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The Paleis op de Dam (Amsterdam Royal Palace on Dam Square) is truly the cultural heart of Amsterdam’s infamous metropolis. For more than 150 years, the magnificent building served as Amsterdam’s city hall, defying stories and myths.
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During your visit, you will dive into the Golden Age of Amsterdam and admire the empire furniture, renowned sculptors, and beautiful pieces of art in the Royal Palace. Here, you will learn everything you need to know before your visit!
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Here’s everything you need to know about the Royal Palace in Amsterdam:
- The Amsterdam Royal Palace is also known as Paleis Op de Dam or Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam.
- Tickets for the Amsterdam Palace must be booked online, and each entry includes an audio guide in several languages, including English.
- The Royal Palace is a popular tourist destination and venue for official royal events and state ceremonies. Therefore, it is not open to the public every day. When you book online, you can see which days you can visit.
- A visit to the Royal Palace in Amsterdam takes about an hour.
- Since it is located at Dam Square, it is easy to include a visit to the Royal Palace in your itinerary. In its vicinity, you will find the city’s most famous attractions, such as museums and activities in the city’s historic center.
What is the Royal Palace in Amsterdam?
The Royal Palace Amsterdam—or Paleis op de Dam—is a historic building in the heart of the city that serves as Amsterdam’s city hall. The palace is the official workplace of the king of the Netherlands and is primarily used for representative purposes. It is also an important cultural heritage that attracts visitors from all over the world.
The city hall is open to visitors indoors and outdoors. The interior houses many important sculptures and beautiful murals, offering a small journey into the past. During your visit to the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, you will have the opportunity to explore the magnificent rooms, admire the regal art and history, and experience the royal atmosphere.
Where Can I Buy a Ticket for the Royal Palace in Amsterdam?
In principle, the Royal Palace in Amsterdam is open to the public almost every day unless the royal family has important appointments in the palace. Then, tourists cannot enter. The opening hours of the reception palace are from 10 am to 5 pm.
How do you get tickets? You can easily buy the ticket online in advance, granting you entry into the entire castle.
Tickets automatically include an audio guide, so you won’t get lost wandering around the palace and can learn more too. Plus, the guides come in many languages, including German and English! You can also book guided tours for groups of 10 or more for those traveling with a large group of family or friends.
Is A Visit to the Paleis op de Dam Worth It?
Located in the city center, the Royal Palace Amsterdam is a great sight to include in your itinerary. The Koninklijk Paleis is a quiet visit full of highlights and offers an audio guide in several languages that explains historical facts, curiosities, and the importance of the Paleis op de Dam in the Netherlands. If you like culture, history, and even a bit of fairy tale, nothing beats a visit to a castle in Amsterdam.
Highlights of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam
Several highlights await you at the Royal Palace Amsterdam! Let me introduce them to you.
The Civic Hall (Burgerzaal)
The Civic Hall is undoubtedly the most spectacular part of the former imperial palace and, like the rest of the building, is a prime example of classicist architecture. The citizens gathered and gossiped in the heart of the Amsterdam Royal Palace in the most beautiful ambiance. The room impresses with perfect symmetry, the typical columns of classicism, and detailed sculptures in white marble, including mythological figures, plants, animals, and shells. If you look down, you will find two massive world maps of the Western and Eastern Hemispheres and a beautiful starry sky map, including the zodiac signs painted in bronze.
So, the royal family’s intention to show the city’s wealth was successful! A look at the ceiling shows eight pompous chandeliers and beautiful wall paintings. On the opposite side of the entrance, you will see a huge sculpture of the Greek god, Atlas, casually lifting the vault of heaven on his shoulders. Justitia, a Roman Virtue, is enthroned below him, symbolizing peace and guarding the passage to the throne room there.
The Great Hall (Groote Zaal)
The Great Hall is another impressive room in the Royal Palace decorated with ornate ceiling paintings and luxurious furniture. It is often used for entertaining and official functions, ceremonies, and events.
The King’s Hall (Koningszaal)
The King’s Hall is the private area of the former king’s disposal and offers a glimpse into royal life. You can admire ornate furniture, royal paintings, and other historical artifacts here.
In the basement, you will find the Tribunal in the Koninklijk Paleis. It is out of sight from the hustle and bustle of the palace because this is where the death sentences used to be decided. Nevertheless, there are incredibly impressive sculptures to be discovered in this part that thematically fit quite well to this room: Medusa heads, skulls, snakes, and apples of paradise.
