Haarlem City Tour

Haarlem City Tour

Haarlem is one of the beautiful cities of the Netherlands. It has a rich history that goes back to the 13th century when Willem II, the son of Floris the fourth, gave Haarlem city rights.

The city is dominated by the St. Bavo Church, a medieval cross church (construction period: 1370-1520) in the Gothic architectural style. Around it is the Grote Markt, with numerous terraces. In addition, there is a second Bavo, the Bavo Cathedral, which is slightly outside the center.  

Laurens Janszoon Coster

On the Grote Markt is the statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster, who was considered the inventor of printing for centuries. Today, however, it is widely believed that the German Johannes Gutenberg invented printing in Europe. Nevertheless, Haarlem has a great past as a book city with important printing companies. Everyone still knows the Haarlem writers Harry Mulisch and Godfried Bomans.

The Spaarne

A beautiful river, the Spaarne, winds through the city. Recently, on the occasion of a family member's birthday, I took a boat trip through the Spaarne to Spaarndam, where we got off for a moment at the statue of Hansje Brinker. As all Americians know, he put his finger in the dike with which he saved the country from a major disaster. We returned and ended up in a cozy tapas restaurant on the Grote Markt, El Pincho, which I can recommend to everyone.

David Callan is deeply impressed by the city, especially because of the kindness of the inhabitants. See his tour in the video below.

David Callan:

The historic city of Haarlem is one of the most attractive destinations in the Netherlands. We show the main neighborhoods you want to have a look at when you're visiting Haarlem, a real Dutch treat. In the center the market square with the great church towering over, and just below there is a series of pedestrian lanes lined with shops and cafés that are very charming, and there are little side residential lanes here as well.

Fascinating city

Haarlem is only 15 minutes away from Amsterdam by train, so it makes an easy day-trip, but this small city is so fascinating you might want to spend a night or two to fully enjoy the experience. Many of these brick buildings date back 400 years to the 17th century when Haarlem was at its peak of prosperity. They were homes and workshops and warehouses of the merchants.

Kleine Houtstraat

Today there are a lot of bars and restaurants and then it becomes a shopping street. And this leads us right into perhaps the most charming street in Haarlem and maybe the cutest lane in the country. Kleine Houtstraat. You won't get lost here because it's a small district and the streets are rather straight and run at right angles to each other, but there's plenty here to keep you busy for a full day just wandering around.


Walk along some of these connecting streets like Anegang, it's almost like a wide shopping mall that joins up three of the other main shopping streets. You'll find the shoppers and workers are friendly and ready to talk. There is frequent train service every 10 minutes between Haarlem and Amsterdam.

However if you come on day trip you're probably not going to be getting to the ends of some of the shopping lanes and into the interesting little back streets or to the museums. If you spend a night or two you'll have plenty of time. 



Grote Markt 2
2011 RD Haarlem


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