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Koninklijk Paleis - Royal Palace Tips (94)

Het Koninklijk Paleis - History, Exterior

This massive building was built during Amsterdam's golden age and officially opened in 1665 as a town hall and adminstrative center. At the time it was the largest secular building in the world, supported by 13659 wooden piles, and with 114 windows on the facade - a tribute to Amsterdam's place as the leading financial capitol of the world. It is one of the few freestanding buildings in central Amsterdam, fronting on Dam Square and next to the New Church being rebuilt at the same time. Some apparently called it the " eighth wonder of the world ". In recognition of Amsterdam's dominant position in world trade, the weathervane was shaped as a ship.

It is the opulent interior however which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, as the city leaders hired only the best to pay tribute to their importance. Overall design was by two Rembrandt students, with painted ceilings, Italian marble floors, and sculptures and paintings by the most famous artists throughout. The classic architecture by Jacob van Campen is modelled after ancient Rome, also a center of the world in its time.

With the arrival of the Napoleonic Era, in the person of King Louis ( Napoleon ), in 1806 the town hall became his Royal Palace. He abdicated in 1810 and The Netherlands was annexed to France with an appointed governor. The Napoleons were gone by 1813, and Prince William VI of Orange became King William I choosing Amsterdam as the capitol of The Netherlands and keeping the Royal Palace for his own use. In 1936, the palace became the property of the national government after the city could no longer afford to maintain it. The cost to the government is stated to be less than the original construction costs centuries earlier.

The royal family still has use of the building as needed and it is used for state affairs, receptions, award ceremonies, and public events. When not in use, the Royal Palace is open to the public for tours with a very detailed audio guide.

nicolaitan's Profile Photo
Jan 15, 2013

Dam Palace - succession to the throne.

It has been announced years ago that the façade of the palace would undergo restoration between 2009 and 2011 but to my surprise the façade is still nearly as dark as five years ago!
A yellowish sandstone from Bentheim in Germany was used for the entire building. When looking at paintings of the past centuries the façade had a much lighter color than now (ref my previous tip).
Actually the restoration was conducted so as to lighten somewhat the darker stones and to darken somewhat the lighter stones to make the whole façade more homogeneous in color.

The palace was built as the Town Hall around 1655 on 13.659 wooden piles and it is still standing well vertical on the contrary of many buildings of Amsterdam who are leaning over. It was the largest non-religious building of its time.
Louis Napoleon, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, converted the Town Hall into a royal palace for himself in 1806.
It became property of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1936 and is by the monarch for official functions and other official receptions not for lodging.
The succession to the throne of King Willem- Alexander happened here on 30/04/2013.
Presently the rooms that played a role in the succession to the throne can be visited.
The Palace has a large collection of French Empire furniture left by Louis Napoleon that can be seen.
The rooms are decorated with artworks from the collection of the House of Orange-Nassau.
The palace is often closed see for the days the Palace is open between 11 and 17 h.
Price: 10 €, reduced 9 € for +65 yr,
Free: 18 yr

breughel's Profile Photo
Dec 26, 2013

Royal Palace Interiors - Great Hall

Most European Royal Palaces offer sumtuous bedrooms, lavish bathrooms, and spectacular living and dining quarters. But this Royal Palace is and has, with the exception of the Napoleonic Era, always been a city hall with the function of government. Today, the upper floors are basically unused and the visitor tour is confined to the first level with business, administrative, and judicial rooms. The huge central hall is the site of state functions and royal family affairs.

The Central Hall, over 100 x 55 ft with a 90+ foot high ceiling is a monument to the self-importance (?hubris) of the leading Amsterdam businessmen and politicians of the Golden Age. A map embedded in the tile floor depicts Amsterdam as the center of the world and with the heavens painted on the ceilings the center of the Universe as well. The most famous sculpture depicts Atlas supporting the weight of the world. Beneath him, in accordance with the functions of a town hall, justice holds a golden sword with the guilty arrayed beneath - including the skeleton. Other statues and reliefs are too numerous to recount or for that matter to even remember. Justice and the scupted caryatids ( image 3 ) are by Artus Quellinus of Antwerp, the most famous Dutch sculptor of the era.

nicolaitan's Profile Photo
Jan 15, 2013

The Royal Palace

Situated in the Dam square, the Royal Palace is itself one of the landmarks of Amsterdam. A fine example of the classical Dutch architecture, it was designed by Jacob van Campen and built between 1648 and 1655. Constructed on 13.659 piles, needed to create a solid base in the marshy ground, it was originally built to take place of the previous Town Hall, which had been completely destroyed by fire.

Louis Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon I, made it his royal palace when he became King of Holland in 1808, though he abdicated only two years later.

The simple facade strikes the viewers first. It has four orders of windows, above which is a triangular pediment containg sculptures by Artus Quelijn the Younger, an artist from Antwerp. The statues represents the city of Amsterdam surrounded by Neptune and other mythical sea creatures, including nymphs and tritons.

The harmonious exterior of the palace is completed by an octogonal tower and cupola. Severely simple outside, the palace is splendidly decorated inside.

codrutz's Profile Photo
Aug 14, 2004
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Dam Palace - Paleis op de Dam.

Let's stir up the aesthetical controversy about this so called "8th wonder of the world" !!!
No doubt it was a large building for its time, no doubt that the architect Jacob Van Campen was not fully satisfied of his work as he met important ground stability problems, no doubt Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was not fond of it, no doubt there are many, many, nicer town halls or palaces in Europe but also no doubt that the Dam Palace is well known from world tourism.

Actually the Dam Palace looked better a few centuries ago. The facade in Bentheimer sandstone was nearly white at the start as can be seen from the model at the Amsterdam Historisch museum or from a painting (1668) by Jan Van der Heyden at Le Louvre museum.

