Built in 1665, during the Golden Age, to house the City Hall and to display the wealth of Amsterdam’s trading power, the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis in Dutch) is a majestic and monumental building overlooking the western side of Dam Square, in the heart of the Medieval Centre of the Dutch capital.
This imposing neoclassical building was designed by Jacob van Campen and Daniel Stalpaert in grey sandstone and is an example of the prosperity and wealth that characterised Amsterdam in the 17th century. On 20 April 1808, Louis Bonaparte, after his triumphal entry into Amsterdam, was appointed King of the Netherlands by his brother Napoleon and from that moment on, a period of profound renovation began for the Palace.
The new king, in fact, having decided to turn the building into a full-fledged Royal Palace, carried out the first works to transform the structure into a court residence. Over the centuries, the palace was then repeatedly subjected to internal changes by successive monarchs in order to create a residence worthy of housing members of the court.
Now the building is no longer home to the Dutch royal family – the official residence of the royals is in fact in The Hague – and is only used for solemn ceremonies and state visits, but can still be visited by tourists.
At present, the Royal Palace can be visited via a route that leads to the discovery of its elegantly furnished rooms and galleries. On the outside is an imposing façade with a large octagonal tower almost 52 metres high and topped by a dome.
Exploring its interior, you can trace the history of Amsterdam from the mid-17th century onwards and admire the sumptuous Empire-style interior furnishings. Among the most valuable objects are valuable chandeliers, original tapestries and precious works of art by such outstanding artists as Govert Flinck and Ferdinand Boi (pupils of Rembrandt).
A total of 17 rooms can be visited and the tour can be conducted via an audio guide in several languages. The most important room, and the largest, is the Civic Hall (Burgerzaal) which is completely covered in white marble and boasts precious floors with inlaid maps representing the eastern and western hemisphere and a statue in the centre depicting the city of Amsterdam and its power.
Another noteworthy area is the Scabini Hall (Schepenzaal) and the Courtroom (Vierschaar), which are connected by a corridor. The Scabini were the figures in charge of administering justice in the kingdom and they met in the Scabini Hall, which is adorned with statues of Justice, Time and War, while in the Court Room, also covered in marble, sentences were passed.
Tickets for the Royal Palace can be purchased online. We recommend doing this in advance as it is one of the most visited attractions in Amsterdam. An audio guide is included in the ticket, available immediately after entry.
The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is open daily with the following opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00, with the last admission allowed until 16:30
During the summer months (July, August, September) the opening may be extended until 18:00.
The Royal Palace is located on Dam Square, which can be easily reached on foot as it is less than 10 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal Station. Alternatively, you can use several bus or tram lines and get off at the Dam stop.
The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is located on Dam Square, the Dutch capital's main square in the Binnenstad district. The site is less than 1 km from Central Station and 500 metres from Oude Kerk.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.