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Part 1
Nol van Schaik en Willie Wortel in de Nederlandse pers.

Willie Wortel Workshop opende op 3 Januari 1991, door Nol van Schaik en een handjevol vrienden en kennissen. Hieronder volgt een serie artikelen uit de nederlandse dag- en weekbladen, het omschrijft de lotgevallen van Willie Wortel en de mensen achter dit project.

Nol van Schaik and the Willie Wortel coffeeshops in the Dutch press.

The Willie Wortel Workshop was opened on January 3, 1991, by Nol van Schaik and a handful of friends and acquaintances. The following articles from Dutch daily and weekly papers and magazines describe the events around this coffeeshop and its founders.

This is the invitation we sent to our future clients and members, to be a guest on our opening evening. We suggested tools as a present, being a workshop, available for members.

“You can discover your talents here”

This is the first article about Willie Wortel, announcing our opening and start. Nol explains the why and how of the project. He also tells the reporter he had no other choice than to start something like this, after having served a four year prison sentence for 4 years, for armed robbery. We asked Nol why he told about that to the newspaper, but Nol always told us he felt he had to state that, because that was how it was.
He explained us he wanted to be open about his past, better than having someone else come up with it eventually, and hold it up as something that was kept under the sheets.
The article explains the principle of the members club, intended to give the members the room and the tools to do something manual, with a relax area and some actual areas for workshops in airbrushing and welding.
The project was meant to help people without many opportunities, like Nol, a chance to find out what the were actually capable of, or what they would like to do as a profession later.

“Willie Wortel Workshops for handymen”

This article was made after the WWW was open for a few weeks, the picture shows the Wortels who helped us with the renovation of our building, Marcel, (front left), then clockwise: Ivo, Kreeft, Nol and Rene. The character on the left is a dummy, named Willie.

“Willie Wortel celebrates in Haarlem”

This is an article from Soft Secrets, about our Harvestparty in 1995, just after Sorgdrager, our justice minister, announced to go down on cannabis growers, after promising a possible license system before the elections.

“Highlife’s coffeeshop test”
We were subject to Highlife’s coffeeshop test, we made a good impression on the tester, he admits he has never been in a coffeeshop with so many things to see and experience. He enjoyed our home made Netherhash and the Red Hair skunk he purchased.

“Hemp Aid Foundation criticizes the Tolerance Policy”

Nol started an action against the pressure of the French President, Chirac, who demanded the Dutch government to close all coffeeshops, as it was printed in the newspapers. Nol had 1000 t-shirts made, as a protest against Chirac’s statements, showing the Dutch Lion, with the national motto: I will Maintain. The cigars in the Lions left hand were replaced by a marijuana leaf.

“Cake, hash and hot drinks on Ice”

Hash was being sold from a ‘Drinks&Beverage’booth on the ice on the frozen Raamsingel.
The booth, equipped with seats and music, was exploited from a neighbouring coffeeshop, which has a license to sell cannabis. The Police told the entrepreneur that the sale sof softdrugs on Ice were not allowed.

The 10.

Nol was allowed to explain the misunderstanding around the hash sales on Ice, the previous day, in the 10 Questions, a weekly item in the Haarlem’s Dagblad.
He explained that he was not at all approached by the police, they had only addressed Nol’s daughter, Silvia, who was selling drinks and beverages on the ice-covered canal, which was allowed whnever the canals were fit for ice skating. Some skaters asked Silvia to get them a pre-rolled joint from the coffeeshop, so they would not have to take their skates off, to walk over to Willie Wortels. She was just providing a friendly service, from the shore…

“Willie Wortel at the Eurotop protests”

Willie Wortel was the only coffeeshop to be in on the Euro top protests in Amsterdam, taking the lead in the Legalize march, with our special Statue of Liberty on a transport bike, and the chopped off head of the French President, Chirac, in a cage on an other transportbike, surrounded by 4 marijuana plants. The Willie Wortel crew biked all the way from Haarlem with their freight, some 20 kilometres. After a great ride through the centre, they had to do the same distance back. The 4 plants were planted along the road, on the way back to Haarlem.

“Actiongroup continues to distribute weed”

Our Health Minister, Els Borst, threw cannabis out of the Dutch Pharmacies, in August 1997, and forbad Doctors to keep on writing prescriptions for medical marijuana. She stated the positive effects of cannabis on sick people were not yet adequately proven, so it was not to be considered a prescription medicine. Nol states that he will keep on giving it our to sick people, with a 50 % discount, because the marijuana was not refunded by the National Health Department. Nol also announces he will found the Actiongroup Cannabis for Medicine, in cooperation with Ger de Zwaan, from the Interest group for Marihuana Patients.
Willie Wortel was already involved in the Mediwiet system of Positronics since 1996.

Another article about medical marijuana: “Haarlem coffeeshop owner wants to help the seriously sick”

More statements from Nol, about the patients he serves, mostly with MS, and how cannabis has improved the quality of their life, under the circumstances they are in.

“From Pharmacy to Coffeeshop”

A full page about medical marijuana and Nol’s efforts to get it accepted as such.

“Weed for the buyer’s price from coffeeshops”

Nol and Ger de Zwaan explain how they want to get marijuana to sick people, all over Holland, from 40 coffeshops and in some cases, by mail.

