Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace)

Amsterdam’s Royal Palace is one of the best examples of Dutch Baroque.

TravelCurious Tip

Look up to see the palace's original weathervane in the shape of a cog ship - the symbol of the city of Amsterdam.

The Rome of the North

Overlooking Dam Square is the magnificent Koninklijk Paleis. First built as a city hall during the 17th century Dutch Golden Age, the building’s ornate Baroque exterior and luxurious marble halls tell of the prosperity of the time.

Amsterdam at this point was thought of as the ‘Rome of the North’ - today it’s more commonly described as a Northern Venice - and the architect Jacob van Campen was inspired by Roman administrative buildings in its construction for the city’s councillors.

From statehouse to palace

In 1806 the building began to serve a rather less civic function, as Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother Louis seized it for his palace upon becoming King Louis I of Holland. It changed hands between various French and Dutch regents over the following years, before finally becoming the property of the Kingdom of the Netherlands again in 1936.

Today, the royal family still use the palace for official and ceremonial functions around 10 times annually, and it is open to visitors most of the year. Audio tours explain the uses of its opulent rooms, which feature impressive chandeliers and marble sculpture. Particularly lovely is the Great Hall (Groote Burger-Zaal), which features three vast marble floor maps by famed cartographer Joan Blaeu, displaying the northern and southern hemispheres and one of the earliest maps of the heliocentric solar system.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Amsterdam
Oude Kerk (Old Church)
Amsterdam’s Oude Kerk was consecrated over 700 years ago. Before the Reformation of 1578, it was a Roman Catholic church; afterwards, it became an important centre of Calvinism.
Dam Square
Lying in the very heart of the Dutch capital, Dam Square is surrounded by scenic and notable buildings.
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
Used for Dutch royal investiture ceremonies, this magnificent church is full of history.
Magna Plaza
Built in the 19th century as a post office, Magna Plaza is today an iconic shopping centre.
De 9 Straatjes
A photogenic zone of nine cobbled streets full of designer stores, vintage boutiques, cafés and galleries.
Amsterdam's picturesque ancient court has a fascinating religious history.

Related Tours

Full Day Private Highlights Tour including Tickets: Canal Cruise and Amsterdam's Architecture
Discover the vibrant culture, architectural beauty, and fascinating history of Netherlands' capital.

  • Enjoy a canal cruise through Amsterdam
  • Explore the bustling Dam Square
  • Visit the oldest building in Amsterdam, Oude Kerk
  • Learn about Amsterdam's royalty at Koninklijk Palace
  • Cross the famous Torensluis Bridge and pass by Anne Frank's House
  • Meander through the unique and trendy Jordaan District
  • Discover the hidden gems of Amsterdam at Nine Streets and Spui Square
  • Conclude by the beautifully-lit bridge, Magere Burg
Venice of the North
You will begin your tour with a comprehensive cruise that will take you through the warren of canals that define the great city of Amsterdam, giving you an introduction to the history of Amsterdam and a deeper appreciation of the diverse districts that make up this fantastic city. 

After your canal cruise, you will explore Amsterdam’s bustling Dam Square where you will get to visit the astonishing 800 year old Oude Kerk (Old Church), the oldest building in Amsterdam, which is such a part of the Dutch identity, that is called “Amsterdam’s living room”. 

You will then venture on to the magnificent Koninklijk Palace (Royal Palace), once the residence of Louis Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon. Luckily this beautiful building is now open to the public, and you will get the chance to visit the Citizen's Hall (Burgerzaal), clad in marble which is particularly striking on a sunny day.

You will then cross the quintessentially Dutch Torensluis Bridge where you will pass Anne Frank’s iconic home and the 17th century Westerkerk (West Church) with its gigantic 85m high tower.

Authentic Amsterdam
You will go on to explore the beautiful Jordaan District, traditionally a rather poor neighbourhood, attracting amazing artists and poets, including Rembrandt and the famous 17th century Dutch writer Joost van den Vondel. You will also explore the picturesque Nine Streets with its myriad independent boutiques and beautiful cafes. 

