By Scott Roane
At a first glance the name of this art deco cabaret theater, Paleis van de Weemoet, meaning Palace of Sadness or Melancholy, complete with Tiffany glass table lamps and candle light doesn’t sound so appealing. This tiny dinner theater located discretely on a side street in the red-light district of Amsterdam is anything but sad, or given the location seedy. Paris or even Berlin are best known for their intimate dinner theaters where historically chansons of broken hearts could be heard. But being an historic harbor town Amsterdam has its own fair share of local songs about broken hearts or lost loves. And Paleis van de Weemoet is one of the last remaining theaters that celebrates this legacy through traditional Dutch tales and songs.
This intimate theater has small round tables in the center, and booths around the edge. The shows which change daily are performed on a stage no more than a few square meters in size and generally include a lot of interaction with the audience. The performers are a dying breed of improvisors, so even if the program is in Dutch, if they hear a foreigner in the audience you can be sure that the program will immediately be changed to accommodate. And even if you don’t understand the Dutch lyrics, you’re guaranteed to be enchanted by these typical Dutch tearjerkers. It’s more than likely that a proud local will be forthcoming with a quick summary. So don’t let the language issue put you off!
The four course meal is not the best you’ll ever have, but you’re really paying for a fantastic show and experience and the food is simply a bonus.
Geniet ervan! (Enjoy!)
Paleis van de Weemoet
Oudezijds Voorburgwall 15, Amsterdam