With windmills and curving canals, Haarlem paints the perfect picture of ancient Holland, tucked away in time about 20 kilometres from metropolitan Amsterdam. From medieval churches to museums harbouring the works of famous Dutch painters, Haarlem earns its reputation as a caretaker of Netherlands history and culture.
Things to do in Haarlem
The Grote Markt square holds the heart of Haarlem, serving as a gathering place for people from all walks of life while hosting festivals, concerts and the Cathedral of St. Bavo. Lively pubs and cafes line the square, and the colourful outdoor market highlights Haarlem’s role in the tulip industry of Holland.
Don't miss the chance to view artwork by Rembrandt and Michelangelo in Teyler's Museum, as well as quirky collections of scientific instruments and fossils. Frans Hals Museum is where to find works of Dutch painters from the 1400s and later, including renowned Haarlem artists such as Frans Hals, Verspronck and De Bray. You can step back in history when visiting the Corrie ten Boom House, known as “the hiding place” for those escaping the Nazis during WWII.
In spite of its rich history, Haarlem keeps up with modern-day fashion and decor in “de Gouden Straatjes,” the golden streets of the city’s shopping district. You can’t go wrong by strolling streets such as the Grote Houtstraat and the Zijlstraat, where you can duck into smaller alleyways like the Schagchelstraat and find tiny boutiques and local designers. The perfect way to enjoy Haarlem streets from a distance, take a canal cruise of the area at sunset.
Getting around Haarlem
With close proximity to Amsterdam, public transportation is guaranteed. Trains and buses run regular routes, while taxis are available from various locations, including just outside Haarlem Central Station. Bicycle rentals also provide a flexible way to dart about the city.