Haarlem: Wikis


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—  Municipality / City  —
From top to bottom: River Spaarne through Haarlem, Sint-Bavokerk on the Grote Markt


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Bloemenstad (Dutch for flower city)
Motto: Vicit vim virtus (Latin for Virtue conquered force)
Coordinates: 52°23′N 4°38′E / 52.383°N 4.633°E / 52.383; 4.633
Country Netherlands Netherlands
Province North Holland North Holland
 - Mayor mr. B.B. Schneiders (PvdA)
Area (2006)
 - Total 32.12 km2 (12.4 sq mi)
 - Land 29.32 km2 (11.3 sq mi)
 - Water 2.80 km2 (1.1 sq mi)
Population (31 May 2009)
 - Total 148,885
 Density 5,035/km2 (13,040.6/sq mi)
  Source: CBS, Statline.
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Website haarlem.nl

Haarlem (Dutch About this sound [ˈhaːrlɛm] ), in the past usually Harlem in English, is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is also the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic. Haarlem lies in the northern part of the Randstad, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Europe.

Haarlem had a total population of 148,885 in 2009. The municipality of Haarlem also comprises part of the village of Spaarndam, a newer housing estate of this village forms part of the neighbouring municipality of Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude.

The city is located on the river Spaarne, about 20 km west of Amsterdam and near the coastal dunes. It has been the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears the nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city), for this reason.


History of Haarlem

Middle Ages

View of Haarlem, by Jacob van Ruisdael

The oldest mentioning of Haarlem dates from the 10th century. The name comes from "Haarlo-heim"[citation needed] or "Harulahem"[citation needed], which means 'place, on sand covered with trees, higher than the others'[citation needed]. There was a stream called "De Beek", dug from the peat grounds west of the river Spaarne as a drainage canal. Over the centuries the Beek was turned into an underground canal, as the city grew larger and the space was needed for construction. Over time it began to silt up and in the 19th century it was filled in. The location of the village was a good one: by the river Spaarne, and by a major road going south to north. By the 12th century it was a fortified town, and Haarlem became the residence of the Counts of Holland.

In 1219 the knights of Haarlem were laurelled by Count Willem I, because they had conquered the Egyptian port of Damietta (or Damiate in Dutch, present-day Dimyat) in the 5th crusade. Haarlem received the right to bear the Count's sword and cross in its coat of arms. On 23 November 1245 Count Willem II granted Haarlem city rights. This implied a number of privileges, among which the right for the sheriff and magistrates to administer justice, instead of the Count. This allowed for a quicker and more efficient judiciary system, more suited to the needs of the growing city.

After a siege from the surrounding area of Kennemerland in 1270 a defensive wall was built around the city. Most likely this was an earthen wall, with wooden gates. Originally the city started out between Spaarne, Oudegracht, Ridderstraat, Bakenessergracht and Naussaustraat. In the 14th century the city expanded, and the Burgwalbuurt, Bakenes and the area around the Oudegracht became part of the city. The old defenses proved not to be sufficiently strong for the expanded city, and at the end of the 14th century a 16½-metre high wall was built, complete with a 15-metre wide canal circling the city.

In 1304 the Flemish threatened the city, but they were defeated by Witte van Haemstede at Manpad.

City Hall of Haarlem on the Grote Markt. It was built in the 14th century replacing the Count's castle, after it partially burnt down. The remainders were given to the city.

All the city's buildings were made of wood, and fire was a great risk. In 1328 nearly the whole city burnt down. The Sint-Bavokerk was severely damaged, and rebuilding it would take more than 150 years. Again on 12 June 1347 there was a fire in the city. A third large fire, in 1351, destroyed many buildings including the Count's castle and the city hall. The Count did not need a castle in Haarlem because his castle in Den Haag had taken over all functions. The Count donated the ground to the city and later a new city hall was built there. The shape of the old city was square—this was inspired by the shape of ancient Jerusalem. After every fire the city was rebuilt quickly, an indication of the wealth of the city in those years.

The Black Death came to the city in 1381. According to an estimate by a priest from Leiden the disease killed 5,000 people, about half the population at that time.

In the 14th century Haarlem was a major city. It was the second largest city in historical Holland after Dordrecht and before Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam, Gouda and Rotterdam. In 1429 the city gained the right to collect tolls, including ships passing the city on the Spaarne river. At the end of the Middle Ages Haarlem was a flourishing city with a large textile industry, shipyards and beer breweries.

Around 1428 the city was put under siege by the army of Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut. Haarlem had taken side with the Cods in the Hook and Cod wars, and thus against Jacoba of Bavaria. The entire Haarlemmerhout wood was burnt down by the enemy.

Spanish siege

Sketch of the siege of Haarlem seen from the North, with Het Dolhuys on the right, and the river Spaarne on the left.
Map of Haarlem around 1550. The city is completely surrounded by a city wall and defensive moat. In the North (top), at a fork in the road, the complex known as Het Dolhuys can be seen. In the south-west corner on the lower left, the city bleaching grounds can be seen. Notice the near-square shape of the city: this was based on the ancient plan of Jerusalem.

