Breeding Cannabis

Nevil Schoenmakers, who was he and what is his cannabis legacy?

The King Of Cannabis!.

Nevil Schoenmakers one of the most influential people in the history of modern cannabis, But who was Nevil Schoenmakers and what do we owe him?….

Nevil was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1951. His parents were Dutch. As a child, he begins to be interested in Mendel’s Laws of inheritance and fascinated by genetics, he starts breeding parrots and along the way learns the basics of breeding.

Nevil the seedbank of holland
Nevil the seed bank of Holland

His early years were not easy. Starting as a small-time cannabis dealer.  He later became addicted to heroin and was arrested several times. Determined to leave behind his past, he left Australia for Holland in 1976 taking advantage of his dual citizenship. At that time he began to grow and consume marijuana to treat his opioid addiction.

But he soon realizes that the commercial varieties, mostly tropical sativas from Thailand, Colombia, Nepal or Africa, were not giving good results in the Dutch climate.

In 1979, he began to grow indoors. However, he fails again. He realizes that the real problem was the genetics that existed at that time, which was neither suitable for outdoor or indoor gardening.

The Birth Of “The Seed Bank”

After attending a drug detoxification program by the Dutch government, he decides to create one of the first seed banks in the Netherlands, The Seed Bank.

He moves to the outskirts, near the border in Germany and on the banks of the Rhine River, where he acquires an old Victorian mansion that years later he would baptize as The Cannabis Castle or Cannabis Castle.

Nevil Schoenmakers, The-Cannabis-Castle
Nevil Schoenmakers, The-Cannabis-Castle

It does not take him long to assemble a large infrastructure consisting of several exterior greenhouses and grow rooms in the basement of the mansion to cultivate cannabis with artificial lighting.

There he begins to carry out his first breeding projects, but he soon realizes that the problem is still poor genetics.

The big change comes when he meets Sam the Skunkman, a Californian breeder who fleeing from the DEA, ends up taking refuge in Holland.

Sam had created the first seed bank in the United States, called Sacred Seeds. Renowned breeders of the time Mendocino Joe and Maple Leaf Wilson were also there. Sam was the original breeder among others of the world-famous Skunk # 1.

In addition to finishing shaping the Original Haze from an incomplete work of the Haze Brothers. Sam arrives in Holland with kilos of seeds of his work. Including Skunk # 1, Original Haze, California Orange, Early Pearl and Hindu Kush.

Shortly after arriving in Holland, Sam founds Cultivators Choice. And in the first High Times Cannabis Cup sweeps the Skunk # 1 to first place.

Nevil and Sam make friends, and Sam decides to sell him some of his seeds. The only condition is that he can only use them to develop new hybrids and not to reproduce and sell them as is.

This would eventually be a matter of conflict between the two that would lead them to break the friendship.

Nevil Schoenmakers International Recognition.

With these new genetics, and some he later got on a trip to the United States, such as G13, Big Bud, Hash Plant, and Northern Light.

Nevil begins to develop one of the most impressive seed catalogs of all time that would soon begin to be known worldwide as a result of winning all five awards in the second High Times Cannabis Cup.

Some of his first works with which he won the Cannabis Cup were Hawaiian x Haze and Durban x Haze. It would be followed by NL # 5 / Haze, one of the best Haze hybrids ever. Also, a series of hybrids using the G13, considered the most powerful variety of the time. The new strains were G13 x Hash Plant and G13 x Northern Light # 2

Nevil was photographed among the hundreds of dollar billsIn a short time, he was as rich as he was famous.

By selling seeds by mail from his mansion. He amassed a huge fortune.

In a mythical report made by the magazine High times called “Inside the Cannabis Castle”, Nevil was photographed among the hundreds of dollar bills that came in the mail as payment for the seeds.

Nevil’s Sale of “The Seed Bank” to Sensi Seeds Club.

This did not sit well with the DEA, despite the fact that its activity was entirely legal in the Netherlands.  Shortly after, in 1990, Nevil was arrested in Perth, Australia, whilst visiting relatives.

However, he managed to flee using a friend’s documentation and returns to Holland. Whose justice system dismisses the charges, since there had not been any law broken.

Nevil flees Australia
Nevil flees Australia

This was a turning point for Nevil. Perhaps with the aim of moving away from the media focus.

He decides to sell The Cannabis Castle and all its genetic collection to Ben Dronkers, owner of another of the pioneer seed banks, Sensi Seed Club. This merger would become known as Sensi Seed Bank as we know it today. Nevil continued to work as an advisor and breeder at Sensi Seeds for some years.

Great classics of Sensi Seeds like Jack herer, Silver haze, NL # 5xHaze, Hash plant or Northern Lights among many others, would not have existed if it were not for Nevil Schoenmakers. Due to both the sale of their genetics to Sensi, Nevil decides to leave Sensi Seeds.

