Hemp Gallery in Amsterdam
The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum and the Hemp Gallery are located thirty metres apart along the same canal on the edge of Amsterdam’s red light district.
One ticket gives access to both sites. The museum displays hash and marijuana, and in the Gallery, you can find everything related to historical and current processing and use of industrial hemp. Are marijuana and hemp the same? How did this plant use to be cultivated and harvested? What tools did hemp farmers use? What was made out of hemp? What products are made of hemp nowadays? These and many other questions are answered in the Hemp Gallery.
History of hemp
Industrial hemp is one of the oldest cultivated crops on Earth. The varieties cultivated for industrial use contain hardly any psychoactive components. Nevertheless, they belong to the same family as the marijuana sold in the coffee shops of Amsterdam. Throughout history, countless different products have been manufactured from hemp. The history of the hemp plant is a history of kings and emperors, wars and merchants and, just as importantly, it is the history of ordinary citizens and traders.
Thanks to the efforts of the Dutch business HempFlax, founded by museum director Ben Dronkers, a real renaissance has taken place in the production and the use of hemp over the last few decades. The applications are endless and the gallery shows a selection of them: from stable bedding for horses, Louis Vuitton shoes and door panels for the automotive industry to hemp beer, an electric guitar and insulation for construction. Top producers in many diverse industries use hemp as a raw material for clothes, food products, cars, building materials, cosmetics and so on.
“Hemp can save the planet” was the motto of Jack Herer, famous cannabis activist. You might agree after a visit to the Museum Gallery!
Museum director Ben Dronkers and Jack Herer in front of the museum in Amsterdam, in the mid-nineties.