When the city of Brielle was conquered by the Geuzen revolutionary army, the municipality of Haarlem started supporting the Geuzen. King Philip II of Spain was not pleased, and sent an army north under the command of Don Fadrique (Don Frederick in Dutch), son of Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba. On 17 November 1572 all citizens of the city of Zutphen were killed by the Spanish army, and on 1 December the city of Naarden suffered the same fate.

On 11 December 1572 the Spanish army put Haarlem under siege. The city's defenses were commanded by city-governor Wigbolt Ripperda. Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer, a very powerful woman, helped defend the city.

During the first two months of the siege, the situation was in balance. The Spanish army was digging tunnels to reach the city walls and blow them up. The defenders dug tunnels to blow up the Spanish tunnels. The situation became worse for Haarlem on 29 March 1573. The Amsterdam army, faithful to the Spanish king, controlled Haarlemmermeer lake, effectively blocking Haarlem from the outside world. Hunger in the city grew, and the situation became so tense that on 27 May many (Spanish-loyal) prisoners were taken from the prison and murdered.

Two city gates, the Kruispoort and the Janspoort collapsed during the fighting.

In the beginning of July the Prince of Orange assembled an army of 5,000 soldiers near Leiden to free Haarlem. The Spanish trapped them at the Manpad and defeated the army. After seven months the city surrendered on 13 July 1573. Many soldiers of the army that defended the city were slaughtered; many of them were drowned in the Spaarne river. Governor Ripperda and his lieutenant were beheaded. The citizens were allowed to buy freedom for themselves and the city for 240,000 guilders and the city was required to host a Spanish garrison. Don Fadrique thanked God for his victory in the Sint-Bavo Church.

Great fire

The city suffered a big fire in the night from 22 October to 23 October 1576. The fire started in brewery het Ankertje, near the weighhouse at the Spaarne, which was used by German mercenaries as a guarding place. When they were warming themselves at a fire it got out of control. The fire was spotted by farmers, who sailed their ships on the river. However, the soldiers turned down all help, saying that they would put out the fire themselves. This failed, and the fire destroyed almost 500 buildings, among them St-Gangolf's church and St-Elisabeth's hospital. Most of the mercenaries were later arrested, and one of them was hanged on the Grote Markt in front of a large audience. Maps from that era clearly show the damage done by the fire: a wide strip through the city was destroyed.

The combined result of the siege and the fire was that about a third of the city was destroyed.

Golden age

The Amsterdamse Poort, former gateway to the city from Amsterdam, is one of the few visible traces left of the old city wall.

The fire and the long siege had taken their toll on the city. The Spanish left in 1577 and under the Agreement of Veere, Protestants and Catholics were given equal rights, though in government the Protestants clearly had the upper hand and Catholic possessions once seized were never returned. To restore the economy and attract workers for the brewing and bleaching businesses (Haarlem was known for these, thanks to the clean water from the dunes), the Haarlem council decided to promote the pursuit of arts and history, showing tolerance for diversity among religious beliefs. This attracted a large influx of Flemish and French immigrants (Catholics and Hugenots alike) who were fleeing the Spanish occupation of their own cities. Expansion plans soon replaced plans of rebuilding the destroyed city walls. Just like the rest of the country, the Golden Age in the United Provinces had started.

Linen and silk

The new citizens had a lot of expertise in linen and silk manufacture and trading, and the city's population grew from 18,000 in 1573 to around 40,000 in 1622. At one point, in 1621, over 50% of the population was Flemish-born. Haarlem's linen became world famous and the city flourished. Today an impression of some of those original textile tradesmen can be had from the Book of Trades document created by Jan Luyken and his son.


Map of Haarlem in 1646, before Salomon de Bray's ambitious northwards expansion plan was executed. The Houtmarkt has been built in the north east, and the Haarlemmerport is visible, as well as the Old Men's Almshouse, which nowadays houses the Frans Hals Museum.

In 1632 a tow canal between Haarlem and Amsterdam, the Haarlemmertrekvaart was opened, the first tow canal in the country. The empty areas in the city that were a result of the fire of 1576 were filled with new houses and buildings. Even outside the city wall buildings were constructed—in 1643 about 400 houses were counted outside the wall. Having buildings outside the city walls was not a desirable situation to the city administration. Not only because these buildings would be vulnerable in case of an attack on the city, but there was also less control over taxes and city regulations outside the walls. Therefore a major project was initiated in 1671: expanding the city northwards. Two new canals were dug, and a new defensive wall was constructed (the current Staten en Prinsenbolwerk). Two old city gates, the Janspoort and Kruispoort, were demolished. The idea that a city had to be square-shaped was abandoned.

Cultural life

The legend of the Haarlem shield, painting by Pieter Franz. de Grebber in Haarlem city hall.

