cafes that sell weed and hasch, since the whole point is to go there and smoke.
Tell us what you think. And Happy New Year!
Tags: coffeeshops, hotels, New Year's resolutions, smoking ban