The Royal Palace in Amsterdam (Dutch: Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam or Paleis op de Dam) is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which are at the disposal of the monarch by Act of Parliament.
The palace was built as a city hall during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The building became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon and later of the Dutch Royal House. It is situated on the west side of Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam, opposite the War Memorial and next to the Nieuwe Kerk.
The Royal Palace was designed by the architect Jacob van Campen to serve as the Town Hall of Amsterdam. It was built in the period from 1648 to 1665 and stands in Dam Square, in the heart of the city. The architecture is in the Dutch Classicist style: the building is symmetrical around a central axis and features classical columns. The artworks and sculptures, both interior and exterior, symbolize good governance, justice and commerce. In 1808, two years after taking the throne of Holland, King Louis Napoleon turned the building into a palace. It is still in use as a palace today and is open to the public most of the year.
The palace is a monumental building, sober of decoration, but clear in design, in the style of Dutch classicism. The sculpture should not be able to derive the attention of the great whole.
The composition of the facade is harmonious and meets the ideal classical proportions. The heavy shelf carries two pillars, both of which occupy a high and a low window, corresponding to one and a half floors behind it. In accordance with Vincenzo Scamozzi, a Corinthian order has been placed above a composite. The middle part with the front is coming forward, as well as the corner pavilions.
The bright structure of the building is so overwhelming that the beautiful sculpture hardly stands out. We see the festoons in canal houses throughout the city. The most impressive are the timber tanks (of which still the models in the Rijksmuseum can be seen), the sculpture in marble, and the bronze statues on the frontons.
Above the middle part rises a tall dome, from which one could see the arrival of the ships on the IJ.
The dome is crowned by a windshield in the shape of a coffin, the old symbol of the city of Amsterdam. According to the original plan, the dome would be awarded by eight images: the eight wind directions. This plan has not been executed.
Striking is the lack of a monumental entrance party and the somewhat inaccessible character of the building. The official entrance is now on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 147. For visitors and tourists an entrance is available on the Dam side. For all windows on the ground floor are heavy bars. In the windows of the Vierschaar are the openings, which allowed muskets to be inserted in order to wipe off a possible disturbance of the entrance, still clearly visible. The monumental civil hall (and thus the administrative floors of the building) was only reached through two narrow staircases behind the Vierschaar until the renovation of the palace, which in turn strikes well on well-defensive bronze fences.
The number seven of the arches was also seen as a symbol for the seven regions of the northern Netherlands, but no evidence was found in the construction time.
The city hall is the citizen’s hall. Next to the public hall were two courtyards surrounded by galleries. Prominent in the citizen hall is the image of Atlas. In the floor are three circles, with maps of the eastern and western hemisphere and a star chart, inlaid. For the citizens of the city lay the whole world and heaven at their feet. The citizen’s hall had to show that Amsterdam was the center of the universe.