Top 10 Things to do in Haarlem, The Netherlands

October 13, 2017 Kaleigh Reichenbach

Though often overshadowed (especially for tourists) by its much larger and more famous neighbor Amsterdam about ten miles east, Haarlem’s history actually goes back further. And with about 150,000 people, it’s the capital of the Noord-Holland region. The Teylers Museum, with its unique collection of art and artifacts, is the oldest museum in the Netherlands. The fantastic Frans Hals Museum has many works by the artist and other Haarlem schoolers. Grote Markt, the main town square, is a must-see.
Restaurants in Haarlem

1. The Corrie ten Boom House

19 Barteljorisstraat | North Holland, 2011 RA Haarlem, The Netherlands +31 23 531 0823
Excellent
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Satisfactory
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4.5 based on 747 reviews

The Corrie ten Boom House

Reviewed By erin s

This is definitely a really cool house and the family who lived there were amazing people. The only thing is I wish the tour focused a little more on history and a little less on the word of God. It’s fine to mention religion and acknowledge that the family was religious but our tour seemed to go on and on about almost nothing but religion. When we did get some historical facts it was very interesting and the house itself is beautiful. The tour is only about an hour and it is free (you can donate at the end if you wish) so I didn’t find it unbareable. Tours set off at certain times in different languages so just be sure to check out the door for your time so you can plan your day a little.

2. Molen De Adriaan Museum

Papentorenvest 1a, 2011 AV, Haarlem, The Netherlands +31 23 545 0259
Excellent
58%
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Satisfactory
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4.5 based on 358 reviews

Molen De Adriaan Museum

Reviewed By springlering - Marietta, Georgia

Skip the throngs of unruly busloads at tacky Zaanse Schans and visit this treasure, in beautiful historic Haarlem. with lots of other interesting museums to boot.
Although this windmill is a historically accurate reproduction and is less than tenth years old, I got a much better feel for windmills than I have at any of the several I’ve visited over the past few years, including ones in Belgium, northern Germany, and Scotland. All the pieces were there, so to speak. Our guide, a retired teacher, was very knowledgeable and thoroughly answered all the questions visitors threw at him about windmills, polders, dikes, and local history. And he was very gracious and patient about our questions, seemed to relish them, in fact.
There were working scale models of many different types of windmills, which enabled him to show us and explain points of interest.
Also a pleasant mo ie, which is an extended interview with an elderly woman whose family lived in a Haarlem windmill.
Well, well, well worth the 3.50€ admission.
Please know, at busy times, they can only take limited visitors, due to the steep ladders and confined spaces. We went in December and it wasn’t a problem, it might be at other times. I’d call or go get a ticket and do something else nearby til Tour time. The unique Teylers Museum is close,and probably a real kid pleaser if you’ve got a dinosaur fancier on your hands.

3. Frans Hals Museum

Groot Heiligland 62, 2011 ES Haarlem, The Netherlands +31 23 511 5775
Excellent
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4.5 based on 899 reviews

Frans Hals Museum

This small museum focuses on the works of Frans Hals, 17th-century portrait painter.

Reviewed By springlering - Marietta, Georgia

Loved the Hahahaha Exhibition : Humor In Art, which runs in to January 2018. Focusing on rude or double entendre art, it was a refreshing change to the usual art imagery invoking the typical patron’s endless devoutness, virginity, wealth, or studiousness.
Some of it really was laugh out loud funny. Some things just never change,do they?
And once you learned what to look for, it was a lot of fun trying to find the jokes in the other paintings.
The namesake Frans Hals paintings of civic guards were phenomenally good, of course, but kind of blurred together,tbh. You see one Van Dyke beard,I’m afraid you’ve seen them all,although I always enjoy studying portraits for a clue to what the artist thought of the subject. I did find myself wondering how a woman of the era could have told them apart, though I guess people will think the same about us five hundred years from now. Fashion trends do that.
The Global Plate was OK,but a bit boring. My husband didn’t care for it at all. For some reason, tying food to politics,global conquest and slavery really cheesed (ha!) my husband off. He doesn’t usually have hostile reactions to art exhibits, but he rushed me through this one, and I wasn’t complaining.
Strangely enough,the contemporary art extension of this exhibit at the Hallen gallery by St Bavo’s was more interesting than the Dutch still life half at the Hals.

4. Sint-Bavokerk (Church of St. Bavo)

Grote Markt 22, 2011 RD Haarlem, The Netherlands +31 23 553 2040
Excellent
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4.5 based on 749 reviews

Sint-Bavokerk (Church of St. Bavo)

Reviewed By springlering - Marietta, Georgia

This beautiful church sits in the middle of the great market of Haarlem, and has a lovely steeple that looks for all the world like a chocolate pot.
Get the brochure from the friendly ticket person which tells you what to look for, including a horribly fascinating description of starvation during the sieve of Haarlem, which you will find on the back of the chancel screen. I enjoyed this well done brochure. It was like I Spy, for adults.
We were lucky enough to stumble in on an organ rehearsal on the world class antique Muller organ, which dominates one end of the church and is a fascinating work of art itself, which you could look at for an hour and still see new things. I did.

The church has a lovely choir, and the building acoustics are wonderful. Accompanied by the Muller, the choir is not to be missed if you have the opportunity to hear a concert.
A very homey church on a Cathedral scale.

