Historical sensation to the now
This summer, the Royal Palace Amsterdam hosts the exhibition “The Prince and the City – Willem V in Amsterdam,” reigniting the grandest reception of the eighteenth century. It commemorates the momentous visit of Stadholder Willem V, Prince of Orange-Nassau, and his wife Wilhelmina, Princess of Prussia, to the Amsterdam city hall, now known as the Royal Palace, from May 30th to June 4th, 1768. Their presence bestowed a regal allure upon the monumental city hall, and this encounter between the most powerful person and the most powerful city in the country forms the heart of the exhibition. It tells a tale of regal and political spectacle in the lead-up to a turbulent era.
The exhibition highlights the efforts of the Amsterdam city government in honoring the newlywed princely couple. Lavish dinners, formal audiences, enchanting carriage rides, and a spectacular dance party in the Burgerzaal of the town hall celebrated this significant encounter, which takes center stage in the exhibition. To recreate the historical ambiance, NorthernLight has brought the grand gala ball of the eighteenth century to life through an immersive audio-visual enactment of the Royal Palace, thus bringing the historical sensation to the now.
Who will dance with the Princess?
Visitors will experience the historical sensation of the largest ball ever held in the Burgerzaal, where over a thousand guests from both domestic and foreign origins danced late into the night. The contemporary furniture resembles the shape of a V (Willem V) and an A (Amsterdam) referring to the two players. It makes a significant impact on the objects through the use of light, while also reflecting on the materials in the palace interiors to seamlessly blend in. The contemporary audio, crafted by YellowBloom, breathes life into the historically largest gala ball ever held at the palace of Amsterdam, bringing it to life and to the now. The soundscape, with its modern twist, establishes a connection between the historical sensation and Amsterdam as a thriving city of dance and music today.
The two specially crafted stadhoudersstoelen (steward chairs) used for this five-day reception will return to the place they were originally made for, after a span of 255 years. The dining room is brought to life with a reconstructed banquet, featuring tableware and cutlery from Willem V, along with impressive sugar artwork specially created for the exhibition by renowned pastry chef Jeroen Goossens. The exhibition shines a spotlight on a relatively unknown period of Dutch history, finally captivating a wider audience and garnering well-deserved attention.
A royal opening
On Wednesday, July 5th, His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn officially opened the exhibition “The Prince and the City – Willem V in Amsterdam” in Amsterdam. The Prince and the City – Willem V in Amsterdam can be seen daily at the Royal Palace Amsterdam from July 6th to September 17th.
We would like to thank the Royal Palace for the opportunity to design this wonderful exhibition. A big thank you also to production company Planemos, lighting designers 50LUX and Yellowbloom for the sounddesign. Photo’s by the Royal Palace, Jeroen van der Meyde.
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