After the fall of Antwerp, many artists and craftsmen migrated to Haarlem and received commissions from the Haarlem council to decorate the city hall. The paintings commissioned were meant to show Haarlem's glorious history as well as Haarlem's glorious products. Haarlem's cultural life prospered, with famous painters like Frans Hals and Jacob van Ruisdael, the architect Lieven de Key and Jan Steen who made many paintings in Haarlem. The Haarlem councilmen became quite creative in their propaganda promoting their city. On the Grote Markt, the central market square, there's a statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster who is allegedly the inventor of the printing press. This is actually the second and larger statue to him on the square, the original stands behind the city hall in the little garden known as the Hortus(Where today the Stedelijk Gymnasium is standing

). Most scholars agree that the scarce evidence seems to point to Johann Gutenberg as the first European inventor of the printing press, but Haarlem children were taught about Lau as he is known, well into the 20th century. This legend served the printers of Haarlem well, however, and it is probably for that reason the most famous Dutch history books from the Dutch Golden Age period were published in Haarlem; by Karel van Mander (Schilderboeck), Samuel Ampzing (Description and Ode to Haarlem), Petrus Scriverius (Batavia Illustrata), and Pieter Christiaenszoon Bor (Origin of the Dutch wars).

Beer brewing

The Grote Markt in 1696, painting by Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde

Beer brewing was a very important industry in Haarlem. Until the 16th century the water for the beer was taken from the canals in the city. These were, through the Spaarne and the IJ, connected to seawater. However, the water in the canals was getting more and more polluted, and no longer suitable for brewing beer. A place 1.5 kilometers south-west of the city was then used to take fresh water in. However, the quality of that water was not high enough either. From the 17th century a canal (Santvaert) was used to transport water from the dunes to the city. The water was transported in barrels on ships. The location where the water was taken is called the Brouwerskolkje, and the canal to there still exists, and is now called the Brewers' Canal (Brouwersvaart).

Haarlem was a major beer producer in the Netherlands. The majority of the beer it produced was consumed in Noord-Holland. During the Spanish siege there were about 50 brewing companies in the city; while 45 years later in 1620 the city numbered in the vicinity of 100 breweries.

There was another epidemic of the Black Death in 1657, which took a heavy toll in the 6 months it ravaged the city.

From the end of the 17th century the economic situation in the city turned sour, for a long time. In 1752 there were only seven beer breweries left, and in 1820 no breweries were registered in the city anymore. In the 1990s the Stichting Haarlems Biergenootschap revived some of the old recipes under the new Jopen beer brand, that is marketed as a "Haarlem bier".

Tulip centre

In the 1630s, Haarlem was (and still is) a major trading centre for tulips, and it was the epicenter during tulip mania, when outrageous prices were paid for tulip bulbs. From the time that the Leiden-Haarlem canal Leidsevaart opened in 1656, it became popular to ride from Rotterdam to Amsterdam by passenger boat rather than coach. The canals were dug for passenger service only, and were comfortable though slow. The towpath led these passengers through the bulb fields south of Haarlem. Haarlem was an important stopover for passengers from the last half of the 17th century and through the 18th century until the building of the first rail tracks along the routes of former passenger canal systems. As Haarlem slowly expanded southwards, so did the bulb fields, and even today rail travelers between Rotterdam and Amsterdam will see beautiful blooming bulb fields on the stretch between Leiden and Haarlem in the Spring.

18th century

Windmill De Adriaan

As the center of trade gravitated towards Amsterdam, Haarlem declined in the 18th century. The Golden age had created a large upper middle class of merchants and well-to-do small business owners. With the dependability of the trekschuit traffic between Amsterdam and Haarlem, many people had business addresses in Amsterdam and weekend or summer homes in Haarlem. Haarlem became more and more a bedroom community as the increasingly dense population of Amsterdam caused the canals to stink in the summer. Many well-to-do gentlemen moved their families to summer homes in the Spring and commuted between addresses. Popular places for summer homes were along the Spaarne in southern Haarlem. Pieter Teyler van der Hulst and Henry Hope built summer homes there, as well as many Amsterdam merchants and councilmen. Today, it is still possible to travel by boat along the Spaarne and has turned into a popular form of tourism in the summer months.

In the 18th century Haarlem became the seat of a suffragan diocese of the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht.

French rule

Map of Haarlem in 1827. The city walls have been torn down to use as building materials for city expansion.
The Haarlemmerhout in Haarlem is the oldest park designed for public access in the Netherlands. It is said that Napoleon's army carved their initials in these trees.

At the end of the 18th century a number of anti-Orange commissions were founded.

On 18 January 1795 the "Staatse" army was defeated near Woerden. During the night preceding the 19th, the same night that stadtholder William V of Orange fled the country, the various commissions gathered and implemented a revolution. The commissions changed the city's administrators in a bloodless revolution, and the next morning the city was 'liberated' of the tyranny of the House of Orange. The revolution was peaceful and the Orange-loyal people were not harmed. The Batavian Republic was then proclaimed.

The French army entered the liberated city two days later, on the 20 January. An army of 1,500 soldiers was provided with food and clothing by the citizens. The new national government was strongly centralized, and the role and influence of the cities was reduced.

The Batavian Republic had signed a mutual defense pact with France, and was thus automatically at war with England. The strong English presence at sea severely reduced the trading opportunities, and the Dutch economy suffered accordingly.

