Nightlife in the Netherlands is very diverse. Amsterdam is known for its neighbourhood bars, Rotterdam has a reputation for clubbing, and Groningen, Leiden and Utrecht have an active student scene. Bars offer a wide range of music scenes, but nightclubs are dominated by dancing. Entry to bars is legally permitted from the age of 16, but many bars and nightclubs have stricter policies and do not allow entry to people under 18 or 21.
The Netherlands is known for its liberal drug policy. Although technically still illegal under international treaties, personal use of (soft) drugs is regulated by the Ministry of Justice as part of an official gedogen policy; literally meaning ‘accept’ or ‘tolerate’. Legally, it is a doctrine of non-prosecution on the basis that the action taken would be so irregular as to constitute selective prosecution.
You are allowed to buy and smoke small doses (5 g or less) of cannabis or hashish. You must be 18 years or older to buy it. To do so, you must go to a coffee shop, which are plentiful in most major cities. Coffeeshops are not allowed to sell alcohol and minors (under 18) are not allowed to enter. Coffeeshops are prohibited from explicit advertising. For example, many use the red-yellow-green colours of Rastafari to allude to the products available inside, others are more discreet and sometimes almost hidden.
Hallucinogenic (“magic”) mushrooms, once legal, are officially banned. However, “magic truffles”, which contain the same active ingredients as magic mushrooms, are technically still legal and are sold in some headshops in Amsterdam.
Prostitution is decriminalised, but only for prostitutes who are registered in a licensed brothel. Safer sex and the use of condoms are common practice, and the prostitute usually has them. It is illegal for sex workers to solicit clients on the street. Prostitution is more common in the capital Amsterdam with its red light district, although tourists only go there as a souvenir of their trip. In more rural areas, prostitution is almost non-existent.