Amsterdam’s Royal Palace is one of the most enormous and historical buildings in the city. From its location on ever-bustling Dam Square, the palace casts an impressive shadow over the heart of the Dutch capital. It’s a must-see if you’re visiting for the first time.
You can enjoy the Royal Palace in all its Baroque glory from the outside, perhaps while you’re sipping a local beer from a Dam Square bar. But why not get more out of your Amsterdam experience? Visitors are invited to head inside the palace, where tours help bring the past and present of the Dutch royal family to life.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the highlights you can expect to see on a tour of the Royal Palace. We’ll walk you through the history of the building, and provide some exciting facts to take with you on your visit. Finally, we’ll pick out some of the best restaurants, bars, and shops near the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, so you can enjoy a fulfilling day in the city.
But first, let’s get there.
Getting to the Royal Palace by Train
Amsterdam boasts an excellent public transport system. This includes trains, trams, metros, and buses which can carry you anywhere you like in the city and beyond. If you’re visiting the Royal Palace and it’s too far to walk, simply hop on one of these services and get there in no time.
Which station is nearest to the Royal Palace?
The Royal Palace is located in the heart of Amsterdam, overlooking its famous Dam Square. You can take a tram or bus to the stop called Dam, which should be easy enough to remember. Alight in Dam Square and stroll over to the Royal Palace.
Tip: there are lots more great attractions in Dam Square, so block out a little time to enjoy the atmosphere when you’re done visiting the palace.
Using public transport in Amsterdam is easy. You can buy a single ticket or pick up a multi-day travel card to get around for the duration of your stay. We recommend the I Amsterdam Card or the OV-chipkaart if you’d prefer the multi-day option. These let you swipe on and off any bus, tram, or metro in the city without worrying about buying a new ticket.
What to see at the Royal Palace Amsterdam
The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is King Willem-Alexander’s official reception palace. Despite its significant role, the building is open to the public as much as possible. We think this makes it even more exciting. Walk in the footsteps of Dutch royals and famous guests and see what life is like for the monarchy today!
Let’s take a look at some highlights of the Royal Palace.
One of the most famous rooms inside the Royal Palace, Citizen’s Hall is sure to take your breath away. Step straight into the Dutch Golden Age when you enter this magnificent marbled hall.
The Citizen’s Hall was designed to be the heart of Amsterdam’s Town Hall, which the Royal Palace was originally intended as. The space was freely accessible to Amsterdammers and is decorated to suggest the city is at the centre of the universe.
This 25-metre-high room has floor-to-ceiling windows which let natural light stream in, highlighting the beautiful décor perfectly. The marble floors are inlaid with three enormous circular maps, which show the eastern and western hemispheres and the night sky.
Look out for the six-metre sculpture of Atlas, holding the world on his shoulders. You can also see the statue of Atlas cast in bronze outside the palace. More sculptures depict the four elements and the planets, further representing the universe in miniature.
The Amsterdam Maiden
The Amsterdam Maiden is another impressive sculpture in Citizen’s Hall. The figure watches over the space. It was initially installed to represent Amsterdam’s position as the economic centre of the world. Look out for her when you’re exploring the vast hall.
More rooms to explore
As well as the grand Citizen’s Hall, highlights of the Royal Palace include the Throne Room, the Royal Apartment, and the Moses Hall. Look out for historical objects and masterful paintings as you wander around. There’s hidden meaning behind lots of the palace features, so ask your guide if you notice something interesting.
Every summer, the Royal Palace plays host to an annual exhibition. These displays highlight the history of the palace and are excellent to visit if you’re in Amsterdam during their run.
Past productions include The King at 50, which was designed to celebrate King Willem’s 50th birthday and 50 years of Dutch history. The 2019 exhibition looked at The Universe of Amsterdam, exploring the design of Citizen’s Hall. The 2018 show, In Focus, drew attention to some unknown historical figures who made an impression on the palace.
Royal Palace Amsterdam History and Facts
The Royal Palace is one of the most significant monuments in the Netherlands. It represents the Dutch Golden Age through its beautiful architecture and décor. It has set the stage for lots of notable events throughout its lifetime. Let’s walk through the history of the building, from its beginnings in the 17th century to the modern day.
The town hall
The building was initially designed to be the Amsterdam town hall. The architect behind the Royal Palace was Jan van Campen. He set out to create a structure which would reflect the power and wealth of Amsterdam in the 17th century. The public Citizen’s Hall and surrounding galleries are towering examples of this.
The Amsterdam Mayor De Graeff had his son lay the first brick for the new town hall in 1648. The treaty to end the 80 Years’ War had just been signed, which meant the end of the war between the Dutch Republic and Spain. The building was partly as a monument to celebrate this important event. Look for the statue of Peace on the façade of the palace.
Becoming a palace
In 1808, King Louis Bonaparte became the King of Holland. The new king thought the Amsterdam town hall was the only building suitable for his palace, so ordered its conversion in just a few months.
