At first sight the Royal Palace on Dam square doesn't seem very royal, and doesn't even look like a palace at all. All very understandable because Jacob van Campen designed this building as a city hall, which it was until 1808, when Napoleon's brother Louis Bonaparte ruled Holland for 5 years. He thought the building fit for a king, and ever since this has been the official palace for the reigning queen or king of the Netherlands.
Except for official receptions it is not used much. In summer you can take a guided tour of the palace, the highlights of its interior being the Empire furniture Bonaparte left behind, and paintings by Rembrandt's pupils Govert Flinck and Ferdinand Bol.
| After a temporary relocation the Waterlooplein in the center of the former Jewish neighborhood is again host to Amsterdam's largest flea-market. In the old days the merchants on this square used to sell everything from bric-a-brac to genuine antiques, genuine junk, goods of dubious origin and second-hand clothes.
Since the reinstatement of the flea market on its original location the merchandise has become more geared towards visiting tourists with lots of second-hand apparel and smoking paraphernalia, but for cheap clothes it's still hard to beat.
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|Van Gogh Museum, Paulus Potterstraat 7
Most of the work by Vincent van Gogh has never left the Netherlands, and 200 paintings and 500 drawings are on permanent exhibition in the Van Gogh Museum, designed by Gerrit Rietveld. The paintings are presented unadorned, in chronological order according to the different periods and residences in Van Gogh's career.
On the second floor are the colorful paintings van Gogh made during his stay in the South of France, among them the famous "Sunflowers".
|Rembrandthuis, Jodenbreestraat 4-6
Rembrandt lived for twenty years in this charming house, until he left it bankrupt in 1658. It might be interesting to know that his bankruptcy came about because the company who commissioned the Night Watch were totally dissatisfied with the painting, which eventually ruined his career!
His house is now faithfully restored, and on display are over 250 of his etchings, and some paintings from his pupils.