Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam | Former City Hall of Amsterdam

This is another one of my long overdue posts. I visited the Royal Palace for the first time in December 2014. Locals call it the Dampaleis or the Dam Palace (abbreviated from the Amsterdam Palace).

December 2014 was a challenging end of the year month for me as I was recovering from the Pneumonia sickness I picked up during my Japan-Philippines holiday. It was the first time for me to be really sick as an adult. I felt helpless. Walking 500 metres was already a daunting activity. It was a nightmare to go up the stairs. I cannot even sit straight for half an hour without having back pains.

So I managed to arrange working 50% instead of fulltime and remotely at home as well for the whole month of December while I slowly recover. I also exerted effort to be active again by going out for walks whenever I can. The month was really about moving forward one day at a time. So during this period I spent a lot of time at home but I also did some things that I have long wanted to do but never came to really doing it, such as visiting the Dam Palace in Amsterdam.

The palace has been for a long time under renovation, which is why I wasn't able to really visit it earlier on.

When I was here I learned that the Royal Palace was originally built as the City Hall for the mayor and magistrates of Amsterdam. It was the ultimate pride of the city during the Dutch Golden Age. It was the masterpiece, the biggest and most opulent building of the country, and it was open for the public to experience and admire.

Nowadays the palace serves a different function. It is one of the 3 palaces (along with Huis ten Bosch and Noordeinde) placed by the state at the King's disposal. The Royal Palace's balcony is the balcony where the King presents himself and the rest of the royal family to the public during special royal events such as coronation, marriages and such. However, the building now primarily functions as a museum. So when the palace is not booked for royal and state events (just a few days perhaps in a year really), it is open all year round, except for Mondays and public holidays, to tourists and visitors.

Learn more about the history here: Royal Palace History and Royal Palace as Amsterdam City Hall in the 17th century 

The building was designed by Dutch artist and architect Jacob van Campen. Towards the end of the project he had a conflict with the magistrates of Amsterdam about how things should be done and decided to leave town. He was not present at the inauguration of the building. A bit sad methinks.

I took a lot of pictures and thought that I post them here as collages.

The Citizen's Hall, Amsterdam depicted as the centre of the universe during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century).

Another one of the larger rooms with exquisite chandeliers, arched ceiling with sculpted paintings and heavy draperies that would be a nightmare to wash.

The grand hallways and the Citizen's Hall.

One of the elegant rooms and a dining room in the Royal Palace.

This is the Council Chamber functioning as an advisory and meeting room (also known as Mozeszaal aka Moses Room) with a large wall to wall painting of Moses being appointed by the seventy elders (by Jacob de Wit). You know, Moses from the Bible, the prophet who delivered the Jews from slavery out of Egypt by crossing the Red Sea.

I am quite liking the chandelier on the right. It is not too abrasive and garish.

Here are more details of the Council Chamber (Mozeszaal) with beautiful gilded ceilings and paintings by Antwerp artist, Erasmus Quellinus.

Royal bedrooms at its finest. I don't mind staying for a few days and nights in a place like this (e.g. hotel weekends, holidays) but give me a modern penthouse or apartment anytime with a lovely view of the city please.

Entry and ceiling of the Citizen's Hall of the Royal Palace.

Visit Period: December 2014
Destination: Amsterdam Centrum (Amsterdam - North Holland), The Netherlands

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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