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© GiancarloLiguori
© GiancarloLiguori

Haarlem

City with charm

The picturesque medieval city of Haarlem is located just a few kilometres from Amsterdam, the Dutch capital. Its pedestrianized centre, fascinating museums, stylish boutiques, proximity to the beach and many café terraces make Haarlem one of the most charming places in the country.

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Giancarlo Liguori / Shutterstock.com
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Best shopping city

Haarlem has been named ‘Best Shopping City in the Netherlands’ many times due to its countless exclusive and trendy shops, and a car-free, historic city centre that makes shopping an even more pleasurable experience.

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Be sure to visit the Wereld van Jansje with its wide range of sustainable gifts, winner of the ‘Best Shop in Haarlem’ world for the past two years. For a post-shopping drink or bite, we recommend the splendid Jopen Church, a former place of worship that now includes a grand café, restaurant and beer brewery.

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Square of surprises

The Grote Markt at the centre of Haarlem is surrounded by many famous and historic buildings, including the Saint BavoSaint Bavo CathedralCathedral and the VleVleeshalshal, formerly the workplace of the local butchers and now exhibiting modern and contemporary art. 

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Hasd Haarlem 5 Plein

In addition to cultural places of interests, the Grote Markt is home to many cafés and restaurants. For a unique experience and a wide variety of global flavours, go to restaurant Specktakel where they serve dishes from every corner of the world, including Sicilian swordfish, Australian kangaroo steak and Thai crocodile. 

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    © www.hollandfoto.net
    © www.hollandfoto.net

Immortalised on canvas

All wealthy people wanted to have their portrait painted in the 17th century. The highly talented portrait painter Frans Hals from Haarlem was one of the most popular choices. The Frans Hals Museum opened its doors in 1862. In addition to paintings by Frans Hals himself, the monumental location features visual arts and crafts from the past five centuries.

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Down by the beach

A stone’s throw from Haarlem are two of the most attractive beaches in the Netherlands. Rent a bicycle, and enjoy the fresh air on the beaches of Bloemendaal aan Zee or Zandvoort. In the summertime, Bloemendaal aan Zee morphs into a small town when restaurants reopen their doors for the season and DJs spin tunes into the early morning light. In the winter, the clubs of Bloemendaal are closed, and the empty beach is perfect for a romantic stroll. A popular Dutch surfing spot, Zandvoort is the ideal place to enjoy exercise, a drink or bite throughout the year.

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Wartime haven

Where Amsterdam has Anne Frank, Haarlem has Corrie ten Boom. A visit to the Corrie ten Boom House will take you back to World War II, when Corrie’s family hid over 800 Jews and resistance fighters from the Nazis in a secret compartment in Corrie’s bedroom. Corrie and her family were eventually betrayed, and she was one of the few who managed to survive the concentration camp. In remembrance of the victims of WWII, her former house and the hidden room remain open to visitors today and the fascinating guided tours are free of charge.