19th century

The textile industry, which had always been an important pillar of Haarlem's economy, was in a bad shape at the beginning of the 19th century. Strong international competition, and revolutionary new production methods based on steam engines by then in use in England, dealt a death blow to Haarlem's industry.

In 1815 the city's population was about 17,000 people, a large percentage of whom were poor. The foundation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in that year gave many hope. Many believed that under a new government the economy would mend again, and that export-oriented economic activities such as the textile industry would recover. However, this hoped turned out to be idle—the Dutch economy remained stuck. The Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij (NHM or Dutch Trade Company) was founded by King Willem I to create employment opportunities.

In Haarlem, then one of the cities in the western part of the Netherlands with the worst economical situation, cotton factories were created under the NHM-program. These cotton factories produced goods for the Dutch East Indies, and because the Dutch government levied heavy taxes on foreign cotton producers this was a good market for the NHM-factories. The programme started in the 1830s, but never managed to substantially reduce the unemployment in the city. The American Civil War in the 1860s reduced the import of raw cotton significantly, and in 1872 the protectionism measures for the East Indian market were removed.

In the beginning of the 19th century the defense walls had lost their function, and architect Zocher Jr. planned a park on the location of the former defense line. The city walls and gates were demolished.

Haarlem became the provincial capital of Noord-Holland province in the early 19th century. In the mid 19th century the city's economy slowly started to improve. New factories were opened, and a number of large companies were founded in Haarlem.

In 1814 George Stephenson designed the first locomotive. The government of the Netherlands was relatively slow to catch up, even though the King feared competition from newly established Belgium if they would construct a train track between Antwerp and other cities. Dutch parliament balked at the high level of investment needed, but a group of private investors started the Hollandsche IJzeren Spoorweg Maatschappij on 1 June 1836. It took three years to build the first track, between Haarlem and Amsterdam along the old tow canal called the Haarlemmertrekvaart. The ground there was wet and muddy. On 20 September 1839 the first train service in the Netherlands started. The train had a speed of about 40 kilometers per hour. The train service gave the economy of Haarlem a strong boost. Instead of more than 2 hours, Amsterdam was now only 30 minutes away. The old trekschuits were quickly taken out of service for passengers. Today it is still possible to travel by boat from Amsterdam to Haarlem, and pleasure boating has made Haarlem a popular place to stay.

The creating of new land in the Haarlemmermeer made that the city could no longer refresh the water in its canals using the Spaarne. The new industry made the water quality even worse, and in 1859 de Oude Gracht, a canal, was filled in to create a new street.

In 1878 a horse tram started servicing passenger from the railway station to Haarlemmerhout woodland park, and in 1899 the first Dutch electric tram ran in Haarlem. From 1879 the population of the city almost doubled in thirty years, from 36,976 to 69,410 in 1909. Not only did the population grow, but the city was expanding rapidly too. The Leidsebuurt district was incorporated into Haarlem in the 1880s. A small part of (the now defunct) municipality of Schoten was incorporated in 1884 because the council of Haarlem wanted to have the hospital (het dolhuys) inside the municipal borders. This hospital was situated at "het bolwerk" on Schoten's territory.

20th century

Gaper on the front of "Van der Pigge", a chemist's that declined to move for Vroom & Dreesmann's new department store in 1932.

In the beginning of the 20th century the city expanded north. As early as 1905 an official plan was presented by the Haarlem municipality for expansion. However, the surrounding municipalities did not agree, and it would take 25 years to come to an agreement. On 1 May 1927 the municipality of Schoten became part of Haarlem, as well as part of Spaarndam, Bloemendaal and Heemstede. The population increased at once with 31,184 citizens.

In 1908, a renewed railway station was opened. The station was elevated, so traffic in the city was no longer hampered by railway crossings. In 1911, Anthony Fokker showed his plane, de Spin to the audience in Haarlem by flying around the Sint-Bavokerk on Queen's Day.

Later the expansion of the city went southwards (Schalkwijk) and eastwards (Waarderpolder). In 1932, Vroom & Dreesmann, a Dutch retailer built a department store at Verwulft. Many buildings were demolished, except one small chemist's shop on the corner, "Van der Pigge", who refused to be bought out and which is now encapsulated by the V&D building.

The city went through rough times during the Great Depression of 1930s.

During World War II Hannie Schaft worked for a Dutch resistance group; she was captured by the Germans and executed just before the end of the war in 1945. From 17 September to 21 September 1944, parts of Haarlem-Noord (north of the Jan Gijzenvaart) were evacuated by the Germans to make place for a defensive line. The stadium of HFC Haarlem, the soccer club, was demolished. Hundreds of people had to leave their houses and were forced to stay with other citizens.

From 22 September there was gas available only two hours per day. Electricity stopped on 9 October. The German occupiers built a thick, black wall through the Haarlemmerhout (in the south of the city), as well as at the Jan Gijzenvaart in the evacuated area. The wall was called Mauer-muur and was meant to help defend the city.

In 1944 the family of Corrie ten Boom was arrested by the Nazis; they had been hiding Jews and Dutch resistance workers from the German occupier throughout the war.

After the war much of the large industry moved out of the city, such as the banknote printing firm of Joh. Enschedé.

