Dick Bruna House

The Dick Bruna House Museum has opened in Utrecht, at the Centraal Museum in February, 2006. Dedicated to the life and work of perhaps Holland's most favorite contemporary artist, this unique space is a joy to visit for children and adults alike. Dick Bruna is the creator of the cartoon characters Miffy the Rabbit (known as Nijntje here in Holland), Poppy Pig, Snuffy the Dog and Boris Bear. Beginning in 1952, this artist has been delighting children of all ages with his unique, colorful style. Mr. Bruna was the son of a publisher, and he started his graphic arts career creating book covers. In fact Dick Bruna is just as famous for his book covers as he is for his cartoons! Some authors he has worked for are Georges Simenon (Maigret) and Leslie Charteris (the Saint). He is also known for his incredible posters, stamps and other graphic designs. Mr. Bruna said that "it is like a dream come true. And to have this during my lifetime! With most artists, this only happens after they're long dead." Dick went on to say "in the earlier days, going to a museum was different. You had to be very quiet and all. With this museum, children play if they want, there are computers, they can draw, there's lots of reading to do. But at the same time, the parents can see all the different things I've made for adults, book covers and posters and whatever."

Posted by on Thursday, March 23 @ 20:14:15 UTC (3506 reads)
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Dutch Economy Shrinks

Dutch Econmy Shrinks According to reports, the economy shrunk in Holland for the first time in 20 years, due to slower exports. Perhaps this is due to the high exchange rates on the euro, or the world economy at large. Unemployment recently rose to 6.6 percent in April 2004 and is still rising. In spite of this seemingly bad news, the Netherlands ranks eighth in the world as an exporting nation, and the third largest in food exports worldwide. Amazing considering the small size of Holland, with it’s three names for itself. Whether you call it Dutch, Holland or the Netherlands, this place is still incredibly productive and industrious compared to any other nation on earth. The highly-educated multilingual country is home to many worldwide banking, insurance and manufacturing companies such as ABN-AMRO, Phillips, and Shell. Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is one of the world’s largest transportation hubs, and the port of Rotterdam is on of the biggest transshipment points of global trade. Very important stuff. However, there are still some serious drawbacks to doing business in the Netherlands, and old traditions die hard in this country. Holland has the highest rate of temporary workers in the world, and the glass ceiling is firmly in place for women trying to get to the top of any business structure. Women do not exist at the managerial level in the Netherlands, or very rarely. This part-time work mentality leads to masses of people with careers in a virtual loop of always looking for the next job, and no stability. Yet they pride themselves on their flexibility as they flock to the coffeeshops, cafes, bars and restaurants to fuel the service industryu with their hard-earned euros. ~Martin Trip

Posted by on Wednesday, December 28 @ 02:56:04 UTC (3513 reads)
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Handheld GPS for rent to tourists in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the first city worldwide where a GPS based handheld navigational device can be rented by tourists. The City Navigator is easy to use and filled with 500 selected points of interest; tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, entertainment, museums, cultural hotspots etc., as well as various interesting pedestrian routes. The City Navigator helps its users to find their way effortlessly through the beautiful Dutch capital with turn-by-turn directions in all European languages. Strolling through town the users can see on the map which special places are in their direct vicinity. The City Navigator is for rent at various hotels. Prices from 16€/day. Background:
Tourists often get lost. In the historical centre of Amsterdam they virtually stand on every street corner staring at a city map trying to figure out how to get to their next destination. The strength of navigation systems that use the Global Positioning System is that it always displays the exact position on an electronic map and that is where the fun starts. Using the City Navigator, visitors find their way without the endless discussions and quarrels how to get to there. Since it is programmed for pedestrian use,(it also works great on a bicycle!) it always takes the shortest possible route, usually taking you off the main roads and through the charming picturesque streets of Amsterdam. The location based service always gives information on the restaurants, bars, museums, shops, picturesque places near their current location. Amsterdam is relatively small compared to other capitals like Paris and London. Tourists still often get lost because they have no feeling for the scale of the City. With the City Navigator visitors can feel free to roam the town without having to worry how to get back to the hotel, and always have all interesting places at hand. The Citynavigator is the perfect addition for printed media (travel guides, etc.) as one can find any address in greater Amsterdam with one touch of a button. More info:
www.citynavigators.com