The old town hall was quickly transformed into a stylish palace for King Louis. Luxurious carpets and tapestries were fitted, wine cellars were introduced, and the now-iconic balcony was installed on the front façade.
The most extensive part of the conversion from town hall into the palace was the purchasing of lots of new furniture. Countless pieces were made in Paris and Amsterdam, many of which have been restored and remain in place today.
Today, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam is used for official events by King Willem-Alexander. The most important of these are the state visits, which happen when the King invites the head of another country to visit the Netherlands.
Lots of work goes into these visits. Guests stay over in the Royal Palace during their time in Amsterdam.
Restaurants, Bars, and Shops near the Royal Palace Amsterdam
Once you’ve finished your tour of the Royal Palace, you can enjoy some of the best restaurants, bars, and shops in Amsterdam nearby. Dam Square is one of the most popular places in the city, which means there are lots of excellent places to eat and drink in the streets which surround it.
First, let’s take a look at some of the best places to eat and drink near the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.
The best restaurants near the Royal Palace Amsterdam
These are some of the best places to grab a bite or a meal near the Royal Palace.
Brasserie De Roode Leeuw
This beautiful brasserie occupies the oldest covered terrace in Amsterdam, making it a perfect choice after a visit to the historic Royal Palace. There’s something for everyone on the menu here, which focuses on authentic Dutch dishes and wine, ideal for a special lunch or dinner.
The setting is bright and sleek, providing a much-needed oasis among the city’s bustling centre. We recommend you book a table here to avoid disappointment.
Grand Café Krasnapolsky
The Grand Café Krasnapolsky is another swishy spot for a bite near the Royal Palace. The menu features a selection of classic Dutch dishes with unique twists. Enjoy a light but memorable meal in the Cake Room, or choose from ten champagne options in the Champagne Room. Cheers to that!
For a truly memorable dining experience in central Amsterdam, it has to be THE DUCHESS. Enjoy a setting that’s fit for a king in the former KAS Bank building, now home to the W Hotel and THE DUCHESS restaurant.
Order fresh seafood platters, grilled dishes, homemade ice cream, and more! It’s a perfect choice for a fancy lunch or dinner near the Royal Palace.
MR PORTER is the final of our fancy favourites near the Royal Palace. This elegant yet comfortable restaurant specialises in steaks and grilled dishes. Not to mention the tempting cocktail list, making this a perfect choice for dinner and drinks.
When the sun goes down, head to MR PORTER for live DJ sets and spectacular views across central Amsterdam. What could be better?
The best bars near the Royal Palace Amsterdam
Thirsty? Here are some of the most beautiful bars near the Royal Palace, so you can continue the theme of your day.
The Lobby Nesplein
This spot is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but we love it for drinks in the early evening. It’s famous for its atmosphere and loved by visitors and locals alike for the selection of excellent drinks and warm welcome. Nestled down a back street, The Lobby Nesplein is off the beaten path but conveniently located in the city centre.
Sink into a leather sofa or comfortable armchair and enjoy a refreshing sip at the end of a long day. From fine wines and whiskies to skilfully prepared cocktails, there’s something for everyone here.
Bar The Tailor
Another swanky cocktail bar in the heart of Amsterdam, Bar The Tailor is a perfect choice for laidback yet luxurious drinks after you’ve visited the Royal Palace. Kick back with a delicious cocktail and soak up the atmosphere among elegant interiors. There’s a menu of delicious light bites, the perfect way to elevate your experience.
Shopping near the Royal Palace
If you’re in the mood for a little retail therapy, you’ve come to the right place. Dam Square is surrounded by exciting retail streets and beautiful department stores, so you can leave with something special no matter what your taste.
Wander around the surrounding streets for vintage and designer clothes, jewellers, homeware, gifts, perfume, and lots more. Head to de Bijenkorf department store for a treasure trove of luxury pieces, or dive into the area’s lesser-known streets and discover gems of your own.
Royal Palace Amsterdam Opening Times and Ticket Prices
The Royal Palace Amsterdam is open from 10:00 to 17:00 at the time of writing, but do check online. Opening hours may change. The palace opens from Monday to Sunday but will be closed on select days for royal events and preparations. Again, check online before your visit to be sure the palace is open on your planned day.
You’ll need to book your tickets and reserve a timeslot online before you visit. This means you won’t need to wait in line outside the Royal Palace and helps ensure no more than 100 visitors are inside at any one time.
How much does it cost to visit the Royal Palace Amsterdam?
These are the most recent ticket prices for a visit to the Royal Palace:
Children (under 18)
You’ll need to reserve tickets for children online to ensure they’re accounted for within your timeslot.
Travelling to Amsterdam by train
It's easy to take the train to Amsterdam from many major destinations across Europe. Travel direct from London to Amsterdam in just 4h 2m on a high-speed Eurostar service, or why not jump on an equally high-speed Thalys train, and whizz from Paris to Amsterdam in just 3h 12m. Brussels to Amsterdam is also another well-connected route, taking just 1h 45m.
You can find out more about travelling around the Netherlands by train in our trains in the Netherlands guide.