An inside renovation was started in 2005 and finished begin 2009 so that the Palace is again open for the public.
Then started a clean up of the façade that took several years.

The Palace has a large collection of French Empire furniture left by Louis Napoleon that can now be seen when the Palace is open to the public.
Please note that some months, especially June 2015 with 19 closing days, the Palace can not be visited due to royal events.

Price (2015): 10 €, reduced 9 €,
Free: 18 yr

breughel's Profile Photo
Mar 24, 2015

Royal Palace Interiors - Rooms and Hallways

No opulent bedrooms, lavish sitting rooms, decadent bathrooms. This is a munincipal buildings with room titles reflecting - courtrooms, bankrupty and insurance offices, council rooms and chambers, even a room for the orphans administration office. But such beautiful rooms - when Louis Bonaparte became king in 1808 he imported what today is one of the world's greatest existing collections of Empire furniture. With his hurried departure several years later, the furniture was left behind for us to enjoy. Connecting the offices on the inside the high ceiling hallway with painted and sculpted ceilings and wall mounted friezes.

By the time one finishes viewing a dozen rooms they all seem to run together despite the excellent audioguide included in admission. Many of the sculpted pieces also have stories attached, elucidated by the guide, but again a bit of overkill. The details may be forgotten but the memories are excellent.

nicolaitan's Profile Photo
Apr 21, 2013

Royal Palace

I was really disappointed when I saw the Royal Palace. The building is black and the architecture is very boring, not what you expect from a royal palace. Up till now the queen didn't stay at this palace. I can understand why.

This palace was built in the 17th century and was used as a town hall before it became the Royal Palace at the beginning of the 19th century.

Helga67's Profile Photo
Oct 20, 2004

Royal palace

Lots of houses and huge buildings are build on piles in the Netherlands.
They say Amsterdam is build on piles.
The palace is build on 13.659 piles!!
It is build between 1648 – 1655. It was meant as a town hall , it was a represented building you can still see this at the marble arcade, with beautiful paintings.
In 1808 the building was a residence for Lodewijk Napoleon.
Since 1935 the building is property of the state and the queen is the officiale in habitant of the palace.
You can visit some parts of the palace, the Burgerzaal, de Rechtzaal, de Schepenzaal en de Burgemeesterskamer (majors room)

MATIM's Profile Photo
Mar 31, 2004

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Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam (royal palace)

The royal palace was built as a town hall in 1648 by Jacob van Campen (who also built the Nieuwe Kerk). Van Campen was not happy with the way the building was completed and was absent at the inauguration ceremony. When Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the Netherlands in 1808, the town hall served as a palace for his brother Louis who installed himself as "King of Holland". However, when William I. became king of the Netherlands, he gave the palace back to the city, but it remained a palace for the royal family. It is not used for living, but for representative purposes. Visitors can see most parts of the palace for only 4,50 EUR (6,50 with useful audio guide). Many rooms are still preserved in the same way Louis Bonaparte left them. Definitively worth a visit!

Airpunk's Profile Photo
Apr 04, 2011

Dutch Royal Palace - Palacio Real Holandés

The Royal Palace in Amsterdam, in the Dam, is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which is at the disposal of Queen Beatrix by Act of Parliament. In fact when I saw this building for first time I thought it was the town hall, but not the Royal Palace. Actually this building was opened has the city town hall in 1655. It was first a royal palace with Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, when he became King of Holland in 1806. After his investiture as King William I of the Netherlands, however, Amsterdam was made the official capital of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (the seats of government being Brussels and The Hague). The new King realised the importance of having a palace in the capital, and the Town Hall again became a royal palace. Currently it is used by the Queen for entertaining and hosting official functions, such as state visits, the New Year reception, and the presentations of different prizes.

It's a bit dark and not very beautiful, but aparently it is wonderful inside. In fact, in its time the building was one of many candidates for the title of the Eighth Wonder of the World. Also, for a long time it was the largest administrative building in Europe.

spanishguy's Profile Photo
Sep 08, 2008

Dutch Classicism

At the heart of the square sits the Royal Palace. It was once known as the Town Hall. Construction was begun in 1648 and the outside was completed in 1665. The inside took another 10 years to complete. The dome is crowned by a weather vane in the shape of a cargo ship, which is the oldest version of the Amsterdam coat of arms. Due to time constraints, we did not go inside, but heard that it is a must see due to the ornate decoration of the interior.

Feb 01, 2005

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is situated on the Dam Square in the middle of Amsterdam, quite close to the Centraal Railway station. Originally built to be used as the city hall by the magistrates of Amsterdam in the 17-th century, presently it is one of the three Palaces under the Queen's control. It is used for official state functions like the Queen's New Year reception and for other official ceremonies like prize ceremonies.

It was designed by architect Jacob van Campen, starting 1648. The entire building was made with white stones, none of which are visible now because of the dark tanning of the stones across centuries. On a close watch one can see very beautiful decorations on the building. Some of the interiors are done by the paintings of the famous painter Rembrandt. The building served as the city hall for about 150 years. In 1806, the brother of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon was appointed as the King of Holland. He started living in this building and so the city hall was transfromed into a Royal Palace. The building since then houses a huge collection of Empire furniture bought by Louis Napoleon. After the defeat of Emperor Napoleon in 1813, Prince William, who then became the King and started living in the Royal Palace. In 1936 it finally became state property.

Rupanworld's Profile Photo
Feb 02, 2008

Things To Do Near Koninklijk Paleis - Royal Palace

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WOW Tours

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Red Light District - De Wallen

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Rembrandtplein Area

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Getting to Koninklijk Paleis - Royal Palace


Dam 1


  • Sunday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Wednesday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Thursday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Friday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Saturday 10:00 to 17:00