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.

Singing North Korean Waitress Dandong, China

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.

5 responses

  1. Pingback: Amsterdam Pyongyang Restaurant Closed | Home Far Away From Home

  2. Natalia


    first I wanted to say I really enjoy your blog, offers a lot of insight into this mysterious country. Visiting NK has been my odd dream for a few years now, and it might come true this year if only I manage to save a little money (not that easy for a student eh).
    Just wanted to say it wasn’t “the only North Korean state run restaurant outside Asia” – there is one in Moscow too,Lenisky Prospect metro station., which I personally visited and highly reccommend. I feel really sorry for the poor girls working there, no doubt exploited and brainwashed hard time before they were given permission to leave the country, but it offers a rare possibility of a tiny peek into The Hermit Kingdom, the propaganda images streaming from the tv on the wall :)you may be able to chat tiny bit with the waitresses if you know Russian, they are really adorable in their innocence and devotion to the country somehow. And the food is really good and ok priced really.

    September 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    • Hi Natalia, if you need any help planning your trip please write and I will give as much advise as I can.

      And thanks for the info on the Russian Pyongyang restaurant, re-reading the wiki page I do notice that it says that the Pyongyang Amsterdam was the first western outpost, but does not have Moscow in their list, or info on any other western locations. If any other readers know of locations please comment, would love to get a full list going.

      September 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm

  3. Pingback: Niederländische Anfänge und Enden — Leiden inK. und Pyongyang Restaurant « Nordkorea-Info

  4. Edwin

    Making a full list is a hard job to do, because I believe there are more than 100 Pyongyang restaurants, most of them in China. Beijing has 8 and Shanghai 3 to begin with. Other Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal have at least one or two I know for sure. About Malaysia, The Philippines and Burma I’m not sure, but there propably aren’t. And for sure there is one in Vladivostok (Russia) and Dubai.

    I think I have been to 20 of them in China and the rest of Asia. The one in Amsterdam was imho really the first one in the Western world, because I don’t consider Russia to be a part of that.

    September 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm

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