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9. Lowlands Weed company

Across Wittenburgergracht 3

Lowlands Weed company

Legendary figure Kees Hoekert (1929-2017) laid the foundations of modern Dutch cannabis culture, originally characterized by a tolerant attitude towards Nederwiet (‘Dutch weed’). Hoekert founded the Lowlands Weed Company in 1969 with artist Robert-Jasper Grootveld (1932-2009), known as part of Dutch protest movement the Provo’s for his ‘happenings’ on the Spui.

They grew thousands of hemp plants on the roof of Hoekerts’ houseboat De Witte Raaf (The White Raven). It was located on the Wittenburgergracht, directly opposite a police station! They sold plant cuttings for a guilder (about 50 Eurocents today), striving for the ‘hempification’ of society.

Hoekert received one subpoena after another; he repeatedly saved himself with incisive, humorous reasoning in court. For example, drying the flowers of female cannabis plants (the ‘weed’ sold in coffeeshops) was illegal. Hoekert defended himself: “I have not dried the flowers, they have dried! I threw them in a corner and then the flowers dry on their own.” The judge conceded, and Kees was acquitted again.

Thanks to the activities of pioneers such as Kees Hoekert, the Netherlands grew to be a leading country in the field of international soft drugs policy.

Watch a short film about the Lowlands Weed Company  (in Dutch).


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