comedian Paulien Cornelisse’s favorite addresses

In less than two hours, you travel with Thalys from Brussels to Amsterdam, a city that is much more than a cozy open-air museum, with special eateries and cultural centers hidden between the countless canals. Local Paulien Cornelisse recommends her favorite addresses.

The Dutch comedian and writer Paulien Cornelisse has lived in the Dutch capital all his life. As a twelve-generation Amsterdammer, there is hardly a place in the city that she does not have some memory or connection to, she says. ‘Amsterdam is a village for me. It is often seen as an open-air museum with beautiful houses, but there is also a rougher side to it. There is plenty of space for art and culture. This makes Amsterdam less rigid than one would expect from such an old city.’

Paulien Cornelisse will play his new performance soon Getting ready. © Malou van Breevoort

Small World Catering

“Like in many cities, the area around the main station is not really worth the effort, but if you walk up the Haarlemmerdijk, you end up in a nice neighborhood. As you know, the Dutch are much more focused on sandwiches than on a hot meal when it comes to lunch. Within this reality, this Australian delicacy comes highly recommended, with many options for vegetarians. My favorite is focaccia with ricotta and grilled vegetables. Even though I don’t live nearby at all, I go there regularly to get something. Because the company is quite small, it is often not possible to sit inside, but since you are close to the canals, you can always sit on a bench somewhere.’

Inside Oranjestraat 14,

Puccini Bomboni

‘I am aware that it is dangerous to recommend chocolate bonbons to Belgians, but I still think that you can also get to know other flavors in this chocolate workshop. My tip is sereh bonbon, the Indonesian name for lemongrass. It might look a little crazy, with a white powder on the outside, but don’t let that stop you from trying this fresh and creamy bonbon. There are two branches in the city, including one on Waterlooplein, which is known for its second-hand market. In this way you can combine nice, cheap things with expensive bonbons.’

17 Steel Street,

Theater Bellevue

‘This city theater consists of a large and a small hall, where I often try out my performances myself. In the program you will discover both starting and established comedians and comedians. Every month you also have an evening in Kleine Bellevue called BIES where three cabaret artists come to perform: a newcomer, a household name and an artist somewhere in between. It is a very low, cozy room with a lot of history. I myself still feel the nerves I experienced when my first performance premiered there.’

Leidsekade 90,


‘As a big fan of Japan, this restaurant is most like real life in the country. In the West, when we think of Japanese cuisine, we often think of sushi and grill restaurants, while in Japan you will much more often get a tray with various festive dishes on it. What you eat there is very seasonal, from miso soup to fish dishes and grilled eggplant. What matters is the purity of the product, which is also located in the De Pijp neighborhood, which is full of cool shops and cute streets.’

Frans Halsstraat 38h,

Java Bookstore

‘This bookshop is quite small but has a very good selection. They keep a close eye on what’s new and they also have a good selection in English. It is located in Indische Buurt, where you can stroll in a particularly varied shopping street, from Turkish to Moroccan shops.’

Javastraat 145,

Nihon No Hanga

‘This museum is a special place that not many people know about. Located in a stately canal house, you will discover a private collection of Japanese prints. The pictures you know are often from the nineteenth century, while this collection mainly contains works from the early twentieth century, more modern Japanese art. It is spread over several floors and also has a lovely Japanese garden. You will also find very nice postcards. The museum is not open very often, so it is best to check the opening times in advance.’

Keizersgracht 586,

Full moon garden

‘The owners of this Chinese restaurant call it a hidden gem. The business is hidden on the first floor of a building in Leidsestraat, a busy shopping street. Although it has a good reputation among Amsterdammers, the average tourist will quickly pass it by. The restaurant serves an extensive menu of dim sums and classic Chinese cuisine that has not been adapted too much to Western tastes.’

Leidsestraat 95,

Flevopark bath

‘At one point it was even declared one of the most beautiful outdoor swimming pools in the world by Le Monde. It’s a nice place to go when the weather is good and you need something sporty or refreshing’.

Insulindeweg 1002,

The Dismount / Stephen & Penelope

‘Since I can’t choose between these two wool shops, I’ll just give them both a tip. I have phases where I knit a lot, from scarves to sweaters. I love the math involved and it’s also just a handy parenting activity when you need to keep an eye on your kids. You can also go to De Afstap for workshops.’

The Afstap, Oude Leliestraat 12,
Stephen & Penelope, Nieuwe Hoogstraat 29,

The Red Cinema

‘Contrary to what the name suggests, this is not a cinema, but a super small theater where you can enjoy all kinds of performances, from theater to music. I estimate that the room cannot hold more than fifty people. It’s a sanctuary for artists, where a lot more happens than in commercial venues.’

Haarlemmerplein 7,

Dr. JP Thijssepark

‘Spending a few days in Amsterdam? Then this park just outside Amsterdam, in Amstelveen, is a lovely place to visit nature. It is a design by Jacobus Pieter Thijsse, one of the first Dutch nature conservationists and enthusiasts, who believed that urban dwellers should also have access to nature. Especially when you visit in the spring or summer, it is stunningly beautiful, with winding paths and lush greenery. Also very easy to reach from Amsterdam by metro.’

Corner of Emmakade and Prins Bernhardlaan, Amstelveen

Getting ready

Would you like to see a performance by Paulien Cornelisse in Amsterdam? She’s playing her new show there Getting ready from 17 to 20 January in De Kleine Komedie and 5 April in Kongelige Teater Carré. Can’t you come to the Netherlands so soon? She will also play at Minard in Ghent on 12 and 13 January.

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