On March 10, 1966, the Royal Palace was the setting of the wedding of Princess Beatrix and Claus von Amsberg. The pair left the palace in the golden carriage and headed towards the town hall. Later that day the religious ceremony was held in the Westerkerk (West Church). Afterwards the couple appeared on the balcony of the Palace to greet the public.
When the French Empire came to an end, Frederick of Orange-Nassau, the son of the last ‘Stadhouder’, came back to the Netherlands. In December 1813 he went to Amsterdam and declared that he would return the former Town Hall to the city. During his visit he stayed in the Palace. The proclamation, in which he accepted the sovereignty of the Netherlands as William I, was signed here.
the palace remains a palace
The ‘Prinsenhof’ was the place where the city council was established. The Palace remained a Palace. A relocation and new furnishings would bring along too large expenses. Moreover, William I saw the importance of staying in the capital. The city council of Amsterdam proclaimed that the building would be available again to the Sovereign.
Initially, William I made a lot of use of the Palace. In 1814 he received his first state visit, the Russian Tsar Alexander I. But quickly his interest in the building diluted. Even King William II and King William III were at most a few days per year in the building.
The building was ideal for official receptions and other royal occassions, but the fact that is was unoccupied for long periods led to mounting criticism. Political and economic circumstances directed the course of the continuing debate. In the 1930s, legal experts were asked to determine who actually owned the building. The answer was that it belonged to the city. A comprehensive plan to restore the building for service as a town hall was drawn up in 1934. In the prevailing economic climate, however, the project was unfeasible. On 20 December 1935, Amsterdam's municipal executive passed a momentous resolution: the city sold the building to the State of the Netherlands for ten million guilders. The State offered the Royal House permanent use of the building.
The Palace was inaugurated by Queen Wilhelmina. In 1938 she celebrated her fortieth jubilee in the Palace. In the last years of her reign Queen Wilhelmina used the Palace as her 'Winter Palace'. From the Palace she made small excursions in the city and sitting on the roof she painted the sky.
The Royal Palace Amsterdam is one of three Palaces used by the Dutch Monarch, notably for State Visits, Award Ceremonies, New Years Receptions and other official functions. The building plays a role in royal marriages and in the abdication and investiture of the Monarch. When the Palace is not in use by the Royal House, the Amsterdam Royal Palace Foundation opens the building to the public (since 1979). Twice a year an exhibition is on show.
H.R.H. Princess Beatrix in the Golden Coach on her wedding day, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, Amsterdam, 1966. Photo: © ANP.