Posted by on Sunday, October 16 @ 08:28:29 UTC (4558 reads)
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Public Holidays 2005-2006

Public Holidays in the Netherlands for 2005 are:
January 1 New Year's Day
March 25 Good Friday
March 27 Easter
March 28 Easter Monday
April 30 Queen's Birthday
May 5 Ascension Day
May 5 Liberation Day
May 15 Whit Sunday
May 16 Whit Monday
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Second Christmas Day


Public Holidays in the Netherlands for 2006 are:
January 1 New Year's Day
April 14 Good Friday
April 16 Easter
April 17 Easter Monday
April 30 Queen's Birthday
May 25 Ascension Day
June 4 Whit Sunday
June 5 Whit Monday
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Second Christmas Day

Posted by on Saturday, October 08 @ 03:27:23 UTC (4557 reads)
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Cannabis Cup November 20-24 2005

The Cannabis Cup lives on in Amsterdam. In spite of many shortcomings, the venerable cup continues to hazily stumble on year after year, due to hefty subsidies from High Times magazine. This 18th annual event will feature Patti Smith and her band, and the plan is to induct John Trudell into the Counterculture Hall of Fame. If you are not familiar with John Trudell, or his band Bad Dog, you should be. According to his website, "Trudell, a Vietnam Veteran, served in the U.S. Navy from 1963-1967, attended college for a while and then dropped out. In 1969, Trudell participated in the occupation of Alcatraz Island by Indians of All Tribes, becoming a spokesman for Indians of All Tribes. After the Indians of All Tribes occupation ended in 1971, Trudell worked with the American Indian Movement, becoming national Chairman of AIM in 1973. Trudell was chairman of AIM from 1973 until 1979. In February of 1979, Trudell's mother-in-law, wife and three children were killed in a fire of unknown origin." At that time he began to chronicle his experiences and his pain through music, and recorded a number of albums hailed critically by such artists as Bob Dylan. His material is a unique blend of poetry, Native instrumentation, blues and rock. With his new album "Bone Days" he has continued to try and raise the consciouness of all listeners to new levels of understanding. The Cannabis Cup will be further enhanced with the legendary Patti Smith on hand performing her work. Patti Smith has been on the scene, literally, since the 1960s when she lived in New York City with famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. She worked in avant garde thater productions and visual arts, until she found her voice and the words to stir up the music scene, producing one of the first independent rock DIY albums, recorded in 1974. Her career went on from there, with many bestselling albums including "Horses." Patti Smith took a hiatus from 1979 thru the mid 1990's, when she returned to the performing scene after the deaths of her husband and brother within a month of each other. Now she is a legend in her own right, showcasing the human condition with all its flaws and beauty through her music. This year the Cannabis Cup will be held at the Melkweg, and the Sugar Factory. Finally the cup management wised up and found a spot right by the Melkweg to use for the displays and seminars, etc. that always accompany the music festival that is the heart of the Cannabis Cup. The Sugar Factory was known as the Amuse Theater previously to this May, and its door is directly opposite the entrance to the Melweg. The Melkweg and Sugar Factory are located right off the Leidseplein, which is easily reached from anywhere in Amsterdam by tram, taxi or foot. Here's hoping your Cannabis Cup experience is everything you expect it to be! ~Martin Trip

Posted by on Monday, September 12 @ 01:08:50 UTC (6697 reads)
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: Strolling around the Jordaan

