Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam © Wim Ruigrok

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is located in the centre of Amsterdam. It is also known as Dam Palace.

Like Huis ten Bosch Palace and Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, the Royal Palace in Amsterdam has been placed at the King's disposal by Act of Parliament.

An annual summer exhibition illustrates the rich history of this monument from the Dutch Golden Age. In the autumn the work of young painters is exhibited in connection with the Royal Awards for Painting.

Visiting the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is open to the public for most of the year. Opening hours can be found on the palace's official website.

History

The history of the Royal Palace can be divided into four periods.

1648: A new city hall

The palace was originally built as a city hall for the burgomaster and magistrates of Amsterdam, who awarded the project to the celebrated architect Jacob van Campen in 1648. Van Campen also had a hand in building Huis ten Bosch and Noordeinde Palace in The Hague.

Decoration

At that time, only two floors had been completed and decorated. Renowned sculptors were brought to Amsterdam, and famous painters contributed to the interior. The central aim of the decoration was to symbolise the power of Amsterdam and the Dutch Republic.

From city hall to royal palace (1808)

The building served as the city hall for some 150 years. It was first used as a palace for a few days in 1768, when Prince William V, stadholder of the Netherlands, and his wife, Wilhelmina of Prussia, were given a ceremonial welcome in Amsterdam. 

In 1806 Louis Bonaparte, Emperor Napoleon's brother, became King of Holland. He first lived in The Hague, but in 1807 he moved to Amsterdam, which was of greater economic importance. In 1808, he took the city hall on Dam Square as his Royal Palace.

Empire style

The architect J.T. Thibault supervised its redecoration in the Empire style. A Royal Museum, the predecessor of the city's Rijksmuseum, was also established in the palace.

After Louis abdicated and the Netherlands was annexed by France, on 2 July 1810, the French governor, Charles François Lebrun, received permission from the Emperor to live in the palace.

King Willem I (1813)

After the fall of Napoleon in 1813, Prince Willem of Orange, later King Willem I, returned the palace to the city of Amsterdam. After his investiture, however, the new King realised the importance of having a home in the capital and asked the city authorities to make the palace available for royal use once again. It was not until 1936 that the building became state property.

The palace today

The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is now used mainly for entertaining and official functions, such as state visits, New Year receptions and other official receptions. It is open to the public throughout the year and hosts exhibitions. Every year, it provides the setting for the presentation of the Erasmus Prize, the Silver Carnation, the Royal Awards for Painting and the Prince Claus Award.

The foundation that manages the palace opens it to the public when it is not in use by the Royal House. Every summer, an exhibition highlights a particular historical or artistic feature of the building. Following the annual presentation of the Royal Awards for Painting in October, the prize-winning works of art are put on public display.

Between 2005 and 2009 the interior of the palace was again restored. During this time the palace was closed to the public. The restoration also entailed the removal of asbestos and the replacement of various technical installations. The guest rooms were modernised and refurbished. From 2009 to 2012, the exterior was renovated as well, and the original white colour of the stone façade was restored.