The secret story of The Bulldog coffee shop
The Bulldog coffee shop legacy started in 1970 when Henk de Vries started selling African Grass in matchboxes at the Kralingse Bos music festival in Holland. He didn’t know it at the time but this was going to get much bigger than a few buds in matchboxes! On December the 17th in 1975 Henk dumped the contents of his dad’s sex shop into an Amsterdam canal and made his move to open the world’s first coffee shop. It didn’t take him long to think of the name, his dog Joris was his inspiration for the mighty Bulldog. This also led to the first police police raids on Amsterdam coffee shops when the Bulldog got raided more than twice a day, but still Henk continued to trade and his coffee shop that started with a few friends smoking a joint (or two) in an old sex shop grew and grew. Henk set up a pretty crude system to keep them one step ahead of the police by having his bar staff drop an orange on the floor to alert the smoking masses below that the police had arrived. We’re not sure how well the system worked as it probably didn’t make that much noise compared to a busy coffee shop, but we’re pretty certain someone was high when they came up with the idea!
Then in 1985 on April fools day the huge Bulldog coffee shop that’s now Innovation In The Dam‘s second home was opened in Leidseplein… the joke? It was previously called Police Headquaters Number 14! It had gone up for sale in the early eighties and Henk just had to make the impossible come true. Now one of the main police stations in Amsterdam was not only a bar selling beer and food, but also a variety of weed and seeds! Some of the weed strains on sale over the years include; Candy Kush, Lemon Haze, Super Silver Haze, White Widow, and Bubble Gum. You’ve really got to check the menus out in the coffee shop for all the latest weed on offer at the Bulldog.
In the years the Bulldog Coffee Shop has been open it’s been visited by countnless celebrities and is certainly a place to be seen. Names include Mike Tyson, Snoop Dogg, Sean Penn, Mariah Carey.. the list goes on, and now it’s the official home of the Innovation In The Dam podcast every November.
So as you can see Henk de Vries like to innovate and so do we, it’s for all these reasons that the Bulldog in Leidseplein is the place Innovation has chosen to host our dnb podcast events (not to mention it being within handy staggering distance of our all-night venue, The Melkweg!!). The next Innovation podcast session at the Bulldog in Leidsplein is going to be at Innovation In The Dam as part of our huge drum and bass weekender, come along and soak in some history of the oldest coffee shop in Amsterdam and smoke, drink and eat to the sounds of live drum and bass featuring some massive dj’s and mc’s (tbc).