"The Netherlands is a significant transit country for illicit drugs, especially cocaine from South America entering through the Port of Rotterdam and destined for European markets. Customs officials announced in January that authorities confiscated 38 tons of cocaine in the Port of Rotterdam in 2019, an increase of 50 percent from 2018. Officials announced in July that authorities intercepted twice as much cocaine in the ports of Rotterdam and Vlissingen in the first half of 2020 as in the same period in 2019.  The Netherlands is one of the largest sources of synthetic drugs for international markets and has identified an increase in the number of methamphetamine laboratories where Mexican nationals were accomplices. A typical methamphetamine lab seizure in 2018 yielded 22 kilograms (kg), but in 2019, the average seizure was over 400 kg.  

"The Dutch Opium Act prohibits the possession, commercial distribution, production, import, and export of all illicit drugs.  The act distinguishes between “hard” drugs (e.g., heroin, cocaine), and 'soft' drugs (cannabis products).  Sales of less than five grams of cannabis products are 'tolerated' (i.e., illegal but not prosecuted) in regulated establishments called 'coffee shops.'

"Drug traffickers increasingly use legitimate postage companies to distribute narcotics to global customers. Authorities report that dealers send over 100,000 packages containing cocaine, ecstasy, or methamphetamines to foreign countries each year."


Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume I Drug and Chemical Control. Washington, DC: United States Department of State, March 2021.