Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima had a busy day in Amsterdam Thursday, first inaugurating an auspicious exhibition on the relationship between Holland's first King, Louis Napoleon, and later returning to the capital to attend an unique concert by Venezuela's world renowed Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
Louis Napoleon ordered Amsterdam to give up its 17th century Town Hall on Dam square so that he could have a Royal Palace in the heart of his name capital Amsterdam. In February 1808 hasty but thorough preparations started for the April 20, 1808 inauguration of the newly minted Royal Palace.
The exhibition in the Palace - which briefly became an Imperial Palace when Louis Napoleon was replaced by his powerful elder brother - shows the transformation from Town Hall to Palace and highlights the achievements of the brief reign (1808-1810) of the younger Napoleon (he was 29 when he started in the job).
His reign was brief because he sided too much with the Dutch, much to the chagrin of his Emperor-brother who put Louis on the throne to look after French interests, not Dutch. Louis Napoleon spent lavishly on the redecoration of the redecoration of the Town Hall, which was in fact totally unfit to be turned into living quarters.
Thanks to Louis Napoleon the Palace now houses the largest collection of Empire style furniture outside of France, still serving at its original location, for which it was specially made by Dutch craftsmen, after French design. © GPD; Photos by © DPP, RPE