In 1963 a large number of houses was built in Schalkwijk.


Pipe organ at Haarlem's Sint-Bavokerk. Mozart once played this organ.

Haarlem has had a Christian parish church since the 9th century. This first church was a "daughter church" of Velsen, which itself was founded in 695 by St. Willibrord. It was a wooden church at the site of the current Grote Kerk on the Grote Markt (central market square). Haarlem was granted its first known indulgence by Clement V in 1309, during the Avignon Papacy. In 1345 Haarlem received city rights as a result of population growth and the church was expanded. Later, after the fires of 1347 and 1351, Haarlem was again granted a Portiuncula indulgence in 1397 for funding to rebuild the church. This indulgence would be used again and again over the centuries to fund expansion and restoration activities.

Having been granted papal rights from Avignon was perhaps the reason that the ties to Rome were never very strong in Haarlem, since the building most commonly called the Cathedral in the center of town only held a cathedra for 19 years, from 1559 to 1578. This Grote Kerk or Sint-Bavokerk was originally a parish church devoted to Maria, but was later named after the patron saint of Haarlem, Saint Bavo, who descended from Heaven regularly to free the Haarlemmers from invaders, most recently when the Kennemers and West-Friesians attacked in 1274. This is allegedly how the Haarlem war cry "Sint Bavo voor Haarlem" originated, which was used during the siege against the Spaniards in 1572 that eventually resulted in an underground cathedra called the Sint Josephstatie, on the Goudsmitsplein.

Saint Bavo saves Haarlem from the Kennemers. Dated 1673 but showing legend from 1274.

Officially, the church in the center of town is called the Grote Kerk, since it is Dutch Reformed and they don't believe in patron saints. Nearly everyone in Haarlem refers to it as the Sint Bavo, however. This makes it quite confusing for tourists, because Haarlem also has another Cathedral of Saint Bavo, situated on the Leidsevaart. This duality began with the Reformation troubles of 1566.

The Roman Catholic parish of Haarlem became a Diocese in 1559 (Dioecesis Harlemensis) and the first bishop of Haarlem was Nicolaas van Nieuwland (born in 1510). He accepted the position on 6 November 1561. In 1569 he was advised to resign by the Duke of Alva, because of his reputation for drinking (Dronken Klaasje). He had a good reason to drown his sorrows, because he feared the Catholic Spanish invaders as much as the native Dutch reformers. The Grote Kerk was initially spared from iconoclasm, because the city's mayor ordered the closing of the church for several months in 1566. That gave the various groups in Haarlem the time to quietly remove many of the treasures from the church and stash them safely in underground chapels. All symbols and statues linked to the Roman Catholic faith were removed from the cathedral. Since many groups already had their own chapels in the Grote Kerk, this was conducted in an orderly way. However, after the siege of Haarlem was lost, the Spanish army restored Roman Catholic iconography. The guilds had to restore their old altars, at great expense. Since Haarlem was quite poor after the siege, this led to many of the chapels and other Catholic churches being abandoned and used for other purposes. The Bakenesserkerk, where 1500 soldiers were held before being killed by the Spanish after their victory, was used to store turf for fifty years.

Van Nieuwland was succeeded by Godfried van Mierlo, who would be the last bishop in communion with Rome Haarlem would know for 300 years. In 1578 after the Spanish were defeated, the church was attacked on Sacrament day (29 May), this time by soldiers of the Prince of Orange. One of the priests was killed, and many objects in the church were destroyed. This event, called the Haarlemse Noon, forced the bishop to flee the city. Fortunately, many treasures were still safe 500 yards away in the underground Catholic church. The city council confiscated the Sint Bavo Kerk and all of its daughter churches, and later converted them along the tenants of the Evangelical Reformed Church. The new (and current) name became Grote Kerk. Old Catholics and the Lutherans, though officially tolerated, went underground. Both Protestants and Catholics alike felt that when all political unrest had subsided, the Catholics could regain control of "their" church. However, the Dutch Protestants had also removed all Catholics from local government and feared that they would have to pay damages to the Catholics if they were allowed their own churches again. All over the Netherlands, new Catholic churches were subsidized, called Waterboard churches, for their similarity to Waterboard pump stations (they were designed by the same architect in Neo-classical style), and in Haarlem they built the St. Joseph kerk in the Jansstraat in 1841. It wasn't until 1853 that a new Roman Catholic bishop was installed in the St. Joseph kerk. As this church grew, a new cathedral, again called the Cathedral of Saint Bavo, was built at the Leidsevaart (canal to Leiden) in 1898. The Bishop of Haarlem has a formal residence on the Nieuwe Gracht canal.

There is also an Old Catholic bishop of Haarlem.

The Frans Hals Museum, which was the Haarlem municipal museum, has still in its collection today many pieces confiscated from the churches during the Haarlemse Noon.

Famous buildings and locations

The Street of Donkere Spaarne near Spaarne River
The Grote Markt in Haarlem with the Sint-Bavokerk. On the left the statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster can be seen, on the right is the Vleeshal.
Teylers Museum in Haarlem

The city is famous for its many hofjes: almshouses built around courtyards. These were mainly privately funded houses for elderly single women. Nowadays there are 19 hofjes in Haarlem; many open to the public on weekdays. Many hofjes are still owned by the original foundations, and are still mainly used for single elderly women.


