Amsterdam is most commonly pictured as a tourist destination with liberal laws on prostitution and recreational drug use. However, seasoned visitors know that this Dutch city has a lot more in store than just chances to get stoned and find gratifying company. From the glorious network of canals to the edifying museums and art galleries in the city, there is a lot to do and see when on Amsterdam tours. If you have already covered all of the popular hubs here, schedule a visit to the Royal Palace for a truly enriching experience for your mind.
The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is located in Dam Square’s Old Centrum neighborhood. Although the Netherlands’ ruler does not really reside here, this is one of the three official Dutch palaces set aside for the monarch. A visit to Dam Square is always on the bucket list of people setting out on Amsterdam tours, so stopping by to admire the beauty and magnificence of the Royal Palace is one thing you really should do. Below is some information about the palace which should come in handy when you visit this majestic structure.
History and Facts
The Royal Palace, when it was built in the 17th Century, was originally designed as the Town Hall of Amsterdam. Initial plans to build the Royal Palace were laid out in the year 1648. The city officials commissioned renowned architect Jacob van Campen for the job, with an idea to design a majestic royal house that would represent the power and status of the Dutch during the Golden Age of the Netherlands.
Construction of the building was a huge task though, as it required sinking in around 14,000 piles just to support the grand house. Work took 7 years, and was completed by the year 1665. The finished structure was modeled on ancient Roman architecture, and with its exterior strictly classical and interior totally completely furnished. The apartments were decorated with marble sculptures, ornamentation, and friezes, while the ceilings featured master-class paintings by Govert Flinck and Ferdinand Bol, who were students of Dutch painter Rembrandt.
The building served as the Town Hall of Amsterdam until the year 1808. It was Louis Napoleon, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who first declared it as his personal residence, during his time as the King of the Netherlands. Later in 1813, King William I returned the palace to the city’s official use, but with the condition that it stayed as a royal home whenever he visited Amsterdam.
Today, the Royal Palace is also used for royal events such as receiving representatives from foreign countries to Amsterdam, organizing the New Year reception party for the royal family, and for other special gatherings. Moreover, the palace acts as venue when presenting various royal and official prizes each year, such as the Royal Awards for Painting, the Erasmus Prize, the Prince Claus Prize, and the Zilver Anjer Awards. The Royal Palace remains open to public visits as long as the King or other members of the royal family are not using it, as well as housing many exhibitions and public events occasionally.
What to See
Tourists are allowed to visit 17 rooms, galleries, and halls in the Royal Palace, facilitating an experience that lets them enjoy the magnificent hand-painted ceilings, grand marble flooring, as well as epic sculptures and artworks from bygone eras. The palace also houses one of the most well preserved and finished collections of Empire-style furniture in the world. You can also check out the splendid compilation of decorative arts here, which include bronze chandeliers, artistically crafted wall hangings, and upholstered and wooden furniture.
The Citizens’ Hall or Burgerzaal is the most charming part of the Royal Palace, featuring marvelous marble flooring carrying an illustration of world maps and star charts. The four elements – Earth, Water, Fire, and Air – can be seen depicted here on the arches which lead to the galleries. When in the royal chambers, you can also see a bronze pendulum clock, the Oath of the Horatii, which is a true replica of the eponymous painting by French master painter Jacques-Louis David. Although most of the artifacts here were left by Louis Napoleon, a collection of restored items from the respective reigns of Kings William I and William II can also be seen in the palace.
The Royal Palace of Amsterdam stays open for visitation most of the time and throughout the year. They also organize guided tours for tourist groups to the palace with qualified art historians, which can be availed at a price of €85 per person. The entry ticket will cost €115 per person on weekends. Moreover, booking in advance is mandatory; you can check the official website of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam for more details. Opening hours on all days of the week (except for Mondays) are 10:00 am to 05:00 pm. The palace remains closed on Mondays.