This regal, austere and inspiring old monolith seems almost unsuitably dignified given that it looks on to the tacky buskers, tinned-beer drinkers, gormless shoppers and bewildered stoners of Dam Square. It sits on 14,000 wooden spikes, driven into the muddy sand beneath. From the front it looks state-like, but the architectural flourishes are easier to spot from behind (note the towering Atlas) and inside, where the full grandness of Cornelis de Graeff’s mid-17th century creation can be appreciated; marble, chandeliers, 40-metre-long main hall and all. It’s all dazzlingly splendid, and one of the main flourishes is the map of the world set in the marble floor. There is an eastern and western hemisphere, with the heavens above. Exhibitions are held every summer, where the star of the show is the building itself, and a different historical or artistic feature is opened up for the hoi-polloi. The winning works in the Royal Awards for Painting are shown from October each year. Closed when in use by Queen B and co.