Haarlem City Hall
Decrees and decisions have been passed in the beautiful rooms of Haarlem’s city hall for hundreds of years. The Gravenzaal is the most famous one; it is used as a reception and wedding room. If you want to admire city hall’s interior yourself, plan a tour during Open Monuments Day or get married here...
Haarlem’s city hall was originally a count’s hunting mansion. He commissioned it in 1250 and organised ‘Deer Day’ every year. The count invited the elite for some deer hunting followed by a big feast at his mansion. Over time, ‘deer day’ was changed to ‘heart day’ – the Dutch words ‘hertjes’ (deer) and ‘hartjes’ (hearts) are very much alike. This carnival-like feast is still celebrated in Haarlem, Bloemendaal and parts of Amsterdam on the third Monday in August.
The dungeons below city hall still exist. They remind us that the building was once a house of justice. The Haarlem hangmen had a reputation that reached far beyond the city walls. They were even hired out to other cities. In fact there is a saying, 'as insolent as the Haarlem hangman', that is still in use today.