Works of Art & Treasures
The palace houses an impressive collection of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and historical artifacts from famous painters, such as Rembrandt and Ferdinand Bol. You can embark on a journey through Dutch art history and admire masterpieces by renowned artists. During our tour of the palace, we learned that the life-size sculptures of four women represent guilt and repentance.
Gardens & Outdoor Areas
The palace also has beautiful gardens and outdoor areas where you can walk and enjoy the royal atmosphere. The manicured gardens provide a relaxing environment and are perfect for taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Impressions of the Royal House in Amsterdam
The History of the Koninklijk Paleis
The rich history of the Royal Palace Amsterdam began in 1648 when the construction of the present Royal Palace in Amsterdam was commissioned and created by architect Jacob van Campen. In a nutshell, the purpose of the construction was to represent the power and wealth of the city to the whole world, so to speak, with a magnificent city hall. Because Amsterdam was one of the most important trading metropolises in Europe in the so-called Golden Age, everyone should know that! Moreover, after the end of the eighty-year war against Spain, it should also show the long-awaited peace.
Already in the 17th century, the Paleis op de Dam was called the eighth wonder of the world because, besides the many artistic details and visual beauty of the palace, this building is an architectural masterpiece, especially for the age. The famous Dutch architect Jacob van Campen had truly done a good job here. In July 1655, Amsterdam’s town hall was ceremonially inaugurated for the first time, although it was not finally completed until 1665.
For the next 150 years, Dam Square was already the center of politics and society, as the mayor, city councils, and various offices had their offices here. At that time, there was never peace in Europe, and everything was constantly in flux. So, in 1808, the former town hall was finally converted into the residence of the newly appointed King Louis Bonaparte. Less than 10 years later, it was King William I.
However, the Orange kings preferred to use their rural cottages as residential residences in the following years instead of the town hall. Thus, the Paleis op de Dam has been open to visitors since 1979. Today, the palace still serves as one of the residences of the Dutch royal family. Still, it is mainly used for important city authorities and royal events, such as abdications, weddings, official receptions, exhibitions, and award ceremonies.
What is There to Discover Near Koninklijk Paleis?
The Koninklijk Paleis could hardly be more centrally located in Amsterdam because the palace is situated directly on Dam Square (i.e., the center of Amsterdam’s city center), which is only a 5-minute walk from the Central Station. If you come from another corner of Amsterdam, you simply get off at the streetcar or metro station “Dam” and stand directly in front of the object of desire.
While the Paleis op de Dam is undoubtedly the highlight of the famous square, there are other cool attractions to discover here. Across from the Royal Palace, you’ll see the New Church (Nieuwe Kerk), often used for important art exhibitions. Next door are Madame Tussauds, the world-famous wax museum, and Beurs van Berlage, an old stock exchange building now used as a concert hall and exhibition.
You should also check out the Dam Monument on the south side of the square. This site commemorates Dutch soldiers and resistance members during World War II. Many overlook the coats of arms of the former provinces on the back of the statue. This should not happen to you! The world-famous Anne Frank House is also not far from here, and you can continue your history lesson right away on this beautiful tour.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Royal Amsterdam Palace
How much time should I plan to visit the Royal Amsterdam Palace?
The Royal Amsterdam Palace is not particularly large, so one hour should suffice, but you can take two if you want a more relaxed visit. Although the Royal Amsterdam Palace is a great attraction, it is not as intense as an art-filled visit like other museums in Amsterdam. You will see many rooms and areas of the palace, but you probably won’t stay long in each one.
How long is the waiting time for the Royal Amsterdam Palace?
There should hardly be long queues here, especially during the week. On weekends, you usually don’t have to worry about lines either. That’s why you should definitely include the Amsterdam Royal Palace in your travel plans.
Which languages are available with the audio guide at the Amsterdam Royal Palace?
Adults pay 12 euros for admission, and children under 18 can visit the Paleis op de Dam for free. Students receive a reduced price of 9 euros. In addition, a free audio guide is available with admission in several languages: Dutch, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and Russian.
How much is the entrance fee to the Amsterdam Royal Palace?
A regular ticket, including an audio guide, to the Paleis op de Dam costs 12.50 euros. Visitors under 18 do not pay but still need a ticket to enter the palace. Since the palace is not open every day and depends on the calendar of State visits and royal family official events, securing your ticket in advance is worth securing to ensure the palace is open on the day you want to visit.
What am I not allowed to bring to the Paleis op de Dam?
During your visit to the Paleis op de Dam, please leave umbrellas, backpacks, and large bags outside in the lockers. Large suitcases cannot be stored in the museum’s locker. You can use the many locker services in town or ask to leave them at your hotel.
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