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


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

A Google User (13 months ago)
Absolutely gorgeous! This palace is stunning and there is A LOT to see. It does get quite crowded at times, so make sure you have plenty of time to queue for the smaller rooms. This place is packed with history and just stunningly beautiful.
A Google User (14 months ago)
It’s amazing that you’re able to walk in and explore the actual Royal Palace! There’s a wide range of different rooms - all with unique snippets of history attached. Joy for the whole family - would definitely recommend visiting it if you’re in Amsterdam. Unlike many other sightseeing places, this one is very kid- and English-friendly. Kids get their own audio guide and a little necklace to fill out to keep them interested. For adults there are various language available - including English.
A Google User (14 months ago)
I love the palace! It's not most spectacular palace I've visited but it's definitely one of the most interesting ones! A lot of stories in the design and art also I like the slick yet modern style. And it really offers a very good free audio guide, which allows us to enjoy the visit and understand all the history and reference behind the forms. I was lucky to visit it during the tulips day in the dam square. Check the opening schedule since the king is still using it!
A Google User (14 months ago)
I was so amazed by this place! From the outside it really does not look like much. It is dark and colourless. However the inside is magnificent! I was there for nearly 2 hrs. The audio tour was so extensive, I didn’t get to listen to everything. But would definitely recommend this place. The architecture and the history is absolutely astounding. Beautiful!!
A Google User (14 months ago)
Amsterdam is a fantastic city, great history seen in the buildings and surroundings. Best seen from a boat trip 100km of canals, 1000 bridges, the city is 1.5 metre below sea level. Amsterdam is vibrant, low in traffic but full of bikes, trams and trains are preffered source of travel. Tickets can be purchased for 3 day travel for about 35 Euro. Ensure you book trips like the Ice Bar etc well in advance as they are full. There are flower markets, museums even a sex one. I will return as there is a good atmosphere here and so much to see and do in a short break.
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