Information from the palace’s press release, 12 March 2013
The stately Royal Palace stands on the west side of Dam Square, the most famous public space in the Netherlands. The two have been inextricably linked since they were built in the seventeenth century. Situated in the heart of the city, they have witnessed some of the most momentous events in the country’s history. In people’s minds they are associated with many different things – royal ceremonies and public celebrations, academic debate and political protest, moments of remembrance and commemoration.
In the Dutch Golden Age Dam Square was the focal point of Amsterdam’s burgeoning canal precinct and the commercial hub of a flourishing mercantile city. Some called it the centre of the world. In the seventeenth century its function as a popular meeting place spilled over into the building. The Citizens’ Hall in what was then Amsterdam’s Town Hall was open to the public from 1665 to 1808. Inside, visitors could imagine themselves at the centre of the universe, with inlaid marble maps of the earth and skies at their feet. Louis Napoleon’s accession to the throne of Holland in the early nineteenth century sealed the country’s transformation from republic to monarchy. The Town Hall became a Royal Palace; Dam Square was refurbished and acquired a new allure.
This year’s summer exhibition focuses on the relationship between the Royal Palace and Dam Square which, together, have formed the vibrant hub of the city and its canal district for the past four hundred years. The exhibition is open daily from 11.00 to 17.00