Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam (Royal Palace Amsterdam)

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Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam (Royal Palace Amsterdam)
P.O. Box 3708 1001 AM
+ 31 20 620 40 60

Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam (Royal Palace Amsterdam)

The Royal Palace is one of the three palaces used by the Royal Family. Palace sets the stage for state visits, award ceremonies, New Year's receptions and other official receptions. Moreover, the Palace most of the year open to the public. Visitors can tour the building in all its glory behold.

The Palace was built in the seventeenth century Amsterdam City Hall designed by Jacob van Campen. Paintings and sculptures by famous artists refer to the symbolic power and wealth of the city of Amsterdam in the Golden Age. With the advent of Louis Napoleon, King of Holland and brother of French Emperor Napoleon, changed the town hall in 1808 in a palace. The beautiful collection of Empire furniture, clocks and chandeliers recall this time. Use, a half century as the city hall of Amsterdam, five years as French Royal and Imperial Palace, and nearly two centuries as a reception palace for the royal family traces its rich.

An annually changing exhibition in the summer, illustrates the unique history of the building as a monument of the Golden Age. Every autumn the work of young artists exhibited in the context of the Royal Prize for Painting.

Town Hall

The Royal Palace was originally built as a town hall for Amsterdam’s administrative and judicial authorities

In 1648 the burgomaster and magistrates of Amsterdam commissioned the famous architect Jacob van Campen to design their new building. Amsterdam at the time was the most powerful trading nation in the world and people were attracted by its power and prestige. Newcomers were flocking to the city and in the space of a century its population increased sixfold. As a result, the responsibilities of government were greater than ever before. The old Gothic Town Hall was no longer up to its task and the renowned Exchange Bank, which was housed there, was unable to cope with its growing workload. As a result, the city fathers decided to build a bigger and more impressive town hall, an edifice worthy of a metropolis of Amsterdam’s stature. Jacob van Campen’s classicist building, recalling the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, was monumental by Dutch standards of the day.

Palace of Louis Napoleon

150 years later, in 1808, the town hall acquired a different function.

Napoleon’s brother, Louis Napoleon, who had become the king of Holland two years before, decided to make the Town Hall his residence. Finding himself in an impoverished country, the twenty-seven-year-old Louis was moved with compassion. To his brother’s fury, he turned a blind eye to the trade between Holland and France’s archrival England, and so obstructed Napoleon’s efforts to isolate England economically from the rest of Europe.

The entire administration was moved out of the building. However, given the poor state of the country’s economy, it seemed wiser not to relocate the Exchange Bank. But, a palace with an Exchange Bank on its premises was certainly something out of the ordinary.

Palace House of Orange

In 1813 Prince William of Orange, later King William I, returned the palace to the City of Amsterdam. But after taking the throne, he came to appreciate the benefits of having a residence in the capital, and the city agreed to grant him the use of the building once more.

At present the Royal Palace is used for State Visits, the Queen’s New Year receptions and other official functions, including the annual presentation of the Erasmus Prize, the Silver Carnation, the Royal Awards for Painting, and the Prince Claus Prize.

When not in use by the Queen or members of the Royal House, the palace is open to the public under the auspices of the Amsterdam Royal Palace Foundation. Two exihibitions are held each year.


A modern-day universe

During Royal events the floor of the Citizen’s Hall is covered with a carpet to protect the valuable marble maps. With the years the old carpet needed to be replaced. In the ‘90s the Dutch artist Ria van Eyk was commissioned to design a new carpet which suited the designated hall, the floor and the history of the Royal Palace.

Never before had a carpet of such proportions been woven in the Netherlands: it was to measure almost six hundred square metres (31.84 metres by 17.75 metres). The more than thousand colours Van Eyk used in her countless sketches and designs were reduced to eight basic colours and added with black, white and grey. The design itself, a view on the heavens, was based on a photograph of the Milky Way chosen by Van Eyk. In the centre of the carpet we find the Hale-Bopp comet, which was visible during eighteen months in 1997. Due to all the 21st-century technologies the knowledge and the image of the universe changed considerably in comparison to the 17th-century marble starry sky.

Guided tours

Guided tours of the palace are conducted by qualified art historians or art-history students.

The tour takes approximately one hour and must be booked at least two weeks in advance. Group tours can be arranged for 10-20 persons. Schools: tours can be booked for groups of maximum 15 persons.

Tours are offered in Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish.

Tours focusing on the architecture of the building, the period of Louis Napoleon’s rule or the building’s more recent history can be arranged on request.

Guided tours
(excluding admission fee)

groups of 10-20: €60

groups of 5-15: €60

Guided tours for schoolchildren
(includes admission fee)

Primary schools
(groups of up to 15): €50

Secondary schools
(groups of up to 15): €60


Tuesday to Sunday: 12:00 – 17:00

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