Royal Palace at night

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The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is situated in the historical centre of the city, on Dam Square. Its exact address is Nwz Voorburgwal 147; 1012 RJ Amsterdam.

It served as a city hall for a century and a half at the beginning. In 1808 Loius Napoleon, the brother of the French Emperor converted it into a Royal Palace (in 1806 the Batavian Republic was forced to accept Louis Napoleon as the King of Holland). In 1813, after Napoleon’s fall, Prince William, later King William I, returned the Palace to the city of Amsterdam. But soon he realized that it is important to have a home in the capital and asked the city authorities to make the Palace available to him once again. The palace became the state property again just in 1936.

Nowadays, the palace is still used for official functions by her Majesty the Queen, for example state visits, the Queen's New Year reception and other official receptions. Every year, it provides the setting for the presentation of various official and royal prizes. In the summer the palace is open to the public, although guided tours for groups can be arranged by appointment all year round.

Its architect was well-known Jacob von Campen, he took the control over the construction in 1648. He was responsible for overall design, while Daniël Stalpaert, the city architect, was put in charge of the technical realization. It was designed it the style known as Dutch Classicism. The first part was opened on 20th July 1655 by burgomasters and magistrates. However, the building was fully completed in 1665.

For the construction the yellowish sandstone from Bentheim in Germany was used (the stone has darkened considerably in the course of time), while only marble was considered good enough for the interior. There is rich and imposing decoration connected with the palace. Famous painters, such as Rembrandt and Ferdinand Bol, as well as renowned sculptors brought to Amsterdam e.g. Artus Quellien, contributed to the interior. Much of the decoration is featuring one central theme, the power of Dutch Republic and the power of Amsterdam in particular. Some decoration refers to the period of Louis Napoleon – the large collection of Empire style furniture, chandeliers and clocks date from this period.

The dome in the middle of the building is crowned by a weather vane in the shape of the oldest version of the Amsterdam coat of arms, the cargo ship. The original plan of the dome included eight sculptures representing the points of the compass. However, this plan was never realized.
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