from Amsterdam City Hall, to Palace, to Villa, to Royal Palace



The Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam), the symbol of Dam Square, was built in the 17th century.

Although it is a royal palace, no Dutch king has ever lived in this palace. And surprisingly, it was originally built as the city hall of Amsterdam.


History of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam

Dutch golden age

De Dam in Amsterdam 1668

The time is the 17th century.

Amsterdam was bustling and developing into one of Europe’s greatest cities. It was the golden age of the Netherlands, when the economy was enriched by traders, the city became prosperous, and the population increased fivefold in half a century.

The City Hall was built on Dam Square for the city’s rapid growth. This building is now the Royal Palace, but was originally the Town Hall.


Construction of the City Hall

De Dam in Amsterdam 1698

After 80 years of war with Spain, the construction of the town hall began in 1648.

Officially opened on 29 July 1655, the town hall was a large building with a width of 79m and a height of 53m, and was the largest building in Europe for the next 200 years.


13659 wooden piles were used to construct the massive building on soft ground in Holland.

The outer walls and interior were decorated with sandstone, marble and sculptures that were imported from overseas, making it a gorgeous building.

A foundation with more than 10,000 piles,
the largest building in Europe,
a luxurious and elegant design…

The city hall, which was built with a huge budget, is said to have been nicknamed “the eighth wonder of the world“.



From City Hall to Royal Palace to Villa

In 1794, the Federal Republic of the Netherlands collapsed due to the invasion of France.

On April 20, 1808, Napoleon’s brother Louis Bonaparte became King of Holland.

Louis Bonaparte liked the city hall building and decided to live here.

After 150 years as a city hall, the building was renovated as a royal palace.

Heavy carpets on the floor, numerous ornaments, hundreds of chairs and tables were made for King Louis Bonaparte.

Louis Bonaparte was a splendid king who took care of his people and fulfilled his duties as a king, but in 1810 he was forced to abdicate from the throne by his brother Napoleon.


Later, the royal palace became Napoleon’s villa.

In 1811, Napoleon and his wife Marie visited Amsterdam and stayed at this villa for only one night.



A vacant palace

In 1813, Napoleon was defeated, and in 1815 Willem I became the first king of the Netherlands.

At this time the villa was returned to the city of Amsterdam.

In 1934 the city of Amsterdam sold the building to the Netherlands.

The building is now a royal palace, but it is used only for official events and is mostly empty.

Therefore, it is open to the public as a museum on days other than official events.


The royal palace museum

It’s a gorgeous building that makes sense that Louis Bonaparte made it into a royal palace, and it’s unbelievably beautiful that it was originally the city hall.

This is a building where you can experience the prosperity of Dutch Golden Age.

The City Hall on the Golden Age , The Royal Palace of Napoleonic , The Museum…

Visit the Royal palace museum to know the life of this building.


Royal palace museum (Sep 2022 survey)
Open: 10am-17pm (Closed irregularly)
Address: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 147, 1012 RJ Amsterdam
URL: Royal Palace



Amsterdam Tour