Image by Bruce Noronha Five Hundred Pixels
Opened as a town hall in 1655, this resplendent building became a palace in the 19th century. The interiors gleam, especially the marble work – at its best in a floor inlaid with maps of the world in the great burgerzaal (citizens’ hall) at the heart of the building. Pick up a free audioguide at the desk when you enter; it explains everything you see in vivid detail. King Willem-Alexander uses the palace only for ceremonies; check for periodic closures.
When it was designed by architect Jacob van Campen, the opulent structure showcased Amsterdam's wealth in a way that rivalled the grandest European buildings of the time. Most of the palace’s rooms spread over the 1st floor; highlights include 51 chandeliers, damasks, gilded clocks, and rich paintings by Ferdinand Bol and Jacob de Wit.