Art and Culture of the Jordaan
Once a working class area, Amsterdam’s Jordaan has become greatly sought after. The converted warehouses are especially popular, and the Jordaan is now inhabited by a colorful mixture of students, well-to-do businessmen and creative professionals. The Jordaan oozes atmosphere with its narrow streets, picturesque canals, old monuments, many courtyards, markets and art studios.
History
The Jordaan was build at the large expansion of Amsterdam in early 17th century, as a district for the working class and emigrants. The population increase during the next centuries was enormously, caused by the stream political refugees like protestant Fleming, Spanish and Portuguese Jews and French Huguenots who mainly settled in the Jordaan. It was a poor district with small houses and slums, every little room stuffed with families and lots of children. The entire area was one ghetto with open sewers, canals served for both transport and sewer, and no running water. Around 1900 there lived about 80 thousand people, nowadays about 20 thousand.
Rembrandt
The famous 17th century Dutch writer Joost van den Vondel and photographer Breitner lived in the Jordaan. Artists, like the painter Rembrandt van Rijn in his lesser successful period, also came living in the Jordaan because of the low rents.
The house of Rembrandt was on the Rozengracht (Rose canal, still a real canal these days). His studio was on the Bloemgracht (Flower canal). The famous painter was buried in a poor mans grave in the Westerkerk (West church).
Monument Care
During the seventieth of the 20th century the city council had serious plans to mainly demolish big parts of the district and replace them for large ugly blocks of modern buildings. There where many protests against this idea. City protectors, such as Monument Care, where against the loss of the historical town and the people of the Jordaan feared for large rent increases. Thanks to this resistance the plan was modified, there came smallscale projects which would repair the neighborhood, without damaging its original character.
Strolling
A large renovation was started. By then the district was discovered by a new generation occupants: artists, students, and young entrepreneurs. The old inhabitants moved to other neighborhoods and cities like Almere. Partly by these new inhabitants the Jordaan has changed from a slum area to a district for artist, still living on low rent, and the rich who bought the very expensive renovated houses. Nowadays the Jordaan is compared to the rest of the town an oasis of peace with a labyrinth of narrow streets and little canals, nice for strolling around courtyards, art studios, and monumental buildings with stone tablets, old-fashioned ‘brown’ pubs, boutiques or galleries.
Markets
There are also some markets in this area. Saturdays you will find the Lindenmarkt (Lime market), a general market, on the Lindengracht (Lime canal) and a biological food market on the Noordermarkt (North market). Mondays you have a flea market at the Noordermarkt and a market on the Westerstraat (West street) with nice fabrics. On the Noordermarkt you can visit the Noorderkerk (North church), designed by Hendrick de Keyser in the 17th century.
Noorderkerk
Many people think that the Westerkerk (West church) on the Westermarkt is the main church of the Jordaan. It’s true that you can hear its carillon and see the beautiful Westertoren (West tower) everywhere in the neighborhood and that the Jordaanfestival is located on his square, but the church is actually located just outside the Jordaan. So the main church of the Jordaan is the Noorderkerk.
The Noorderkerk was built in the northern part in 1620-1623 by Hendrick de Keyser and his son Pieter. The church is still in use as a Protestant church, and like the Westerkerk open to everyone, especially during concerts.
Art studios
Hundreds of artist discovered the Jordaan in the 70th because of the low rent of houses in these little streets. The lucky ones are renting a studio in one of these beautiful inner courtyards of the neighborhood. Every two years the artist organize a so called ‘open studio event’. During these days visitors can have a look in the ‘kitchens’ of the artist. There is also a permanent ornamental route called ‘Jewels in the Jordaan’. Past charming alleyways and picturesque canals it leads to gold- and silversmiths.
Courtyards
The Jordaan has a high concentration of hofjes (inner courtyards), beautiful yards with little houses, many of them with restored houses and peaceful gardens. These courtyards were build by rich people for older women; a kind of charity and protection. Beginning of the 70th most of these courtyards was in a very bad shape, like the rest of the neighborhood. After there restoration they were discovered by artist, students and still some older people with special privileges because of a church membership. Some of the courtyards are closed to the public, and only opened on special days called 'open monuments days'. But if you do come across one of the entrances, and it is unlocked, most residents won't mind if you sneak a quiet peek. During the summer some of these yards are opened on Sundays during free concerts called ‘hofjesconcerts’.
Stone tablets
Many houses in the Jordaan have a stone tablet, a stone sign that shows the profession or family sign of the inhabitants. For instance a butcher showed a pig and a tailor a pair of scissors, carved in a stone above the entry. During a walk it’s a pleasure to observe those beautiful, when renovated colorful, antique signs. The first stone tablets are made in the 16th century, when citizens were ordered to use these tablets instead of big wooden gables that obstructed the traffic in these narrow streets.
Musea
Most of the musea in the Jordaan are small. You have the Pianola museum with old mechanical pianos, a literate museum Theo Thijssen, a houseboat museum, and a fluorescent museum called Electric Lady Land. Just on the boarder of the Jordaan you can find the Anne Frank House on the Prinsengracht (Prince canal).

