Originally designed as a city hall by architect Jacob Van Campen, this wonderful example of Dutch Classicism was converted from a town hall to become the palace when Napoleon's brother Louis Bonaparte took it over in 1808, and it has remained the official palace of the reigning Queen or King of the Netherlands ever since. Begun in 1648 and finished in late 1665 the building was originally designed as a town hall and like many of Amsterdam's architectural projects changed designers several times during its construction. Filled with sculptures by Artus Quellijn, the Flemish sculptor a process that was not finished until nearly 10 years after the building was complete.
The building is now used sparingly for official receptions. Guided tours are available that feature paintings by Govert Flinck and Ferdinand Bol, master pupils of Rembrandt. Located on Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam the Royal Palace is one of the three Palaces placed at the Queen's disposal. In July and August the Palace is open daily, the rest of the year it is open Tuesday through Thursday and weekends only. Call the information-line or check the website before going to confirm availability. Tours are available in both English and Dutch.