Haarlem exudes history and culture. The beautiful capital of North Holland is a city of many faces. Enjoy its lovely historical centre, famous museums, great culinary options, picturesque canals, beautiful façades and the very best shopping streets in the Gouden Straatjes (Golden Streets) district. Visit Haarlem for an unforgettable day out.

Like a local
Experience Haarlem like a true local

Experience Haarlem like a true local

Couple looking down from balustrade Teylers Museum Haarlem

From world-renowned Dutch Masters to the city's long history, Haarlem is a unique destination where the past comes alive. Want to go to a museum or stroll past historical monuments? Then a visit to the Frans Hals Museum, named after the famous painter Frans Hals, is definitely in order. And don't miss Teylers Museum. Founded in 1778, it’s the oldest museum in the Netherlands. Go for a scenic wander past historical buildings like the City Hall, the Vleeshal, the Grote Kerk (also called the St. Bavokerk) Gothic cathedral on the Grote Markt market square, and the typical Dutch windmill Molen de Adriaan. Each amazing landmark is a special monument that will remind you of days long gone. But there is more, much more to see and do...

For many years, Haarlem played an important role in the Dutch flower industry thanks to the famous bulb fields surrounding the city. It’s still known for its flower markets and the annual flower parade, the Bloemencorso. During this grand event, colourful floats decorated with beautiful flowers travel from Noordwijk to Haarlem. Like the Keukenhof, it is a popular event that attracts thousands of flower lovers.

Lady in greenhouse with tulips in bucket

An abundance of culture

Square with cathedral of Saint Bavo Haarlem

Haarlem also has a vibrant cultural scene with theatres, art galleries and many different events, including music festivals such as Bevrijdingspop and Haarlem Jazz&More and art festivals such as Kunstlijn and Open Monumentendagen. With a fresh mix of historical charm and modern amenities, it’s an attractive city for residents and tourists alike. The Grote Markt is the perfect example of this. It’s a historical square with plenty of fresh, trendy new hospitality venues along with old-fashioned pubs for those looking for something more traditional. Interested in a quirky fact? The residents of Haarlem are known as Muggen, which is Dutch for mosquitos.

Whether you’re into art, history, music, theatre or shopping, Haarlem has something to offer for everyone and entices visitors to explore its rich cultural traditions and energy. This is in part due to its great location. Not only is there a convenient railway station, but it is also the ideal base for a beach holiday. Bloemendaal aan Zee, a popular holiday resort, is less than 10 kilometres away. So Haarlem is the place to go if you want to take in the fresh sea air and feel the sand between your toes for a day, but then head back to the city at the end of the day.

Beach at Bloemendaal at the Sea
Take the local culinary cycling route

Take the local culinary cycling route

Boating in Haarlem along the Waag

Haarlem is the ideal destination for a sustainable city trip. There are more and more sustainable initiatives popping up everywhere and the city offers an extensive network of cycling and walking paths that provides visitors with a healthy, safe way to explore the green landscape. For example, take the Local Culinary Cycling Route and cycle past cool spots with local, artisanal products. Or rent a bike via Green Bikes and explore the city. Here’s another good tip: rent an electric sloop at Green Joy's and sail over the Spaarne river in a whisper boat to see Haarlem from a different perspective.

Groene Mug Festival

There are several options for environmentally conscious, sustainable shopping. Stroll through the shopping streets and discover sustainable frontrunners. There are also annual sustainability markets, where circular initiatives, organisations and companies come together to inform and inspire visitors. The Groene Mug Festival is also very popular: a sustainable festival where you can enjoy live music, lectures, workshops and tastings of local and organic products. Events like these help create a sustainable community and encourage a greener lifestyle among residents and visitors.

NYHAVN Haarlem concept store
Hidden gems
Explore the Haarlem courtyards

Explore the Haarlem courtyards

Green courtyard surrounded by old almshouses in Hofje van Staats in city of Haarlem

Another outstanding feature of this city is the picturesque Haarlemse Hofjes. These are beautiful courtyards surrounded by small houses, offering a little respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Smack dab in the middle of the city! Exploring these hofjes (courtyards) is like discovering hidden treasures. Some of the best-known hofjes are Proveniershof, Hofje van Staats, Hofje van Oorschot and the oldest: Hofje van Bakenes. Each of these is a remarkable place, often with a long and interesting history. There were once 40 of these little gems, now there are over 20 historical and even some new hofjes in (and just outside) the centre of Haarlem.

Characteristically, most of the hofjes are built around a garden. They are charming places to visit but keep in mind that people live in the surrounding houses. So don't talk too loudly and preferably keep your visit relatively short. HofjesinHaarlem.nl has a good overview of all the hofjes, along with the necessary background information and photographs.

Teylers hofje Haarlem
  • Gravestenenbrug Haarlem
  • Schagchelstraat Haarlem
  • Warmoesstraat Haarlem

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