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The famous Royal Palace

The first Dutch historical and cultural monument of the Golden Age.

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is a palace on the Dam in the center of Amsterdam. Nowadays the palace is used by the Royal Family for reception occasions and exhibitions.

The Palace was built in the style of the Dutch Classicism between 1648 and 1665 as a city hall and was designed by the architect Jacob van Campen. It cost around 8,5 million guilders. This was a lot of money, even during the 17th century well known as the Golden Age.

Until the year of 1808, it served as a city hall. After that, the building was offered as a palace for King Lodewijk Napoleon. In 1813 the palace returned to a city hall again by Willem I.

The building is originally rested on 13,659 wooden piles, a number that used to be taught to many school children (‘days of the year, one before, nine behind it’). Currently, there are still 13,657 – there are two poles that were removed to check if they were still cool (and that was the case). It was entirely built from Bentheimer sandstone (originally very light colored) and especially in the interior, there is a lot of marble. Van Campen was inspired by the Roman administrative palaces. For the Mayors of Amsterdam who thought themselves the consuls of a new Rome, a new Capitol was built. The silver trowel, which was used by the grandsons and nephew of the four former mayors on 28 October 1648, is exhibited at the Rijksmuseum.

In a ceremonial state and for family affairs the Palace functions in a grand manner. During state visits, the visiting head of state stays in the Palace in Amsterdam, where he is also officially received. On April 30th in 2013 Queen Beatrix officially renounced the throne in the palace just as her mother Juliana did in 1980.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Merel Marcuse, a 19-year old girl who loves to sing, take photos of people & nature and to philosophize about everything.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.