“Shops want to supply prescription weed”

After supply from the pharmacy was prohibited.

Small Article: ‘Pharmacies willing to supply ‘Mediweed’

Some pharmacists state they want to continue supplying cannabis to their patients, and will do so , inspite the change of attitude of the Minister.

Big article: Nol van Schaik stands up for marijuana as medicine.

Top: “Minister Borst willing to allow Mediweed”
The Minister states she does not want to forbid people to use marijuana for medical purposes.
She points out her hands are tied, due to international treaties, but she acknowledges that people who benefit from the use of marijuana, should not be kept away from it.

Bottom: “The Hague pays for mediweed”

This article shows that Mr. A. Ebelties, a city council employee, use cannabis for medical purposes. His mediweed, however, is fully paid for by the City of The Hague. Mr. Ebelties is a switchboard worker, with bad hearing and eye sight. He uses marijuana to prevent himself from going completely blind.

“Foundation supplies weed to patient”

Van den Camp, a CDA politician, accuses us of setting up a new profit circuit, he does not seem to understand that we make no profit on medical marijuana sales.

“Actiongroup Cannabis for Medicine officially founded”

43 coffeeshops have joined the initiative, medical marijuana is available in all parts of the country, a list of participating coffeeshop is published in the cannabis magazines.

Ger de Zwaan and Nol want to go political, with the ACM.

 “Coffeeshop of Europe”

“The prohibition on cannabis sales to foreign visitors has to many judicial and practical objections: The streetkids will take over the business”

The government proposed to forbid the sales to foreigners from coffeeshops, but they realised that would be impossible to execute.

“Winnie’s Weed Law”

Nol wrote and sang a protest song against Winnie Sorgdrager, for starting a witch hunt for cannabis growers. She was involved in loosing 40.000 kilo’s of Colombian cannabis, in a scheme with crooks, to catch a bigger crook, the IRT scandal. Nol holds that against her, amongst others, in this sing. The Minister never showed any reaction, not even after the song was played on the radio several times a week.

“Willie Wortel threatened with closure as penalty”

Willie Wortel Workshop issued passes to its members, for over six years now, from the age of 16, as that was the minimum age to enter a hash coffeeshop. When the government changed that age limit, to 18 years, Willie Wortel had about 250 members of 16 and 17 years of age.
According to the new Law, they had to be kept out from that day, after 25 years with a minimum age of 16 years. Willie Wortel refused to do so, the system worked as it should, most of the parents of their younger members had signed for consent, they knew their children were safer in a coffeeshop that on the streets. Willie Wortel was issued to Yellow Cards, one more would mean the coffeeshop was closed, and the permit for cannabis sales was taken away.

The Brijder Foundation, a State supported Drug Councelers Organisation, stated the governmental move was right, and that Willie Wortel too, had to see that and comply.
They were afraid to loose their funding, in case they stood up against the government’s decision, as it turned out later.

“Youngsters in the hands of street dealers”

Nol accuses the authorities of forcing the younger users to street dealers, who sell more than cannabis only, rendering the most vulnerable group of our society to the risks of getting in touch with the hard drugs scene.

“Principal struggle around Willie Wortel”
-Justice and Police want to close Haarlem coffeeshop-

Willie Wortel states they will block and occupy the coffeeshop, in case of measurements by the authorities, who want to close the WWW for two weeks. After a good talk in City Hall, between Nol and the authorities involved, the Yellow Cards are cancelled, Nol complies after the negotiations, under protest. This first talk results in a general meeting of the Haarlem coffeeshop owners, the Police and the City Council. The current annual meetings have ensured the future of the 16 coffeeshops in Haarlem, they are now acknowledged leisure companies, and pay tax like any odd bar or restaurant.

“In search of the Wortel”

A coffeeshop description in Essensie magazine.

“People possessing pills will be kicked out of the coffeeshop”

An article about the separation of cannabis and other drugs, and the function of coffeeshops.

“The upcoming of Dutch hash”

This article describes how the market in Dutch coffeeshops has changed from a foreign hash outlet into a cannabisshop, selling Dutch Homegrown mainly, 75 %, and the start of Dutch Hash production. The picture shows our hash.

“Divide and Rule”
Nol’s first column in Highlife magazine. Abour the hundreds of coffeeshop policies in the hundreds of Dutch Municipalities, making the different policies very confusing.

No sales of hash, but clothes made of hemp.

“Hemp Museum should create a positive image”

This is the announcement of the opening of the Global Hempmuseum in Haarlem, a project of the Willie Wortel Workshop. The WWW members helped with the renovation of the former warehouse, it was our biggest project ever.

First Haarlem Hempmuseum officially opened

“Toasting for the future with hempbeer”

“Smoking weed is not allowed in the Global hemp Museum”

I don’t know where this reporter had his information from, we were not allowed to sell cannabis, but we were allowed to smoke it, which we all did during the opening.

Wernard Bruining was invited to enlighten and execute the opening, besides allowing us to display his history and collectables in our museum.

Museumfounder disappointed

Police: Hash and weed have to be removed from the museum.

The police gave us permission to grow 5 plants in the museum, for educational purposes, we also displayed hash, in the displays about the countries that produce it. The Police wanted us to remove it from the displays, but we did not, they never complained about it again, even if I showed the goods to the officials they brought in for an informative visit.

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Copyright by Maruska and Marcel