Sights of Haarlem, Netherlands

By | November 10, 2022

Do you want to visit a great Dutch city without the hustle and bustle of a city like Amsterdam? Then Haarlem is a very good option. It is not for nothing that people say that Haarlem is a sweeter and smaller version of Amsterdam. The city center of Haarlem has still not lost its old historical character. The monumental center is dominated by small courtyards, squares, canals and churches. The Grote or St. Bavokerk in particular is a beautiful piece of architecture. The surrounding flower bulb fields attract thousands of visitors to this region every year. Culture buffs would do well to take one of the fascinating walks through the city. You have different routes such as the monument walk and the courtyard walk.

According to, there are several catering establishments scattered throughout the city. The Burgundians among us will certainly appreciate the city of Haarlem for this. Haarlem is also a pleasant city for shopping. The most pleasant shopping streets in Haarlem are the Grote Houtstraat, Barteljorisstraat, Warmoesstraat and Zijlstraat. For some probably well-known names from the board game Monopoly. These streets in the center of the city have a very diverse range of tradesmen. Unfortunately, as in any big city, the big chains dominate. Scattered through the center are many cozy terraces and eateries.

Top 10 Things to Do in Haarlem

#1. Teylers Museum

The number one attraction of Haarlem is the Teylers Museum. This very interesting museum is located in a building that belongs to the top 100 of Unesco monuments in the Netherlands. The Teylers Museum is entirely devoted to the art collection of the Dutch businessman/banker Pieter Teyler van der Hulst. His focus was mainly on science and art. This resulted in a legacy of enormous value, which is now displayed in this museum. For example, you can see old physical instruments and collections of drawings by Michelangelo Buonarroti and Rembrandt van Rijn. The building itself is also worth a visit. Don’t forget the Oval Hall.

#2. Large market

An important Haarlem’s symbol, along with a few important buildings, is located on the Grote Markt. The statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster is important for Haarlem. According to many, he was the inventor of Dutch printing. Others point to the German Johannes Gutenberg for this. The large market is often the setting for conviviality and special events. With buildings such as the old Vleeshal, the City Hall and the Grote or St. Bavokerk, there is still a lot of history to be found. The Grote or St. Bavokerk has a special fact. Mozart has played a piece of music on the Müller organ. The oldest statue of Haarlem can be found in the town hall. This is the image of Justitia.

#3. Frans Hals Museum

In the former Oudemannenhuis at the Groot Heiligland hofje you can visit the Frans Hals Museum. The famous painter Frans Hals was born in Antwerp and then moved to Haarlem to eventually become a member of the local militia just like his father. However, he was more interested in painting and so returned to Antwerp to study the work of Antoon van Dijck and Rubens. The rest is history. Today we can view his masterpieces in this very beautiful Haarlem museum.

#4. Cruise

The river Spaarne has been an important lifeline for Haarlem for centuries. Partly thanks to this river, the city was able to flourish economically in the Middle Ages. The addition of canals and canals has resulted in an extensive water network. Some of these waterways are still in use and are perfect for a canal cruise. During a 50-minute boat trip you will pass several sights, but above all you will have a beautiful view of the many canal houses in Haarlem.

#5. Mills

The most famous windmills in Haarlem are the Adriaan Molen and the Eenhoorn. De Adriaan was built in 1779 and was recently renovated in 2001. Around 1800 the mill was in use by a tobacco merchant who processed tobacco. A few years later it was put into use as a grain mill. Today the mill can be visited as a museum. Everything about the mill, its use, its history and other interesting facts are discussed. De Eenhoorn was built around 1776 and is located on the Spaarne. This mill was mainly used as a sawmill. The mill is in use once a month thanks to the Stichting Molen Zuid-Kennemerland. Then it is open to the public.

#6. Haarlemmerhout City Park

Haarlem has a beautiful piece of greenery within the city limits in Stadspark Haarlemmerhout. This most beautiful and largest city park in Haarlem has a rich history. Centuries ago, the park was visited by wealthy people as a resting place. The beautiful Welgelegen Pavilion, which is actually a villa, was built around 1786 by order of the banker Henry Hope. A few years later, Pavilion Welgelegen was occupied by Lodewijk Napoleon, the brother of Emperor Napoleon. It was not until about 1814 that the pavilion came into the possession of the Dutch royal family. Today it is in the hands of the Provincial Council and serves as a provincial house. The surrounding forest is open to the public and is therefore frequently used. For example, Liberation Pop and the Wood Festival are celebrated here every year. There is also a petting zoo and a tea house.

#7. The weigh house

The Haarlem city architect Lieven de Key from Ghent is not only the designer of the beautiful Vleeshal on the Grote Markt. He also designed the facade of the town hall and the beautiful building that is called the Waag. This building is located on the water on the corner of Spaarne and Damstraat. The building, which originally had the function of weighing goods, was built around 1595. Every trading center that wanted to be known as reliable had such a weigh house. It was to promote fair trade. Today it is used as a restaurant.

#8. Ruin of Brederode

Approximately in the second half of the thirteenth century this castle was founded by Willem I van Brederode. Dirk II van Brederode subsequently added another part. Unfortunately, about 1573 there was a looting and arson by Spanish soldiers and nothing more than a ruin remained. The weather conditions only further fueled this years later. However, some parts have been restored again and subsequently fell into the portfolio of the Government Buildings Agency. The Ruin of Brederode is still a sight to see.

#9. Amsterdam Gate

The Amsterdamse Poort is the last of the twelve gates that provided access to the city of Haarlem at the time. It is also called the Spaarnwouderpoort. The gate was built in the fourteenth century and is actually still in very good condition. The gate is still praised for its intelligent construction. It was in fact very well put together for the time to stop raids or trap them. The square behind is still spacious and was intended to be able to attack any intruders who had come through from all directions.

#10. The Dome Prison

The Koepelgevangenis is a characteristic building in Haarlem. Due to its size and appearance, many visitors to the city of Haarlem will wonder what lies beneath that enormous dome. Unfortunately there is not much good to be found here. It is the prison of the city. The building itself is a monument which belongs to the Government Buildings Agency. The official name is full Penitentiary Institution Haarlem. The building was built in 1901 and was inspired by a design for a panopticon structure as conceived by Jeremy Bentham in 1791. The round shape has the advantage that you have a good view of all cells from the center and can therefore easily be monitored. There is a comparable prison in Breda and Arnhem.

Haarlem, Netherlands