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Haarlem is a Dutch city of unparalleled beauty and brilliant history. The international tourist community has discovered all the gems and hidden treasures of this Little-Big City – maybe it’s time you too searched for cheap air tickets to Haarlem, to see for yourself! Haarlem is a city with a traditional Dutch character and has it all; canals, cobbled streets, historic buildings, museums and churches. You need more? Forget all about the wild crowd of Amsterdam. In Haarlem, you will find quality, decency and peace. Book your accommodation in Haarlem and spend your days getting lost into old markets, enjoying lots of cappuccinos gazing at River Spaarne and walking all over the city!
Haarlem has traditionally been – and still is – an important hub of tulip cultivation and exportation. Recently though, Haarlem has emerged as a top travel destination for those looking to enjoy the Netherlands’s authentic character but do not want to mess with Amsterdam.
With a population of just 150,000, Haarlem is merely the 13th largest Dutch city; but the 4th largest in terms of tourism!
Idyllic, picturesque and peaceful, Haarlem seems as nothing’s changed from the 17th century’s historic centre, aura, open-air markets and secret alleys. Art-loving and culture-promoting, Haarlem is a unique Dutch destination, a must-see in the Netherlands!
The nearest airport to Haarlem is the Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, located 20 kilometres southeast of Haarlem. From there, catch the train or bus 300 to get to Haarlem’s city centre.
Getting around Haarlem
You can get around Haarlem by the bus network, but Haarlem can easily be explored on foot. Bus fares start at 2.80€ and minimum taxi fare costs around 2.67€.
Start your day in Haarlem at the city’s main square, the Grote Markt, where Haarlem’s main market has been and is still taking place since centuries. The square also houses many cafes, shops, restaurants, historic buildings and landmarks.
At the square’s west end, the Haarlem’s City Hall dates back to the 14th century, constructed from scratch after the great fires that burnt down Haarlem.
Opposite the City Hall, you will immediately notice the Sit-Bavokerk, also known as the Grote Kerk (Large Church). This colossal Gothic church was built during the period of time from 1445 to 1520, under the auspices of Evert Spoorwater from Antwerp. It’s a beautiful sight, but the ultimate highlight is its organ. This is the organ many notable composers like Handel, Liszt, Schubert and Mozart – at the age of 10! – played.
The church also houses the tomb of Frans Hals, the famous painter from Antwerp who lived, created art and died in Haarlem, leaving his precious artistic heritage living on.
Continue to some of Haarlem’s most important and interesting museums:
- The Frans Hals Museum, one of Haarlem’s top attractions, will provide you with more information on the life and work of this important artist. Housed in the old Oudemannenhuis, a building that in 1608 used to provide shelter to male senior citizens, the museum boasts great collections of artworks by Frans Hals himself and other notable artists of the School of Haarlem.
The group portraits known as Schutterij are a must-see in the museum. These are the portraits of members of the Civil Guard (Schutters) Hals used to paint, in order to make a living!
- The Teylers Museum is the Netherlands’s oldest museum, founded in 1784, and houses art collections with works by Raphael, Rembrandt and Michelangelo, natural history and physics exhibitions.
- The Museum of Modern Art is housed in two historic halls of the Grote Markt, widely known as “De Hallen”. The Vlesshal was Haarlem’s main meat market and the Verweyhal was the fish market. Today the two halls house temporary exhibitions with the best of contemporary art, including paintings, films, multimedia and photography exhibitions.
Complete your experience in Haarlem with a stroll around the beautiful, colourful and serene Hofjes. Once serving as a shelter for the sick, the poor and those in need, these private alleys now are the perfect spot for you to spend a relaxing afternoon - please note that the Hofjes are open to the public only on weekends.
Haarlem’s official language is Dutch, but you will also find English, German and French-speaking locals.