News of: Saturday, June 13 2009,
Today, Queen Beatrix will re-open the Royal Palace on Dam Square, in the centre of Amsterdam. Tomorrow, the palace will be open for the public - partially.
Starting Sunday June 14, the Palace is open again for the general public.
The re-opening takes place after 3 years of renovation of the interior. The interior has been restored to its original 17th century and 19th century splendour. The palace is used by the Royal House, for official occasions.
Apartments have been made inside, for official guests and their staff (about 50 bathrooms have been added). The kitchen has been modernized, so that official dinners for up to 300 guests can be given. About 1,000 pieces of furniture have been repaired and re-upholstered
The opening of the palace takes place amid controversies.
The exterior of the palace is still to be renovated, and experts argue about whether, and how this should be done. The stone of the outside now looks dirty, after 3,5 centuries of use.
The authorities now want to use abrasive blasting (sand blasting) for cleaning, and possibly even paint, in order to restore the original white colour.
Various experts argue this would destroy the original material, and is against general rules of monument preservation.
Some documents regarding this intervention are kept secret, and some people believe that the Royal House is behind this.
'Give the palace back to the people', is a slogan with which the local Liberal/Conservative party made the headlines.
The palace was opened in 1665 as the Amsterdam City Hall, and served as such for 1,5 century. When the French took over Holland, the installed King (Lodewijk Napoleon, a brother of Napoleon Bonaparte) seized the City Hall, and made it into his own palace.
After Holland became independant again (1813), the palace was returned to Amsterdam, but quickly became a Royal Palace again. In 1936 it became property of the state of the Netherlands, and the Royal House was given the right of use, which is now still how it is.
Local Amsterdam parties now complain the palace is hardly used, and most of the time it stands empty. Only few parts of the palace are open to the public, and only so if it is not used for state visits.
There are several ideas (making it the City Hall again, a museum, a theatre, etc.), but for the time being Queen Beatrix will have a final say.
On Wikipedia is more information, and some more links.
Royal Palace Amsterdam