Royal Palace of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Royal Palace is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which are at the disposal of the monarch by Act of Parliament. The palace was built as the Town Hall of the City of Amsterdam and was opened as such on 29 July 1655 by Cornelis de Graeff, the political and social leader of Amsterdam. It is now called as the royal palace and used by the monarch for entertaining and official functions during state visits and other official receptions, such as New Year receptions. The award ceremonies of the Erasmus Prize, of the Silver Carnation, of the Royal Awards for Painting, and of the Prince Claus Award are also held in the palace.

The palace was built by Jacob van Campen, who took control of the construction project in 1648. It was built on 13,659 wooden piles and cost 8.5 million gulden. A yellowish sandstone from Bentheim in Germany was used for the entire building. The stone has darkened considerably in the course of time. Marble was the chosen material for the interior.

Jacob van Campen was inspired by Roman administrative palaces. He drew inspiration from the public buildings of Rome. He wanted to build a new capitol for the Amsterdam burgomasters who thought of themselves as the consuls of the new Rome of the North. The technical implementation was looked after by the town construction master Daniël Stalpaert. The sculptures were executed by Artus Quellijn.

On the marble floor of the central hall there are two maps of the world with a celestial hemisphere. The Western and Eastern hemispheres are shown on the maps. The hemispheres detail the area of Amsterdam's colonial influence. The terrestrial hemispheres were made in the mid-18th century. They replaced an earlier pair made in the late 1650s. The originals showed the regions explored by the Dutch East India Company's ships in the first half of the 17th century. This feature may have been inspired by the map of the Roman Empire that had been engraved on marble and placed in the Porticus Vipsania, a public building in ancient Rome.

On top of the palace is a large domed cupola, topped by a weather vane in the form of a cog ship. This ship is a symbol of Amsterdam. Just underneath the dome there are a few windows. From here one could see the ships arrive and leave the harbour.

Paintings inside include works by Govert Flinck (who died before finishing a cycle of twelve huge canvases), Jacob Jordaens, Jan Lievens and Ferdinand Bol. Rembrandt's largest work, The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis was commissioned for the building, but after hanging for some months was returned to him; the remaining fragment is now in Stockholm.

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.

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Founded: 1655
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Netherlands

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alexandra Lydia (18 days ago)
Amazing palace & building with a lot of history!! You must visit it! Actually, the tour is about 2 and a half hours. Huge spaces with architectural interests and many rooms around.
Nidhin Veliyil Kunjappan (20 days ago)
In the heart of Amsterdam. You can find a lot of restaurants and shops on the nearby streets. Best time to visit the place is in the evening. The palace will light up and the view is amazing. Sometimes you can find people playing instruments.
Lexie Gibbs (30 days ago)
Entrance to the palace is only 10 euros and it is well worth it. It includes a free audio tour that is offered in multiple languages and it gives an in depth explanation of basically everything inside the palace. If you have kids with you, don't worry, they have an audio tour for them too that is story based. It is a very grand place to be and the intricacies in the stonework are incredible. Everything has meaning and the symbolism runs deep. Definitely don't sit this one out!
Paco Hernández (2 months ago)
It's a beautiful palace. The sculptures inside are very detailed and impressive as well as the decorations of the rooms. Using the free audio guide gives you a better insight about the history of the palace.
Chander Vir (3 months ago)
Never knew that it was allowed to visit from the inside. Not too big so you won't feel tired at the end. The audio tour explains almost everything that is needed to know. The citizen hall is impressive (don't forget to look at the ceiling murals).. Under 18 is free entry. Not too crowded. A lot of insight into the Dutch French and Dutch Spanish connection. Not posting inside pics to not ruin the experience..
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