How did Royal Palace Amsterdam come to be?
Perhaps you pass by the Royal Palace Amsterdam, Paleis op de Dam, everyday. The building is quite extraordinary, but how much do you actually know about it? When was it built and what is it used for? Let’s find out!
Building the Royal Palace
The Royal Palace was built between 1648 and 1665. However, it was never intended to house royalty, in fact, it was built to serve the purpose of being the new town hall in Amsterdam, which doesn’t sound too regal at all.
The architect of this grand building was Jacob van Campen, and it was Daniël Stalpaert, city architect, who took care of the execution of the design. Later on in 1654, Stalpaert would manage the project completely after conflicts arose between Campen and the city council.
The building itself was finished in 1665 and had already had its inauguration 10 years previous to this date. Although the building looked finished from the outside, the interior would not be completed until the beginning of the 18th century.
At the time, the new town hall was the largest government building in all of former Europe and it was named the 8th wonder of the world. The building reflected the power and wealth of Amsterdam in the 17th century.
Then the king came along, et voila
In 1808, King Lodewijk Napolean Bonaparte, otherwise known as Louis Bonaparte, came along and transformed Amsterdam’s town hall into a palace for himself. During his short reign, up until 1810, King Louis of Holland added a balcony to the front of the main level of the Royal Palace.
After the French reign, Prince William of Orange gave the Royal Palace back to Amsterdam, its original owner. In 1936, the building became the property of the Dutch State.
Special occasions and ceremonies
The Royal Palace Amsterdam is one of the three palaces in the Netherlands used for official state visits. State visits involve the invitation of a foreign head of state to the palace, where a programme is followed including a state banquet in formal dress. Besides these visits, it is also used for official receptions and award ceremonies.
Upon the balcony, Queen Beatrix was announced to the people in 1980, and King Willem-Alexander, then prince, and Princess Máxima shared a kiss there on their wedding day.
The palace can also be enjoyed by the public, when it is not in use by the Dutch Royal Family.
Changes and restorations of the palace
Through the years, the palace has been tinkered with to keep it in top shape so that the visitors, along with Dutch Monarchy, can enjoy its beauty.
In the 20th century, the palace underwent many restorations, which brought back its 17th-century character and undid many of the changes that came about when King Louis resided in the palace.
Despite many restorations, the palace has kept a great deal of the original lighting, as well as a magnificent collection of Empire furniture, which is still used for royal receptions.