From here you will make your way to the world famous Flower Market, where you may grab a bite to eat and perhaps buy some colourful and fragrant tulips. You will also get to experience some of the hidden gems of Amsterdam, including a visit of the Spui Square where local booksellers and artists vie for your attention, as well as a visit to the enchanting courtyard of Begijnhof- a place of quiet sanctuary in the heart of Amsterdam. To finish this epic tour you will get the chance to take some absolutely stunning photos of Magere Burg, the “Skinny Bridge” lit up beautifully at night.

We built this tour because 
Amsterdam is packed with culture and history, therefore a full-day walking tour is the ideal form of exploring the capital. 
Private Walking Half Day Tour of Amsterdam's Highlights
On your private half day tour of Amsterdam, trace the city’s fascinating history, delving into backstreets to discover mementoes of its Golden Age (1585-1672).

  • Enjoy a fascinating, immersive tour of Amsterdam’s central sights and landmarks
  • Gain insight into historic past and modern present of this absorbing city 
  • Learn the layout of Amsterdam around four concentric semicircles of canals
  • Explore Dam Square, home to the iconic Koninklijk Palace, a royal residence
  • Discover the Dutch love affair with pedal power in a city of 513km cycle paths
  • See Torensluis Bridge, Anne Frank’s house, Westerkerk and bustling Nine Street 
From its humble beginnings as a fishing village by the Amstel river, Amsterdam has enjoyed a rich and storied history. By the 17th century, it had grown into a lively port town, attracting wealthy merchants and artisans from all over the globe to enjoy the highlife in one of the world’s most prosperous cities. Today Amsterdam is characterised by pretty centuries-old canals, painted houseboats, and streets filled with cyclists. World-class museums and galleries boast highly-prized art collections, while elegant spire-topped churches gaze down on an extraordinary number of stone bridges - more than 500 at last count.

Begin this fantastic half day tour exploring Dam Square, once the mouth of the Amstel River; marvel at the ornate grandeur of the cupola-topped Koninklijk Palace, one of a trio of Dutch royal residences. Admire the stunning facade of the 800 year old Nieuwe Kerk, which is such a part of the Dutch identity and is considered “Amsterdam’s living room”. Stroll Torensluis Bridge and pass by the house of Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank before stopping to admire 17th century’s Westerkerk’s soaring tower. In atmospheric Nine Street, yield to the bustle of pavement cafes, florists and boutiques before marveling at the rainbow of vivid fragrant blooms in Amsterdam’s famous flower market. Next you’re on to  Spui Square, where booksellers and street artists vie for attention (on Fridays) close to the leafy courtyard of Begijnhof, a haven of quietude in the city’s buzz and bustle.
The Dutch Golden Age: Stories of Rise & Fall - Private Tour
Learn about the prosperous Dutch Golden Age, the fall of the Dutch East India Company, and its relevance in today's world. This tour is for all culture vultures and history buffs out there!

  • Commence your tour at Museum Van Loon, home to the Van Loon family from the 19th century
  • Marvel at the architecture of Oost-Indisch Huis, the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company
  • End at the harbourside, where The Amsterdam is docked
History of the Dutch East India Company

Founded in 1602, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) flourished for two centuries, navigating European trade networks with Asia. VOC's primary purpose was trade, exploration, and colonisation, particularly the  monopolisation of the intercontinental spice trade. On this tour, you will view architectural landmarks from the Dutch golden age such as its headquarters and the shipping house. Hear stories of the merchantry networks that allowed Amsterdam to flourish for two centuries. Gain an understanding of how the repercussions of these trading networks remain relevant in the modern-day. 

 We built this tour because traces of the Dutch East India Company  can be seen  throughout Amsterdam, but a guide is necessary to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Dutch golden age.


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