Haarlem is served by two railway stations of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways). From Haarlem railway station there are 6 trains an hour to Amsterdam, with a journey time of 15 to 20 minutes, 6 trains an hour to Leiden and The Hague (two stations), and 2 trains an hour to Zandvoort aan Zee. On the east of Haarlem, there is Haarlem Spaarnwoude, which has 2 trains per hour to Amsterdam.

The city is also served by several bus lines of Connexxion. These buses traverse a large region around Haarlem, including Amsterdam. There is a special bus rapid transit too, called the Zuidtangent which is operated by Connexxion. This bus goes from Haarlem to Amsterdam via Schiphol Airport.

Local government

Street in Haarlem

The municipal council of Haarlem consists of 39 seats, which are divided as follows:

  • PvdA - 11 seats
  • VVD - 7 seats
  • CDA - 4 seats
  • GroenLinks - 4 seats
  • StadsPartij/Leefbaar Haarlem - 4 seats
  • D66 - 2 seats
  • Actiepartij - 1 seat
  • SP - 7 seats
  • ChristenUnie/SGP - 1 seat
  • partij spaarnestad - 1 seat
  • senior citizen's party (ouderenpartij) - 1 seat


Local beer

Beer brewing has been a very important industry for Haarlem. The heyday of beer brewing in Haarlem go back to the 1400s, when there were no fewer than 100 breweries in the city. When the town's 750th anniversary was celebrated in 1995 a group of enthusiasts re-created an original Haarlem beer and brewed it again. The beer is called Jopenbier, or Jopen for short, named after an old type of beer-barrel.

Jopen Koyt and Jopen Adriaan are based on old recipes from 1402 and 1407 respectively. Jopen Adriaan is named after the windmill that re-opened in 2002. Jopenbier also features a bock beer and a light beer ("spring beer"). Jopenbier is now generally available again, mainly in the Haarlem area. Initially the beers were brewed at brewery De Halve Maan in Hulst but now they are brewed at De Koningshoeven, the brewery of La Trappe, in Tilburg. A local chess-club is called "De Haarlemse Jopen".

Harlem, Manhattan

In 1658, Peter Stuyvesant, the Director-General of the Dutch colony of Nieuw Nederland (New Netherland), founded the settlement of Nieuw Haarlem in the northern part of Manhattan Island as an outpost of Nieuw Amsterdam (New Amsterdam) at the southern tip of the island. After the English capture of New Netherland in 1664, the new English colonial administration renamed both the colony and its principal city "New York," but left the name of Haarlem more or less unchanged. The spelling changed to Harlem in keeping with contemporary English usage, and the district grew (as part of the borough of Manhattan) into the vibrant center of African American culture in New York City and the United States generally by the 20th century.

Twin Cities

(Derby and Osnabrück are also twinned)

Cultural references

See also


  • Ach lieve tijd: 750 jaar Haarlem, de Haarlemmers en hun rijke verleden, F.W.J.Koorn (red), Vrieseborch, Zwolle 1984 (ISBN 90-6630-035-3)
  • Deugd boven geweld: een geschiedenis van Haarlem, 1245-1995, G.F. van der Ree-Scholtens (red), Uitgeverij Verloren, Hilversum 1995 (ISBN 90-6550-504-0)
  • Geschiedenis en beschrijving van Haarlem, van de vroegste tijden tot op onze dagen, F. Allan, J. J. van Brederode, Haarlem 1874
  • Statistics are taken from the SDU Staatscourant

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Haarlem [1] is a capital of the North-Holland province, situated in the west of the Netherlands on the river Spaarne.


Haarlem is the center of a flower-growing district and the export point for flower bulbs. Many people commute to nearby Amsterdam.


The first recordings of the name 'Haarlem' date from the tenth century. Located on a much used north/south connection route, the city became the seat of the Counts of Holland. In 1245 the city was granted city rights by Count William II of Holland. Due to heroic acts of knights from Haarlem during the fifth crusade and their contributions in the siege of Damiate in 1217, Haarlem was granted permission to show a cross and a sword in the city's coat of arms.

Get in

Haarlem is connected on the main train line between Amsterdam and The Hague. It takes about 15 minutes to travel from Amsterdam by train. If you have – or rent – a bike, it takes between an hour and an hour and a half to cycle (depending on the cyclist) from the centre of Amsterdam, a fairly relaxing ride on typically level terrain.

If you're taking the train from Schiphol Airport, there is no direct service so you will have to change trains in Amsterdam or Sloterdijk. Trains are easy to use and you may be lucky enough to encounter one or more of the most entertaining Hoofd Conductuers in the country. They number singers and magicians amongst their members.

