After the visits to Venustempel Sex Museum and the Red Light District, I felt I needed to balance it out by going to a totally different place. So getting cultured at Amsterdam Royal Palace seemed like the perfect thing to do! The Palace, or Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam in Dutch, is located on Dam Square. I stayed at Mauritskade street, so it took only around 10 minutes for me to get there by tram. It is also easy to reach from Amsterdam Centraal Station by foot.
The building was actually not intended for the royals when it was built in 1648. It originally functioned as a city hall and for the next two centuries, it was the largest secular building in Europe. In 1808, King of Holland Louis Bonaparte converted it into a palace for himself. Nowadays, the palace is still used for official receptions and ceremonies including the coronation of King Willem-Alexander on 30 April 2013. To the left of the Royal Palace is the New Church (De Nieuwe Kerk), built in the 14th century.
The first area to enter from the Reception and Ticketing Counter is the Citizen’s Hall which name is self-explanatory. A large room with sculptures and carving all over the walls, painting on the ceiling, the world maps and star charts on the marble floor.
Right on the opposite wall of Amsterdam Maiden is Atlas, carrying the globe on his shoulders. The 6-meter statue is also meant to imply the important position of the Dutch, Amsterdam particularly, in Europe in the Golden Age – mighty seafarers and merchants that wandered to the other hemisphere, including my country Indonesia, through one of the first multinational corporations in the world, VOC.
When I was there some of the richly decorated rooms were barricaded by glass doors, so visitors could only look from outside. That was unfortunate but understandable since the palace is still actively used for official state functions.
Before leaving the place, I saw a small room on the ground floor full of beautiful marble sculptures and carvings. It turned out that when the building was still a city hall, this room was a Tribunal, where the death sentence was pronounced to the accused. And to the public as well since people outside could watch the whole thing through the barred window right across the weeping statues (and they also watched the executions later at the square!).