Haarlem is a quaint city on the River Spaarne near the northwest coast of the Netherlands. Perhaps the most recognizable center of tulips in the country, it has an intriguing past. Haarlem passed through Spanish and French rule during the Middle Ages. The architecture is varied, reflecting the blend of influences over the centuries.
Visit the Cathedral of St. Bavo, one of Haarlem’s most well-known churches. Explore remnants from its Catholic past in the museum inside the building. Outside are headstones of royalty and celebrities from the 13th century. Admire the gothic design of the Grote Kerk, a church dating back to the 1300s. Locate its 18th-century organ, one of the largest in the world.
The church is located in the city’s central square, Grote Markt. Haggle with vendors for flowers, fabrics and food in the twice-weekly market. Marvel at fascinating historical buildings, including the church and the 14th-century city hall, known as the Stadhuis. Remarkable works of art hang on the walls of the building.
Take a tour of the Corrie Ten Boomhuis, the house-turned-museum of a Dutch Christian who sheltered Jews during World War II. The house appears just as it did in the 1940s. Discover the hidden room behind a false wall in a bedroom.
Explore revered works of art in the 20th-century Frans Hals Museum. See the collection by the 17th-century artist after whom the site is named. The building itself has an elegant brick façade.
Learn about scientific discoveries and cultural changes over the last few centuries in Haarlem in the Teylers Museum, which opened in 1784.
Make a relaxing trip to Zandvoort Beach. Stroll along miles of warm sand and take a refreshing dip in the sea.
Haarlem was founded in the 13th century. It now incorporates the former city of Schoten and other surrounding regions. The area enjoys warm summers and mild to cool winters. If you’re visiting Amsterdam, take a side trip to lovely Haarlem, just 12 miles (19.3 kilometers) west.