Haarlem in the North Holland province of the Netherlands, is relatively small. Even if you are on a one day tour Amsterdam to Haarlem, you can cover most of its tourist destinations. With cobblestone streets, floating houseboats on waterways and medieval architectures, Haarlem is abuzz with plenty of areas of interest. Here is a top four compilation of what Haarlem has to offer to tourists.
Grote Markt Square
The ‘Big Market’ square in the midst of Haarlem resides underneath the Grote Kerk church, which is the symbolic image of the city. Haarlem hosts live concerts, frequent festivals, and flea markets, especially on Mondays and Saturdays. The square is the hub of all activities for natives even on weekdays, and features iconic buildings comprising The Vlesshal, the City Hall, and the Saint Bavo Cathedral, to name three.
The Dutch love their windmills, especially those sailing over a river. The Molen De Adriaan, as the natives call it, looms over the Spaarne River. It’s a reconstruction of an 18th Century windmill and has been a quintessential feature of the skyline of Haarlem and of Dutch tourism. There are tour operators that provide guided tours comprising panoramic views of the cityscapes from the rooftop of the riverside windmill.
Frans Hals Museum
This museum in Haarlem is home to the portraits of the Dutch painter of the Golden Age. The legacy of Frans Hals is chronicled in the museum gallery devoted to the Dutch Golden Age. It has the largest collections of Hals portraits, and that too in the past hometown of the artist. From the Golden Age paintings here, you can get a gist of how Netherlands looked in the past.
Corrie ten Boom House
This former house turn World War II museum was a hideout of the Jews and the resistance movement members, who hailed from their native Barteljorisstraat. The Boom family was jailed and then sent to Nazi concentration camps except for Haarlem native Corrie ten Boom, who survived the agony. The Corrie ten Boomhuis museum leaves traces of how it may have looked during the 1940s, and that of a hideout situated behind her bedroom’s fake wall to keep Jews hidden from the Nazis.
Further, if you come to Haarlem in summertime, consider cycling and participating in water sports at the beach clubs of Bloemendaal and Zandvoort beach.