Haarlem is home to ancient buildings, winding waterways, and cobblestoned streets. This medieval city, which is reachable via train from Amsterdam Central Station in around 15 minutes, also has a thriving cultural scene. Some people often refer it to as a scaled-down version of Amsterdam, but the small city has its fair share of cultural attractions and historical sites. Below is a selection of top 5 locations not to be missed when visiting the Dutch capital.
Enclosed Courtyard Gardens
The city has green spaces that are nestled away behind several streets tracing back to the ancient times. Enter any of the almshouses here and you can find green landscapes that resemble a mini-garden with a courtyard. Not that it is impoverished now, but the almshouses resemble the kind of poverty widows and unmarried people might have undergone during the medieval times. In fact, Haarlem has several public hofjes, which spans from ancient to the modern times, with entrances that are hidden behind alleyways or doorways.
Frans Hals Museum
The painter of the Dutch Golden Age period, Frans Hals, used to live and work in this city in the Netherlands. The painter’s legacy reflects mostly in the museum named after him. Frans Hals Museum has a gallery devoted to Golden Age artworks and portraiture by the painter himself. Although the works by Frans Hals can be seen in some of the museums in Amsterdam, this one in Haarlem boasts of his largest collection.
Molen De Adriaan Windmill
The Dutch windmills have a rich history. In Haarlem, the reconstruction of Molen de Adriaan is the windmill to be in for sweeping views of the region. The actual windmill was burnt down during the early 1930’s, but its reconstruction can be accessed through Amsterdam guided tours that comprise sublime views across the riverside rooftops in Haarlem.
Grote Kerk Church
When you visit Grote Markt, make it a point to visit the church of the same name tracing back to the fourteenth century. The interior of the gothic-looking church is nothing less than breathtaking. It also serves as the final resting of natives such as Willem Bilderdijk, as well as immigrants to have settled here for a living, including Frans Hals.
View Haarlem from the Waterways
Canal cruises on private day tours Amsterdam are exciting, but the Dutch capital city is not the only one that offers such kinds of trips. Even Haarlem has Spaarne River, which meanders through the city waterways and canals, weaving its path amidst picturesque monuments and locations. A boat cruise on the Spaarne River can be a beautiful way to explore Haarlem to the fullest.