Haarlem City Hall
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.