Virtual visit
Because of its special character it’s a pleasure to visit the Jordaan. If you would like to virtually visit the art studios and courtyards or stroll around other cultural aspects of the Jordaan, I recommend the virtual website: Jordaan WEB, art & culture of the Jordaan.

Ad Bakkenes





Posted by on Friday, September 02 @ 02:29:05 UTC (5583 reads)
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Private Art Tours

Private Art Tours with Drs. Kees Kaldenbach I am an academic tour guide, providing guided tailor-made Private Art Tours. I travel with my clients either by car or by public transport. With this message I would like to inform you about my travel and guide options in The Netherlands, also available in the upcoming Rembrandt year 2006. I prefer to guide small and select groups to museum visits and to walks in historic Dutch towns. Numerous TV and other media networks - among which BBC2 - have sought my expert assistance and TV appearance. Having an academic background, my presentation is very communicative and therefore open for a wide audience. For the Dutch National Tourist Board I often take foreign journalists on walking tours of Amsterdam - to tell them about historic Amsterdam but also about present-day Amsterdam. Contact:
Private Art Tours
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach
Haarlemmermeerstraat 83 hs
1058 JS Amsterdam tel NL+20 - 669 8119
cell NL+6 - 2868 9775 http://www.xs4all.nl/~kalden/verm/Vermeer_lecturesENG.html
http://www.xs4all.nl/~kalden/verm/VanGogh_lecturesENG.html
http://www.xs4all.nl/~kalden/verm/rembr_lecturesENG.html

Posted by on Tuesday, August 16 @ 03:06:38 UTC (3215 reads)
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: Cannabis Cup Tours

Cannabis Cup Amsterdam, A High Times Event
New for 2005* Escorted VIP Judge Pacakge
$1599 per person, airfare extra
November 18-26, 2005 Judges can now relax and enjoy themselves by having a guide lead a group of judges to the coffee shops, grow seminars and night time parties, instead of running around trying to figure out how to get from coffee shop to coffee shop, higher then they have ever been in their life "This is not your typical backpacker-hostel-staying-stoner event any more." Said the founder and creator of Cannabis Cup Tours. "People from all walks of life flock to Amsterdam every Thanksgiving to submerge themselves in all things marijuana, and judge the best of the best. Now they can do it in style!" Package includes: 7night stay in a beautiful traditional 4 star hotel right in Dam Square a stone through of the Palace. There is a candle lit canal dinner, a private trip out of the city to medieval Harlem, and a guided walking tour of the Red Light District and much much more! The tour has limited space. To reserve your space now and for more information visit Cannabis Cup Tours website http://www.Cannabis-Cup-Tours.com
Or call toll free 1-800-865-3958

Posted by on Thursday, June 02 @ 06:48:47 UTC (14282 reads)
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Golf in the Netherlands

Golf in the Netherlands has become big since World War Two, and courses are to be found just about everywhere in this gem of a little country. The Amsterdam Old Course is southeast of Amsterdam and was opened in 1990.
Telephone:+31(0)206943650 The Amsterdamse course was opened in 1934, and is west of the city.
Telephone: +31(0)204977866 The Haarlemmermeersche is west of Amsterdam, in Cruquiusdijk.
Telephone: +31(0)235583124 Heemskerkse has been open since 1998, and is northwest of Amsterdam.
Telephone: +31(0)251250088 The Kennemer Golf and Country Club has been around since 1910, and is Zaandvoort, west of Amsterdam on the sea. A very popular destination.
Telephone: +31(0)235712836 De Noordhollandse is in Alkmaar, and has 18 holes.
Telephone: +31(0)725156807 The Olympus (1973), is on Abcouderstraatweg, in the southwest of Amsterdam.
Telephone: +31(0)294285373 The Permur, in Permurend has 18 holes, and opened in 1989.
Telephone: +31(0)299462143 The Spaarnwoude opened in 1977, and is near the famed rave/dance site used for spectacular events such as Dance Valley.
Telephone: +31(0)235382708 The Waterlandse opened in 1990, and has 18 holes.
Telephone: +31(0)206325650 The Zaanse opened in 1988 in the town of Wijdewormer northeast of Amsterdam.
Telephone: +31(0)299479123 We hope the information above is helpful to anyone wanting to play a relaxing round of golf in the beautiful Netherlands. And it's not a bad place to light up a fatty on Saturday mornings I hear.

