Amsterdam Pyongyang Restaurant Closed
I fly to Europe in a few weeks and had plans to meet up with some of my Dutch friends for dinner at the Amsterdam Pyongyang Restaurant, the only North Korean state run restaurant outside Asia. Unfortunately I just learned the Amsterdam Pyongyang Restaurant has closed, and not without a little controversy.
Their website claims that “due to holidays temporarily closed”, but news sources offer a different explanation:
This writes the newspaper. The tent was an initiative of two of Amsterdam that the ties between our country and the Asian dictatorship wanted to tighten. That did not work, because the owners had a fight with their North Korean personnel. The workers complained that they barely got paid and that there was exploitation. Director Remco van Daal was in turn the impression that the whole operation was a deliberate plan by the Koreans to gain access to the Netherlands and to obtain work permits.
Lowering of the whole affair has been provisionally fill of everything with North Korea faces. “We have done this out of idealism and we are very far. But it’s about. I do not think we ever go back to that country.” – internet translation from Dutch Telegraph article.
A lovely waitress sings to diners at the Dandong, China branch of the Pyongyang Restaurant – photo by Joseph A Ferris III
The Chosen Exchange chimes in with their own insights:
Accusations and counter-accusations abound: the Dutch partner says the restaurant was drained of money by the Koreans so they could start over without him, the Koreans say the Dutch guy didn’t pay his share, including wages. Indeed, a court ruled yesterday that the employees are owed payment by the Dutch company.
Despite whatever hanky panky that lead to the closing of the Amsterdam Pyongyang Restaurant I still highly recommend you make a visit to one of their remaining Asian branches for a fantastic night of exotic dining and unique entertainment. The list of cities with a Pyongyang restaurant can be found here, but make sure to double check locally before heading out.