Haarlem

Known as 'Little Amsterdam', Haarlem is a small town in North Holland with a cosy historical centre full of interesting sites.
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Only 30 km from Amsterdam is the small but charming town of Haarlem, which is the perfect destination for a day trip from the Dutch capital. Haarlem is considered by many to be a ‘little Amsterdam’ as it is characterised by a cosy but welcoming historical centre, several interesting museums and a beautiful waterfront.

The history of Haarlem seems to begin around the 10th century when this area was a small settlement along a road that connected the north with the south of the country. Over time, this town grew to become the residence of the Counts of Holland and one of the most important cities. Between the 16th and 17th centuries, Haarlem welcomed many Flemings who were experts in the linen and silk trade and the city became particularly developed and enriched during the years of the so-called ‘Golden Age’.

Less chaotic than the capital, Haarlem is now a destination that captivates with its quiet atmosphere, historical sites and unique charm. Moreover, the city is located in the centre of a region famous for the cultivation of flowers, especially tulips.

Things to do in Haarlem

The famous windmill De Adriaan, symbol of Haarlem

Haarlem is a unique city with a historic centre characterised by canals, small bridges, small cobbled streets, elegant gardens and historic buildings. The heart of city life is undoubtedly Grote Markt (the Main Square) where festivals, concerts and markets are often organised. Next to the more historical Harleem, however, there is also a more modern part of town with trendy shops and luxurious restaurants.

Church De Grote St. Bavokerk

The Church De Grote St. Bavokerk (also called Grote Kerk) is located in the central Grote Markt, the city’s Main Square, and is famous for its imposing structure and elegant interior. Specifically, the St. Bavokerk (or St. Bavon’s Church) was erected between 1370 and 1520, making it one of the largest buildings in the Netherlands at the time, thanks to its 43 metre high vaults.

Built in Brabant Gothic style, the church has a Latin cross plan with transept and choir and is divided into three naves by pointed arches. Inside, it boasts a wonderful wooden ceiling, elegant stained glass windows and more than 400 tombstones, including one by the famous Dutch artist Frans Hals. However, the true masterpiece of the religious building is the organ made by Christian Müller between 1735 and 1738, which was also played by Mozart and Georg Friedrich Händel.

Frans Hals Museum

Frans Hals (1582 – 1666) is a Dutch Golden Age portrait painter and one of Haarlem’s most famous artists, whose artistic legacy can still be seen in various parts of the city. Frans Hals played an important role in the evolution of portrait painting and most of his works can now be seen in the Frans Hals Museum. This museum site actually spans two different venues, Hof Museum and Hal Musuem, which are located within walking distance of each other in the city centre.

The Hof Musuem was once the home of a wealthy Dutchman, which has now been converted into a museum to display mostly works by Frans Hals; the Hal Musuem, on the other hand, houses mainly creations by other great masters who worked between the 16th and 17th centuries, such as Rembrandt and Hist.

Teylers Museum

The Teylers Museum is known to be the oldest museum in the Netherlands as it opened its doors in 1784 a few years after the death of collector Pieter Teyler van der Hulst. In the beginning, Pieter Teyler wanted to create a centre for art and science where he could make his collection of artefacts, books, scientific instruments, drawings, fossils and minerals available to the public.

Over the years, the original exhibition has been increasingly enriched with works of art by famous masters, ancient artefacts, coins, jewellery, devices and devices. Not to be missed at the site is a visit to the beautiful Oval Room, a neoclassical room that is more than two centuries old and now houses research and analysis laboratories.

De Gouden Straatjes (Golden Streets)

De Gouden Straatjes (also known as Golden Streets) are seven streets in the centre of Haarlem that are famous for the presence of numerous boutiques, big brand shops and tailor’s shops. The variety of shops here is truly enormous and includes boutiques ranging from clothing to home accessories, from vintage clothes to antiques.

The seven Golden Streets of Haarlem wind around the Grote Markt square and are: Zijlstraat, Koningstraat, Gierstraat, Schagchelstraat, Kleine Houtstraat, Anegang and Warmoesstraat. To find famous and luxury brands, on the other hand, one can go to Grote Houtstraat or Gouden Straatjes.

Molen De Adriaan

The Molen De Adriaan is a windmill located along the River Spaarne that is considered by many to be the symbol of the city. This tower mill has origins dating back to 1778 but has been destroyed by fire several times and rebuilt.

What you can see now, therefore, dates back to a reconstruction in 1932 and inside is a small museum open to the public that tells the story not only of Dutch mills but also of this area. From the top of the mill, you can also admire a spectacular view of the entire old town.

Cruise the canals of Haarlem

If you are planning to visit Haarlem, we recommend taking part in a canal cruise. This experience will allow you to discover the beauty of the city from a different perspective and enjoy a relaxing moment on the calm waters of the canals.

Where to stay in Haarlem

Haarlem is a small town with a cosy historical centre that can be discovered comfortably on foot. For this reason, the area including the Grote Markt square and the adjacent streets is the ideal place to stay. Here, in fact, you will find many establishments in different price ranges as well as restaurants, shops and clubs.

Due to its location, transport and services, Haarlem is also considered a strategic base from which to explore other cities in the Netherlands, so you can also consider staying here if you want to discover other destinations in this beautiful country.

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How to get to Haarlem

Haarlem can be easily reached from Amsterdam either by public transport or by car. If you are travelling by train, you can take one of the many train connections that connect Haarlem with Amsterdam in approximately twenty minutes from Central Station. Alternatively, buses depart from the capital’s Elandsgracht station to Haarlem in less than 40 minutes. With the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket you can reach Haarlem free of charge by public transport.

Finally, from Amsterdam those travelling by car can reach Haarlem in less than 45 minutes via the A200 or alternatively the A9.

Haarlem Weather

What's the weather at Haarlem? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Haarlem for the next few days.

Thursday 23
13°
16°
Friday 24
12°
17°
Saturday 25
13°
16°
Sunday 26
14°
17°
Monday 27
13°
16°
Tuesday 28
12°
17°

Where is located Haarlem

Haarlem is a town in the province of North Holland, along the banks of the River Spaarne. The city is approximately 30 km from Amsterdam and 75 km from Rotterdam.

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