Posted by on Wednesday, January 12 @ 13:51:08 UTC (3820 reads)
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: Coffeeshops To Continue Selling Cannabis

No new Laws, No Discrmination!
by Nol van Schaik Dutch coffeeshops can keep on serving foreign cannabis consumers. The recent news about the possible exclusion of foreigners from the Dutch cannabis coffeeshops raised up quite a stir, worldwide! I have the habit to protest against any anti coffeeshop and cannabis propaganda, and not only because I happen to be the co-owner of three coffeeshops, I have a problem with prohibition. After doing some digging on and downloading from the Internet, I found out that Minister Donner has no right to exclude foreigners from purchasing marihuana or hash in our widely criticised coffeeshops, he is just trying to stay friends with the Germans by making promises he cannot keep. Here is what I dug up, and the Dutch coffeeshop regulations. Just keep all coming to the Netherlands to enjoy cannabis in coffeeshops, the boogie man does not exist…. Dutch coffeeshops: Current legal status. The latest commotion around Dutch cannabis coffeeshops, caused by the criticism of Germany’s Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily, leads people to believe this will automatically lead to the measurements suggested by the new Dutch Minister of Justice, Piet Hein Donner. I will try to explain the legal status of the Dutch cannabis coffeeshops. According to the 2003 figures, there are now only 782 THC coffeeshops left in the Netherlands. All of these coffeeshops are allowed to sell cannabis, through a tolerance permit, they all pay taxes over the sales of cannabis. Justice Minister Donner is clear about coffeeshops: He does not want them, and will try everything in his power to get them all closed. He promised he will close half of the Dutch coffeeshops, who are to close to schools and other buildings where young people are concentrated, and for other violations of the AHOJG regulations for coffeeshops. This is bluff, Minister Donner knows that he can not close one coffeeshop, he can only ask the city-councils and Mayors to act as he wishes, for only local authorities have the power to act against the coffeeshops in their municipality. The Dutch Government only set out the guidelines for Holland’s coffeeshop policy, it is up to the local authorities to work out a policy for their city, town or village. The CDA, Donner’s political party, and the biggest party in the Netherlands, stands alone in their urge to go after coffeeshops and cannabis, all other parties in the Dutch Parliament are for a more progressive stance towards the substance and the trade in it. Only the municipalities with a CDA lead City council and Mayor might be subdue to Donner’s wishes, in case they have any coffeeshops. Only 107 out of Holland’s 496 municipalities have coffeeshops, so the black market serves the largest part of our country, even today. That would be the channel that could serve the foreigners, in case Donner’s scheme would have worked, as they serve the under 18’s already. About 46% of the Dutch cannabists buy their softdrugs in coffeeshops. The CDA believes in the gateway theory, meaning they think that cannabis is the first step to the use of hard drugs, the reason they want to close the coffeeshops. This makes them so tough to convince, it is easier to argue with the wise, than it is to argue with the ignorant. Minister Donner is heavily overplaying his hand, he already promised German Minister Schily that he would tell the Dutch coffeeshops to no longer sell cannabis to foreigners, specifically Germans. The City councils involved, those along the German border, and Venlo in particular, do not agree with Donner. Venlo has 5 registered coffeeshops, and recently launched the plan to open two more, close to the German border, to keep the traffic out of the city centre. Venlo is afraid that Donner’s plans will cause more dealers on the street, and wants to talk to Donner on short notice, about the consequences of his ideas. Other cities from the border area, Nijmegen, Hengelo and Enschede clearly state that foreign visitors of the coffeeshops do not cause any problems at the moment. These cities will not comply with Donner’s plans, they want peace and quiet in their communities, and freely accessible coffeeshops. The Dutch Federation of Municipalities (VNG) will await Donner’s concrete proposals first, in order to be able to check the stance of the member cities and municipalities. The ‘border problem’ can only be solved by opening coffeeshops in Germany, Minister Donner should tell Minister Schily that, instead of licking up to him. Like the