The Royal Palace Amsterdam on Dam square
The Royal Palace Amsterdam on Dam square is often called the most prestigious monument from the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. This palace was originally built as a Town Hall and that probably explains why I was never really impressed by it’s exterior appearance. However, the moment you step inside you plunge into a world of wealth, splendor and lavishness.
A little history of the Royal Palace
The Royal Palace was built in 1648. Designed by Jacob van Campen in the style of the ancient Greek and Romans, the building was so extraordinary that it was listed as the 8th wonder of the world. Back then, the Royal Palace was built as a Town Hall, but in 1808, King Louis Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother, turned it into a Royal Palace. Nowadays, the palace is open to the public but it still plays an important role during state visits, royal inaugurations and royal weddings. The palace houses the largest collection of empire style furniture outside France. This style was specifically designed for Napoleon and many of the pieces were ordered by King Louis Bonaparte. You still find these pieces of furniture in the Royal Palace.
Can you spend the night at the Royal Palace?
Yes you can! If you ever become the Head of State of your country and you happen to come on a State visit to Amsterdam you are most welcome to spend the night at the Royal Palace. If I were you, I would pick King Louis’ former bedroom, currently called the Treasury Ordinary. Or you can opt for the Bedroom of the English Quarter which is exclusively used by visiting heads of state. Winston Churchill stayed here in 1946 and 70 years later the bed was used by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium.
King Louis’ bed stood on a platform overlaid with a fancy tiger skin. A little too fancy for his wife Hortense? As a matter of fact, Hortense’s bedroom was in the former Chamber of Accounts, kind of diagonally opposite of King Louis bedroom. Fair to say that it was an unhappy marriage. Reportedly, Hortense was not charmed with her dwelling; too mundane for her standards, I guess. She spent most of her time in Paris, so no wild nights on King Louis’ tiger skin.
Good to know
During official receptions the Royal Palace Amsterdam is closed. So before you plan your visit check out their website. The audio tour is offered free of charge and is a must-do!
How do I get there?
Dam square equals the centre of Amsterdam. It is literally a 10-minute walk from Central Station or you can take tram 4, 14, or 24.
Where to go for drinks?
I regularly go to Café de Jaren at the Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22 (map); it is a 10-minute walk from Dam square. If the weather permits try to find a spot at their awesome waterfront terrace.
Click here to read about my favorite waterfront terraces in Amsterdam.
About the author: Laura Danielle is a co-founder of Comedy Walks: stand-up comedy shows with the city as a stage, or, if you like, city tours with a professional stand-up comedian as a guide. We currently run Comedy Walks in Amsterdam, Washington DC, Berlin and Utrecht. By far the most fun way to explore a city! All information in the blog posts is based on personal experiences and commission free (“I rather drink coffee with inspiring entrepreneurs than compete with them for 20 cents commission for our customers’ coffee” – Laura Danielle).