The Royal Palace – Amsterdam - History and Facts | History Hit

The Royal Palace – Amsterdam

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is a 17th century palace, once the largest secular buildings in Europe.

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About The Royal Palace – Amsterdam

The Royal Palace in Amsterdam (Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam) was originally built as Amsterdam’s city hall during the Dutch Golden Age. Today, it is one of the three palaces at the disposal of the monarch.

History of the Royal Palace

The building was designed by architect Jacob van Campen in 1648 with the intention that it serve as Amsterdam’s city hall, which it did for 150 years or so. During this time, it was the largest secular building in Europe, showcasing Amsterdam’s wealth and status at a time of immense competition.

The Royal Palace was first used as a royal residence for a brief period in 1768 by Prince William V of the Netherlands. In 1808, the Royal Palace became the home of Louis Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, following the patriot riots which saw him ascend to Holland’s throne in 1806.

The Royal Palace was reverted to a city hall in 1813 as Prince Willem of Orange, took control following the fall of Napoleon. It only regained its status as a royal home in 1936, when it once again became property of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

It is generally used for entertaining, receptions and official state visits, as well as some awards ceremonies.

The Royal Palace today

The palace is still one of the monarch’s three official residences, although it is often open to the public. You can either join a guided tour or pick up a free audio guide at the entrance desk – it’s well worth doing one of these options as they provide a wealth of detail on the palace’s opulent interiors.

Look out in particular for the inlaid marble floor in the citizens’ hall which displays maps of the world, as well as the paintings by Ferdinand Bol and Jacob de Wit. If you’ve got children in tow, get them to count out all 51 of the palace’s extravagant chandeliers.

The palace is open daily, 10am-5pm, with occasional unexpected closures for events. Check the website before you go to check there are no royal events on.

Getting to the Royal Palace

The palace is in central Amsterdam, flanked by Dam, the grand square. The tram stops at Amsterdam, Dam, right outside the palace, whilst Amsterdam’s central station is a mere 10 minute walk away.

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Netherlands Historic Sites

As the capital of the Netherlands and with more than a million people living in its urban area, Amsterdam is packed with historical sites that are well worth a visit.