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

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michael Arbuck (45 days ago)
Very nice and quick visit. Interesting history and beautiful rooms. It’s a fast tour. Maybe 30-45 minutes. It it’s so close and convenient hard not to go. Nice to see how the royalty hosts :). Enjoy!
Sebastiaan Hooft (4 months ago)
A dark and tragic place with a sad experience. First of all, the windows were shut. There was not a chance to see how the building was situated or how life in the palace miss has been. All I could see was a couple of dusty rooms from a distance and a marble hallway. All the rooms virtually looked the same. The area where you are allowed seems to be prepared for tourists only, and they don't want to spend any money on providing a fantastic visit to the palace. They shut down most of the audio tour because of serving more visitors, told one of the staff members. Not the experience I was hoping for. The staff was friendly-just like a guard at an office building is friendly- however, they knew nothing about the building.
Bryan Hulbert (4 months ago)
Beautiful and ancient architectural palace of the Dutch Royal Family. Located on Dam Square right in the heart of Amsterdam. Truly a magnificent site to see. The square also has many other attractions in and around it. A must see stop on your travels through Amsterdam.
jon brierley (5 months ago)
We enjoyed pour visit to this inspiring, very grand building - formerly Amsterdams’ town hall. Great audio guide available in a myriad of languages, which tell the story of this magnificent palace. Convenient location in Dam square, thus good if staying in nearby hotels.
Lou Mclaughlin (6 months ago)
A powerful experience, one that will stay with me. Despite my e-ticket not having been emailed to me, a very helpful guide was able to find my reservation and I was able to experience the museum. An absolute must when visiting Amsterdam.
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