Coffee shops want to buy a school

Faced with pending closure because they are in too close proximity to a school, coffee shops in Amsterdam have joined forces and made an offer that’s hard to refuse; they want to buy the building the school is located in.

Amsterdam is phasing out some coffee shops as of this year.  As of January the first 31 that are too close to schools in the city have to adjust their opening hours; on weekdays they may only open at night, to counter the use of soft drugs among school children. Then, in July the city will close the ten shops that students can actually see from their schools. In January 2015, four more will be closed that are in 150 meter walking distance from schools. The remaining seven will close within a year after that.

But according to Het Parool, some coffee shops looked for a way out by offering to buy Amsterdamsche School at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 68. They figured that the best way to no longer be within 250 meters distance from the school for VMBO, HAVO and VWO is by giving the institute a lucrative option to leave, because no school means no closure.

"Yes we are thinking of buying the school. We're serious about it," said Michael Veling who is spearheading the initiative. A former CDA hopeful for Amsterdam Centrum, he owns coffee shop 420 in Oudeburgsteeg and chairs a lobby group of cannabis retailers. "He said the negotiations with the school are progressing 'quietly'.

And apparently the offer did arouse some interest. “I am not saying a definite no,” Principal Bas Roosen told Het Parool.