The Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis) in Amsterdam is the imposing building found on Dam Square next to the Nieuwe Kerk and is regularly open to public visitors.
The building was designed by Jacob van Campen (1596-1657) and opened in 1655 as Amsterdam’s Town Hall. It was proclaimed the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ reflecting the confidence and status of the city during the so-called Golden Age period.
It stands 79m wide and 55m high to the top of its tower. The building is supported by 13,659 wooden poles made from Norwegian spruce which were driven by hand into Amsterdam’s soft ground.
In 1808 it became an imperial palace and brief residence of Louis Bonaparte (1778-1846, the brother of Napoleon) who had been installed as King of the Netherlands.
In 1813 the Palace was taken over by Prince William of Orange and remains in use by the Dutch Royal House to this day – for official functions and state visits. A major renovation took place between 2005 and 2009.
When not in official use the palace is open to the public – it is worthy of a visit just to see the impressive Citizen’s Hall (Burgerzaal).
This 30m high room is particularly striking as the sunlight streams in from the windows. It has marble floors inlaid with 3 large circular map, each over 6 metres in diameter and depicting the eastern and western hemispheres plus the night sky.
The hall also contains some great sculptures including the 6m high Atlas holding the world on his shoulders. A bronze version of the Atlas sculpture is also found on the exterior of the palace building at the western side.
Around the Citizen’s Hall are marble galleries which house a number of smaller rooms. These are stylishly decorated and contain much of the original furniture from Napoleon’s period.
The highlights include the Throne Room, the Royal Apartment, the former Burgomasters’ Chamber and the Moses Hall. Take a peak through the window of The Balcony Chamber, where the balcony overlooking Dam Square has been the scene of many a Royal event.
A free hand-held audio tour provides insight and is available in 8 languages – Dutch, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Russian. There is also a children’s audio available in Dutch and English.
The entrance to the Palace can be found on the Dam Square side. A one-way route is in effect during the visit. Note, there are no café facilities.
You must pre-book a ticket and timeslot online in advance.
Royal Palace Amsterdam Essential Info
|Opening Times||1000-1700 Tue-Sun, closed Mondays. It is essential you check the calendar here if planning a visit as it can be temporarily closed for various events. Open since 15 July 2021.|
|Admission Prices (2021)||Entry costs €10 for adults. Free entry for children 0-17 and Museumkaart holders.|
|Getting There||The Royal Palace is located on Dam Square – in the centre of Amsterdam, and just 10 minutes walk from central station.|
Royal Palace Amsterdam, Dam, Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 522 6161, paleisamsterdam.nl
Last updated 3 September 2021. This article was first published in 2011 and has been regularly updated.