A good alternative is to use the big red bus #300, called the Zuidtangent, which runs every 10-15 minutes between Schiphol and Haarlem Central Station. There are a fair amount of stops along the way, but for a lot of the journey there is no traffic because the bus has its own dedicated lane. The trip is approximately 30-40 minutes. You will need to carry your luggage on the bus with you. The fare is settled with a OV chipcard or a strippenkaart, a ticket that you feed into a punch machine when you board the bus. The strippenkaart costs just a few Euros, and is available from the news shop on your left just before you exit the Schiphol terminal out into the bus pickup area. There are many bus stops clustered in this area -- the one for the Zuidtangent is across the street, and is indicated on the sign at the bus stop.

Get around

Haarlem is best walked on foot: it's about a 15 minute walk from the train station to the city center. If you don't want to walk there are buses taking you from the station to the city center and back every few minutes.

  • Teylers' Museum [2]
  • Frans Hals Museum The only good memory of the painter Toulouse-Lautrec about the Netherlands [3]
  • Corrie ten Boom museum [4] has free guided tours (in English and Dutch) of the ten Boom house. Tourists can stand in the "hiding place" where Jews were hidden from the Nazis, and see the 'all-clear' sign used to indicate when it was safe for refugees and resistance workers to come and go. Reminiscent of the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, although where in the Anne Frank House they have had to remove all furniture due to the volume of visitors, the Ten Boom museum is still furnished as a house, making it much easier for visitors to see what it was like for those that lived there during the war. Truly one of Holland's lesser-known gems.


Visit the Teylers Museum [5] which is the oldest public museum in the Netherlands. The museum hosts a collection of fossils (among which the famous Haarlem specimen of Archaeopteryx), minerals, historical scientific instruments and works of art, exhibited in a 19th century manner.

The Patronaat [6] is Haarlem's largest venue for live music. Their fridays and saturdays are dance nights and generally well visited.

On summer days, hang out in the sun on Haarlem's 'Grote Markt' (near the Grote Kerk) after a long day of shopping or go sightseeing in Haarlem's ancient city centre.

  • Spaarnedam. Quaint old Dutch village, nice harbour, couple of restaurants and bars. Easy cycle from central Haarlem. Famous for its statue of Peter, the boy who put his finger in the dike and saved Haarlem from flooding.  edit


Haarlem is a popular city for shopping in the region. It has been voted many times as Best Shopping City in the Netherlands and boasts a very diverse range of shops. The Grote Houtstraat, the main shopping street, has most of the obvious shops. The surrounding streets (Kleine Houtstraat and Gierstraat) house smaller shops, where you can browse or buy everything from high end bicycles to teapots.

Shops are open from Monday to Saturday. Opening times usually are from 9am to 5pm, except on Monday's when shops open at 1pm. Many shops in the city center also open every first Sunday of the month and usually shops may be open from 7pm to 9pm on thursdays as well, the so-called "avondverkoop" (Eng. "evening sale" although no special discounts will be given).


The inner city hosts large a variety of restaurants and eat-cafe's. Worth mentioning are

  • De Lachende Javaan, Frankestraat 27. Indonesian  edit
  • Restaurant het Pakhuis, Gravinnesteeg 9, [7]. All menu items cost €10 or less.  edit
  • Restaurant/Brasserie Stempels; Klokhuisplein 9
  • Restaurant La Plume; Lange Veerstraat 1
  • Eet, Lunch en Biercafe Bruxelles; Lange Wijngaardstraat 16
  • Grand Cafe Nobel; Spaarne 36
  • Brasserie/Restaurant De Nieuwe Karmeliet; Spekstraat 6
  • Restaurant Specktakel; Spekstraat 4
  • Restaurant Mooi Java; Kruisweg 32
  • Grill Restaurant De Kale Pater; Schagchelstraat 19
  • Lucas & Lucas; Lange Veerstraat 51
  • Coffee Date. Great coffee and food, nice place but terrible service.  edit


Beerbrewing has been a very important industry for Haarlem. The historical Haarlem's beer, recreated in 1995 is Jopenbier or Jopen.

  • In den Uiver, Grote Markt. Lovely old Proof Lokaal facing the side of the Bavo Kerk. Great choice of beers and friendly staff and customers. Free jazz sessions Sunday evenings and Thursday nights.  edit
  • Tierney's. just off the Grote Markt, the only traditional Irish pub in Haarlem, friendly, nice crowd,show all major sporting events including Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (if it doesn't clash with a soccer match), live Irish session every first sunday of the month.  edit
  • De Vijf Hoek, Vijf Hoek. Cosy, local bar, highly recommended for atmosphere.  edit


