Winter 98/99
Volume IV
Issue 1

C.GARS LTD

Amsterdam's
High Life

by Andy Marinkovitch

When the terms "smoking" and "Amsterdam" are used together, one usually imagines a dark bar filled with the sweet-smelling smoke of hashish. While the Dutch government's tolerant policy on "soft drugs" has indeed given Amsterdam a unique reputation (and I would allow myself a visit to a hash bar or two during my visit, I decided, as part of my cultural study), I was more interested in discovering the cigar culture here, which I had heard is on the upswing.

As an American cigar smoker, one of the highlights of any trip to foreign soil is the chance to indulge my appetite for Havana cigars. As unnecessary as the U.S. embargo of Cuba may seem to me, it certainly adds an element of excitement to perusing the humidors in foreign cigar shops, somewhat like what a trip to Disneyland was like when I was a youth.

The first thing any smoker in Amsterdam needs to know is that being the tolerant city it is, one can indulge in their favorite smoke anytime and anywhere (unless cannabis is your bag, in which case you must stick to the designated hash bars). Because of this there are no "cigar" bars in Amsterdam like the ones found in most American cities. There are plenty of small tobacco shops scattered about the city that also carry newspapers, magazines, and candy, but these are not the best places to find premium cigars. You may find some Havanas in these establishments, but the selection is very limited and the quality of the stock is questionable. What these small shops do carry are Dutch "dry" cigars, which are short-filler cigars blended with tobaccos from Indonesia, Brazil, and, in some cases, Cuba. Dutch cigars are part of the culture in Holland and are widely smoked by the locals due to their low cost, accessibility, and easy storage (they Donít require a humidor to keep them fresh). As with most inexpensive cigars, Dutch cigars taste different than premium handrolled cigars, but they can be quite satisfying, offering up a smooth, spicy, and slightly sweet flavor.


The following information is a summary of Amsterdam's Cigar Scene from SMOKE's original article. For the full text of this article, see the Winter '98/99 issue of SMOKE magazine - available at a tobacconist near you.


P.G.C. HAJENIUS

Address: Rokin 92-96
1012 KZ Amsterdam
Phone Number: 31-20-623-7494
Fax Number: 31-20-638-7221
Years Operating: 172 years

A large, luxurious shop offering an extensive selection of Havanas, as well as P.G.C. Hajenius house brands, Dutch short-filler cigars, and a select few Dominican and Honduran cigars. The entire shop is humidified and freshened by a constant flow of filtered air, and features a spacious and elegant walk-in humidor that is also humidity- and temperature-controlled. A good selection of pipes and pipe tobaccos is available, as well as a tobacco bar for sampling, and accessories for both pipes and cigars. The rear area of the shop houses a tobacco museum and library, along with a lounge where customers can order drinks and relax with their favorite smoke. A limited amount of personal humidors are available for rent and a plush meeting room is available for P.G.C. Hajenius cigar club members.



J.N. ANDRINGA
Address: Reguliersbreestraat 2
1017 CN Amsterdam
Phone: 31-20-623-2836
Fax: 31-20-620-9563
Years Operating: 37 years

A small, bustling shop located on a busy street corner, Andringa isn't a place to hang out and relax in, but it does offer a full selection of Havanas and some Dominican cigars, as well as pipes, pipe tobaccos, and accessories. Andringa also specializes in foreign cigarettes and Dutch cigars. With 37 years of experience behind him, shop owner John Andringa is a good source for information on Havanas, as he has traveled to Cuba on several occasions. Centrally located, J.N. Andringa provides a quaint, friendly, and helpful atmosphere that is conducive to both neophytes and experts alike.



VAN COEVERDEN & ZN BV
Address: Leidsestraat 58
1017 PC Amsterdam
Phone: 31-20-624-5150
Fax: n/a
Years Operating: 85

Nestled in the heart of one of the prime shopping and tourist areas, Martin Van Coeverden's shop is small in size, but provides an excellent selection of Havana and Dominican cigars, as well as a complete selection of exotic cigarettes and Dutch cigars. If you need accessories, Van Coeverden has them, as well as a good selection of fine pipes and pipe tobaccos. Van Coeverden plans to expand his humidor space to provide even more long-filler cigars to satisfy increasing demand.



DAVIDOFF
Address: Van Baerlestraat 84
1071 BB Amsterdam
Phone: 31-20-671-1042
Fax: same as phone
Years Operating: 17 years

Located in the Museum Quarter, this is the second largest tobacco shop in Amsterdam, after P.G.C. Hajenius. This clean and friendly store features a walk-in humidor that is stocked floor to ceiling with premium Havanas, as well as the complete line of Davidoff cigars, including Avo, Zino, and Private Stock. Shop manager Ed Schild specializes in pipes and carries a full selection of high quality pipes from top international pipernakers, and he also stocks one of the best selections of pipe and cigar accessories in the city, including some beautiful humidors, lighters, and cutters. Dutch cigars and cigarettes are also featured.



SMOKIANA
Address: Prinsengracht 488
1017 KK Amsterdam
Phone: 31-20-421-1779
Fax: n/a
Years Operating: 2 years

A unique establishment for the pipe enthusiast, this medium-sized shop features an extensive selection of modern, antique, and tribal pipes, as well as pipe-related collectibles and literature. The shop has a museum-like quality, with many interesting items on display and for sale. An adjoining pipe museum will open next year above the shop and will feature many rare and valuable pieces, providing a full history of the pipesmoking art.



Click here for a Map of Amsterdam's Cigar Scene...

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