History of Royal Palace, Amsterdam

The celebrated architect Jacob van Campen, took control of the building-project in 1648.

The entire building was constructed of white stone, though the weathering of the centuries has left none of it visible. On 20 July 1655, the burgomasters and the magistrates opened the first section. The Royal Palace is famous for it’s rich and imposing decorations. Renowned sculptors were brought to Amsterdam and famous painters such as Rembrandt and Ferdinand Bol contributed to the interior. The central theme, featuring in much of the decoration, was the power of Amsterdam in particular and the Dutch Republic in general. The building served as the city hall for a century and a half.

In 1806, the Batavian Republic was forced to accept Louis Napoleon, the brother of the French Emperor, as the King of Holland. Louis Napoleon originally opted to live in The Hague, but in 1807 he decided to move to Amsterdam. In 1808, he took possession of the city hall and conversed it to a Royal Palace with decoration in the Empire style. Visitors of the Royal Palace can still visit the famous collection of Empire furniture bought by Louis Napoleon.

On the fall of Emperor Napoleon in 1813, Prince William, later King William I, returned the Palace to the city of Amsterdam. However, after his investiture, the new King realised the importance of having a home in the capital, and asked the city authorities to make the Palace available to him once again. It was not until 1936 that it became state property.