The Haarlem hostel (Jan Gijzenpad 3) is located in the north west corner of the city. It's by far the cheapest place to stay, but quite a few miles away from the city center.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HAARLEM, a town of Holland in the province of North Holland, on the Spaarne, having a junction station 11 m. by rail W. of Amsterdam. It is connected by electric and steam tramways with Zandvoort, Leiden, Amsterdam and Alkmaar. Pop. (1900) 65,189. Haarlem is the seat of the governor of the province of North Holland, and of a Roman Catholic and a Jansenist bishopric. In appearance it is a typical Dutch town, with numerous narrow canals and quaintly gabled houses. Of the ancient city gates the Spaarnewouder or Amsterdam gate alone remains. Gardens and promenades have taken the place of the old ramparts, and on the south the city is bounded by the Frederiks and the Flora parks, between which runs the fine avenue called the Dreef, leading to the Haarlemmer Hout or wood. In the Frederiks Park is a pump-room supplied with a powerful chalybeate water from a spring, the Wilhelminabron, in the Haarlemmer Polder not far distant, and in connexion with this there is an orthopaedic institution adjoining. In the great market place in the centre of the city are gathered together the larger number of the most interesting buildings, including the quaint old Fleshers' Hall, built by Lieven de Key in 1603, and now containing the archives; the town hall; the old Stadsdoelen, where the burgesses met in arms; the Groote Kerk, or Great Church; and the statue erected in 1856 to Laurenz Janszoon Koster, the printer. The Great Church, dedicated to St Bavo, with a lofty tower (255 ft.), is one of the most famous in Holland, and dates from the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th centuries. Its great length (460 ft.) and the height and steepness of its vaulted cedar-wood roof (1538) are very impressive. The choir-stalls and screen (1510) are finely carved, and of further interest are the ancient pulpit sounding-board (1432), some old stained glass, and the small models of ships, copies dating from 1638 of yet earlier models originally presented by the Dutch-Swedish Trading Company. The church organ was long considered the largest and finest in existence. It was constructed by Christian Muller in 1738, and has 4 keyboards, 64 registers and 5000 pipes, the largest of which is 15 in. in diameter and 32 ft. long. Among the monuments in the church are those of the poet Willem Bilderdyk (d. 1831) and the engineer Frederik Willem Conrad (d. 1808), who designed the sea-sluices at Katwyk. In the belfry are the damiaatjes, small bells presented to the town, according to tradition, by William I., count of Holland (d. 1222), the crusader. The town hall was originally a palace of the counts of Holland, begun in the 12th century, and some old 13th-century beams still remain; but the building was remodelled in the beginning of the 17th century. It contains a collection of antiquities (including some beautiful goblets) and a picture gallery which, though small, is celebrated for its fine collection of paintings by Frans Hals. The town library contains several incunabula and an interesting collection of early Dutch literature. At, the head of the scientific institutions of Haarlem may be placed the Dutch Society of Sciences (Hollandsche Maatschappij van Wetenschappen), founded in 1752, which possesses valuable collections in botany, natural history and geology. Teyler's Stichting (i.e. foundation), enlarged in modern times, was instituted by the will of Pieter Teyler van der Hulst (d. 1778), a wealthy merchant, for the study of theology, natural science and art, and has lecture-theatres, a large library, and a museum containing a physical and a geological cabinet, as well as a collection of paintings, including many modern pictures, and a valuable collection of drawings and engravings by old masters. The Dutch Society for the Promotion of Industry (Nederlaandsche Maatschappij ter Bevordering van Nijverheid), founded in 1777, has its seat in the Pavilion Welgelegen, a villa on the south side of the Frederiks Park, built by the Amsterdam banker John Hope in 1778, and afterwards acquired by Louis Bonaparte, king of Holland. The colonial museum and the museum of industrial art were established in this villa by the society in 1871 and 1877 respectively. Besides these there are a museum of ecclesiastical antiquities, chiefly relating to the bishopric of Haarlem; the old weigh-house (1598) and the orphanage for girls (1608), originally an almshouse for old men, both built by the architect Lieven de Key of Ghent.

The staple industries of Haarlem have been greatly modified in the course of time. Cloth weaving and brewing, which once flourished exceedingly, declined in the beginning of the 16th century. A century later, silk, lace and damask weaving were introduced by French refugees, and became very important industries. But about the close of the 18th century this remarkable prosperity had also come to an end, and it was not till after the Belgian revolution of 1830-1831 that Haarlem began to develop the manufactures in which it is now chiefly engaged. Cotton manufacture, dyeing, printing, bleaching, brewing, type-founding, and the manufacture of tram and railway carriages are among the more important of its industries. One of the printing establishments has the reputation of being the oldest in the Netherlands, and publishes the oldest Dutch paper, De Opragte Haarlemmer Courant. Market-gardening, especially horticulture, is extensively practised in the vicinity, so that Haarlem is the seat of a large trade in Dutch bulbs, especially hyacinths, tulips, fritillaries, spiraeas and japonicas.

Haarlem, which was a prosperous place in the middle of the 12th century, received its first town charter from William II., count of Holland and king of the Romans, in 1245. It played a considerable part in the wars of Holland with the Frisians. In 1492 it was captured by the insurgent peasants of North Holland, was re-taken by the duke of Saxony, the imperial stadholder, and deprived of its privileges. In 1572 Haarlem joined the revolt of the Netherlands against Spain, but on the 13th of July 1573, after a seven months' siege, was forced to surrender to Alva's son Frederick, who exacted terrible vengeance. In 1577 it was again captured by William of Orange and permanently incorporated in the United Netherlands.

See Karl Hegel, Steidle and Gilden (Leipzig, 1891); Allan, Geschiedenis en beschrijving van Haarlem (Haarlem, 1871-1888).

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Simple English

Haarlem is a city in the Netherlands and the capital of the province North Holland. It has about 145,000 inhabitants.

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