CDA, Minister Schily is a believer in the Gateway Theory, ignorance is not bound by borders. The registration system, as Minister Donner wants it, will implicate that all coffeeshop will have to become members-clubs, register their, Dutch only, visitors as members and issue them with a members pass. Only people with such a pass should be allowed to buy and use cannabis, foreigners without a pass can only enter the coffeeshops, drink coffee and watch the Dutchies do their thing, smoking cannabis in a safe environment. This system would not only exclude Germans, but every non-Dutch person, even Eskimo’s. This will not work, because such a system would be against the Law, says Ruud Galle, a professor in Members-Clubs Law. He says it might be the system to regulate the business, buy allowing a maximum number of members, who can buy a maximum quantity of cannabis. But you cannot refuse members on nationality, that is DISCRIMINATION. Galle also predicts that Donner’s plans would lead to the creation of new channels. Members that can buy cannabis can then sell it to others, for example. This means, that any foreigner could join up as a member of a Dutch coffeeshop club, and buy and smoke cannabis in there. Let’s save ourselves the time and money, and invest that in a nice joint, instead of filling in a form and walking around with Donner’s Dopey ID. Belgium, on the other hand, recently allowed their cannabis-consuming citizens the possession of 3 grams of cannabis, and to use it in private. Their Justice Minister, Verwilghen, said that he would not allow the sales of cannabis in Belgium, anyone who wants it, should go to a Dutch coffeeshop. Minister Donner never addressed him about that, although the coffeeshops on the Belgian border are flushed with herds of Belgian and French cannabists. Verwilghen was clearly in violation of the A of the Dutch AHOJG rules, he was promoting all Dutch coffeeshops! It appears that Donner is not very smart, he shouts all kind of things about and against coffeeshops, then comes up with a couple of weird plans, which all turn out to be non-executable, legally and technically. Holland has a clown running the Justice department, and an adult Harry Potter for Prime Minister, but they are not very entertaining, their lack of competence is boring and disturbing. One of the Dutch parties in the opposition, Groen Links (Green Left), knows all the facts that Donner either ignored or did not know, they made an excellent report about the use of drugs in the Netherlands, based on facts and figures of official statistics and research. They suggest to take cannabis out of the penal system, and to regulate the use of other drugs efficiently, for the better of Dutch society, and to inform the rest of the world of the good results of the Dutch policy. Groen Links should ask the parliament if Minister Donner was informed about the standing of the Netherlands in drugs consumption worldwide, before he started selling us out to Germany. My coffeeshops are open for everybody above 18 years, and we sell cannabis to every nationality, we might refuse right wing politicians. The Dutch Coffeeshop regulations, or the: AHOJG rules in English: A : the A means : NO Advertising or promotion for the sales of softdrugs. No more weed leafs on the front of coffeeshops, in some cities it is even forbidden to have your logo and address printed on your lighters ! No stickers, no T-shirts, no ads. H : the H stands for : NO Hard drugs on the premises, not for sale and not for personal use. The shopkeeper and staff have to be real sharp on this, the police are! Coffeeshops do not allow problematic hard drug users in, for that reason, their personal stash could mean a yellow card for the coffeeshop, on a check up. O : the O stands for NO Overlast, which word actually means: Disturbing of the peace, like to loud music, customers being to loud on leaving the premises, etc. This rule goes for all bars, discos, cafes and restaurants too, and are common in Dutch Leisure and society. J : The J is your Y, for NO Youths, they are not allowed in under 18 years of age. Coffeeshops should be on a certain distance from schools and youth centers, varying from 150 to 250 meters, in different municipalities. G : The G stands for NO Big Quantities, coffeeshops are not allowed to sell more than 5 grams, per person, per day. Coffeeshops are allowed to stock a maximum of 500 grams. Groen Links Report:
http://www.groenlinks.nl/partij/wb/drugswb.pdf
www.intraval.nl Nol van Schaik.
www.hempcity.net __________________
May the stash be with you.

Posted by on Sunday, January 11 @ 23:22:11 UTC (28700 reads)
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