The idea of the first coffeeshop came to Henk because he liked the Dutch teahouses of the time. Teahouses were predominantly places where semi-unlawful activities such as illegal slot machines or selling beer without a license happened. Some teahouses had a house dealer who was not officially working for the teahouse but would sell hash there. The most famous example of this is Mellow Yellow. Once inside these semi-exclusive teahouses, you would drink tea for free but donate to the house dealer to buy and smoke hashish while you were there. Henk saw these tea houses and saw no reason why not to take it further and opened a shop selling cannabis over a counter to anyone (18+) who wanted to buy it.
Henk turned the celler sex shop at no.90 that sold porn into a living room where friends could meet and smoke.
“I wanted to make the connection with a teahouse. In my opinion, that was like a living room for neighbourhood residents. Some things which happened there were not allowed in other places, like selling beer under the counter and hiding a slot machine behind the curtain. I wanted to capture the teahouse feeling and keep the atmosphere of a living room. At the same time, I wanted to have an international character to the place, and that is how the term ‘coffeeshop’ was born.” – Henk De Vries.
Joris The English Bulldog
The first coffeeshop was born, and it needed a name. Henk wanted a name that was iconic, rebellious, social, humorous and authentic. Henk looked no further than his beloved pet dog, Joris. Joris was an English Bulldog, and Henk thought Bulldogs had all the characteristics he wanted in his coffeeshop, so he named it The Bulldog.