Joining Greenhouse Seeds.

In 1997, Greenhouse Opens its third coffee shop in Holland, Green House Centrum. Arjan Roskam, the owner of the other two stores and founder of Greenhouse Seeds.  Decides to welcome Nevil as co-owner. Following this new relationship, Nevil and Shantibaba, (Scott Blackley) breeder at Greenhouse seeds, met.

Nevil does not hesitate to make available his seeds and plants to his new partners, with which they begin to work.

After the success of Jack Herer, Nevil and Shantibaba set out to recreate it, for which they use the same genetics. The result is the Super Silver Haze. It is one of the most awarded varieties of cannabis in history and a bestselling success. Many believe Neville’s Haze, was reached by combining NL # 5 / Haze x Haze, to obtain an improved pure Haze.


A few years later, both Nevil and Shantibaba leave Greenhouse Seeds. Shantibaba would end up founding Mr Nice Seeds with Howard Marks aka Mr. Nice, a famous former marijuana dealer.

Howard, after being arrested in Mallorca In 1988, where he was living at the time, and spend several years in prison, on release he decided to move to cannabis activism.

roadside ruderalis the seed bank 1987
roadside ruderalis the seed bank 1987

Shantibaba had some seeds and clones from his time at Greenhouse. In addition to seeds from the works of Nevil Schoenmakers.

With all this, he began to develop a catalog that mainly consists of versions of the Greenhouse classics. As well as versions of some varieties of The Seed Bank and incomplete works of Nevil. The most famous Critical Mass, it is but an updated Big Bud.

The Legacy Of Nevil Schoenmakers.

Let us think that varieties such as Jack Herer, Critical Mass, Super Silver Haze, Big Bud, Neville’s Haze, NL # 5 x Haze or Silver Haze.  Would not have existed had it not been for Nevil.

Nor the Northern Lights, the G13 hybrids or the first works with Ruderalis. And of course, all the crosses and selections that came later. The list is endless, from the legendary Amnesia to the Critical, Northern Light, Black Jack, Cinderella 99 and a very long, etc.

In recent years, Nevil Schoenmakers was involved in the movement to legalize medical cannabis in Australia. More recently, he co-authored a presentation to an NSW government investigation on the subject. Hepatitis with which he fought all his life. Finally, ending the life of the “Cannabis King” as he was baptized by the High Times magazine in 1985.

Nevil Schoenmakers (1956 – 2019)


Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis: Thank you for being the “Gateway drug” to perpetual inspiration, compassion, benevolence, and medicinal miracles: Cannabis grower, photographer with a long experience in cannabis cultivation. His articles are journalistic reports of places where cannabis is already legally cultivated and owned. They are intended to give an impression of the wide range of cannabis cultivation. These reports are intended to help identify the truth about cannabis and reduce prejudice.


  1. I had a letter from nevil in1985, got paranoid one night and got rid of it, still regret it to this day, he hadn’t gotten famous yet, never met met him but felt very sad when I read died, my wife said I looked like I had lost a good friend and it kinda felt that way, I will say nobody I several county’s around me could even compare to what I had, I owed all the credit to him, bless his soul

  2. Neville is my hero and a cannabis God.I ordered seeds from the seed bank in the fall of1989 seeds were expensive and very dangerous to order.Operation green merchant was in full swing my choice was SK#1 and NL5x2 out of the 20 seeds I received all germinted and grew into beautiful plants I had 10 NL5x2 females and 9 SK#1 females with 1 Sk#1 male as a first time grower I knew nothing about genetics or cross breeding so I crossed the SK#1 male with the NL5x2 female as it turned out I have one hell of a green thumb.Back in the day I was called a gurella grower. I taught myself everything I needed to know about growing weed and with the help of Mr Ed a nother God of grow and his books,l became a very good local 13.I grew my SK#1x NL5x2 cross for the next 15 years something growing plants almost 18 feet tall, a all together different story.SK#1xNL5x2 were the love of my life.The BEST I EVER SMOKED.GOD bless Neville may you RIP.

  3. Neville, thank you brother for laying the foundation. Stabilized genetics that have stood the test of time and quality. The vast majority of today’s (pollen chuckers) breeders. I use that term as loosely as possible. May have started out with decent genetics. But shortly destroyed much of the gene pool with innumerable crosses. Calling every f1 seed batch a new strain. Couldn’t be further from the truth!
    Bohdi is proof of PT .Barnum’s words. THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE. God bless him, fools can’t wait to get his next batch of Nuked Garbage.
    Which brings us full circle again. When it comes to quality genetics and preservation. You are in a very small group of men. I don’t have to name the few cannabis greats.
    Neville, a man’s legacy is in the memories of those you helped.
    Peace brother. Thank you

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