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About Us

The Rookies Story

The Rookies Coffeeshop Amsterdam interior

How it all began

The Rookies coffeeshop was opened in 1992 by two Amsterdammers with an open mind, an appetite for adventure, and a fondness for cannabis. They had a simple mission - to share the joy of cannabis with the local community and visitors from around the world.

Just barely in their twenties, the founders chose their name the Rookies as a wink to being Amsterdam’s youngest coffeeshop owners at the time, and also as a play on the Dutch word rook, which means smoke.

The rookie Rookies

Once upon a time: the rookie Rookies coffeeshop founders

Though they were new entrepreneurs, they were certainly no strangers to Amsterdam. The founders’ families have roots in the city going back five generations, in De Pijp and the Noord districts.

Between the two founders, Mark finds himself more naturally in the public eye. He descends from a family of local artists and free-thinkers including his father Wim, a painter and also an enthusiast of cannabis. Today his works hang with pride on the walls, welcoming patrons with bold, colourful energy.

The Rookies Coffeeshop Amsterdam exterior, back in the 90s

The Rookies exterior, back in the 90sin th

The Rookies established their coffeeshop in the historic Leidseplein area on the Korte Leidsedwaarstraat, where they continue to operate. In 2024, they renovated the buildings’ wooden foundations which had stood strong for over 300 years.

In its 30+ years, the Rookies has evolved - from a lively, somewhat raw, bar-style den into a relaxed, open gathering place with full table service and a comfortable, renewed atmosphere. A little grown up, you could say, while still devoted to its roots.

The Rookies remains a beloved favourite right in the heart of Amsterdam, where long-time locals and international visitors come back time and time again for the cozy, chill vibe it's famous for.

Inspiration and Community

For the Rookies founders, the spirited, non-conformist Dutch cannabis scene of the late 80s and early 90s was a potent inspiration. Youth culture was abuzz in places like Happy Family in de Pijp, and Reefer, the first coffeeshop to establish in the Noord district.

Coffeeshops began as creative neighbourhood hubs where artists, thinkers and mavericks would gather. Today coffeeshops continue to play an important role in community building. As an alcohol-free space, coffeeshops are a unique oasis where people from diverse cultural and faith backgrounds meet and chat where they may not have otherwise. Here, they can feel comfortable and enjoy their time together.

Although coffeeshops have always operated under the guidelines of gedoken (Dutch for tolerance,) the coffeeshop scene has always needed vocal advocates to defend its existence, educate the public, and resist prohibition. Many people don't know that cannabis is still not legal in the Netherlands!

Mark found mentorship and inspiration in cannabis rights pioneers including BCD union founder Koos Zwart and August De Loor, a legal advisor and mediator for cannabis policy at the municipal and national levels. They helped strengthen his determination to be a voice for the Dutch cannabis community to the world.


Whether they're from around the block or around the world, the Rookies has been blessed with a circle of supportive friends and family over the years. Here we pay our respects to those who made a difference to us:

Dr. AirMax (19xx-2024) 

Respected street artist, Amsterdam native, and nephew of Mark

The Rookies in the media

A selection of interviews, reviews and appearances over the years. Still going strong!

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