Vondel, a coffeeshop located on Overtoom, was the latest target in a spate of shootings that have plagued Amsterdam’s coffeeshop community. At least 3 shots were fired at Vondel during the early hours of Tuesday, luckily the coffeeshop was closed at the time and there have been no reported injuries. Just a week before, Blue Lagoon, which is a coffeeshop that is also located on Overtoom was fired upon, although there have been no injuries reported in many of these shootings it has left the cannabis community shaken.
If you look back a bit further there have been shootings at Green Place, Roxy, DNA, De Kroon and The Power which are all coffeeshops located in Amsterdam. One thing that all of these coffeeshops have in common is that they have been permanently shut down by Eberhard Van Der Laan, the Mayor of Amsterdam.
The owner of DNA was quoted as saying “the shootings are just an easy way to eliminate competition”. It is almost as though criminals are using these late-night shootings as a way to get Amsterdam’s Major to permanently close down the targeted coffeeshops.
Governing officials in Amsterdam have recently shown their desire to curtail their cannabis friendly reputation, they don’t want to be known as the “seedy” drug capital of Europe. However they fail to realise that their policy of closing down any coffeeshops that are shot at without seeing if the owners are actually involved in any criminal activity has meant that a higher percentage of the cannabis trade will return to the black market. As the black market becomes more lucrative as the coffeeshops are closed we will see an increase in bloodshed and violence on the streets of Amsterdam as gangs battle for territory.
It should also be noted that Dutch authorities have previously attempted to draft a blanket ban on cannabis consumption for all foreign tourists, this plan was thwarted by the European Union who demand equality for all European citizens. I wouldn’t go as far to say the Mayor is behind all of this but after watching House of Cards I am wary of all politicians….