5. Grote Markt

Grote Markt, Haarlem, The Netherlands
Excellent
49%
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4.5 based on 892 reviews

Grote Markt

Reviewed By Grant C - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

We have been staying for five weeks in Haarlem just some 100 metres from the Grote Markt, which means we end up travelling through it each day. I just love the place, the ambience and feel you get is great. Christmas has been fantastic as we have had a giant tree, Carols and more. Looking forward to New Years Eve!

6. Cathedral of Saint Bavo

Leidsevaart 146, 2014 HE Haarlem, The Netherlands +31 23 532 3077
Excellent
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4.5 based on 225 reviews

Cathedral of Saint Bavo

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Bavo (New Bavo) was designed by J.Th. Cuypers and built in the period from 1895 to 1930. The Cathedral Basilica is based on the classic form of a three-aisled basilica with chapels along the aisles and chapels along the choir. Because construction took a lot of time and a period of lack of funds in the diocese building temporarily brought, Cuypers was given the opportunity to present his designs several adjustments during construction and perform. The building therefore has an eclectic style, mainly neo-Romanesque and neo-Gothic elements alongside Moorish and Assyrian ornament shapes and influences of Art Nouveau and the architect H. P. Berlage. Recently artworks of Jan Dibbets, Gijs Frieling and Marc Mulders were added to the interior. Without doubt a very special building. Activities at this monument: KathedraalMuseum, Willibrord Organ plus periodically vault tours and climbing the towers.

Reviewed By stardust2newyorkcity - New York City

This Cathedral is right in the center of Haarlem. . .Frans Hals did paintings of this thing in the 17th century--you can stand in the square and see where he stood while working. The interior is magnificent...lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Really nice way to spend an afternoon while wandering around in this cozy town. Enjoy!

7. Teylers Museum

Spaarne 16 | Haarlem, 2011 CH Haarlem, The Netherlands +31 23 516 0960
Excellent
52%
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4.5 based on 756 reviews

Teylers Museum

Anyone who opens the museum's heavy door on the bank of the River Spaarne sees at a glance what it is that inspires such enthusiasm. The museum breathes the atmosphere of the 18th and 19th centuries - the Age of the Enlightenment - when people were busily gathering knowledge about the world. Teylers Museum, museum of wonder, is a world in itself, one that you will never forget. Teylers Museum is the best-preserved 18th-century public knowledge institution for the arts and sciences in the world. It has been open to the public since 1784, welcoming all those who are eager to look at paintings and drawings by the Old Masters, magnificent minerals, ingenious scientific instruments, precious books, and centuries-old fossils. The museum's interior alone, with the monumental Oval Room as pièce de resistance, is a truly remarkable attraction. It is the only authentic 18th-century museum interior in the world.

Reviewed By Tania M - Toronto, Canada

Really, there's something for everyone here, fossils and rocks, dutch old masters style art, cultural artifacts, scientific equiment of considerable vintage, some great special exhibits and a lovely cafe.
When I stayed longer in Haarlem years ago, I was here almost every other week. It's a must see.

8. Het Dolhuys

Schotersingel 2, 2021 GE Haarlem, The Netherlands +31 23 541 0670
Excellent
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4 based on 140 reviews

Het Dolhuys

Reviewed By Trainbleu - Brussels

The Dolhuys Museum (Dutch for madhouse) is situated in a former lepers and pest house, which later became a psychiatric facility. It’s a thought-provoking place exploring the frontier between sanity and madness. Unfortunately visiting Dolhuys may be less rewarding for visitors who don’t speak Dutch because only a fraction of the information is available in English. We spent hours exploring the many varied rooms, listening to interviews and Reading explanation panels.
The large Care Ward (“Zorgzaal”) has the most original presentation. Here visitors may listen to testimonies of doctors, nurses, patients, inspectors … by applying a stethoscope to all kinds of artefacts, which have been gathered from asylums all over the Netherlands. The most vivid insight into the life of patients is provided by the 16th century isolation cells (“dolcellen” in Dutch) where difficult-to-manage patients were locked-up, and by the Cupboard Room (“kastenkamer’) allowing a glimpse into patients' private belongings. The Meeting Room (“ontmoetingskamer”) explores the relationship between creativity and madness by presenting artists and writers who suffered from mental health problems, like Vincent Van Gogh, Edvard Munch and Dutch poet Gerrit Achterberg (1905-1962). Four Explanation Rooms (‘verklaringskamers’) give an idea of the evolution of explanations provided for mental health problems. In the psychiatrists’ room one can listen to famous psychiatrists. One room is entirely devoted to Dutch outsider artist, Willem Van Genk (1927-2005), whom we had never heard of. It takes the form of a living room reminding of Van Genk’s apartment in The Hague where he made model-size trolley buses out of a trolley station and obsessively collected plastic raincoats. There are also a few of his cityscapes combining drawing, painting and collage on paper. The 18th century “Regentenkamer” where the administrators of the asylum met has been restored and can also be visited. It is covered in paintings by Jan Augustini.
Before heading to Museum café Thuys we used the on-site computers to take some psychological tests like the famous Szondi test using portraits of psychopaths to explore repressed impulses. We pondered the results over a delicious Moroccan soup and an open Sandwich with Old Amsterdam cheese.

9. Haarlemmerhout

Haarlem, The Netherlands
Excellent
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4.5 based on 31 reviews

Haarlemmerhout

Reviewed By Philip_Bolster - Germany

The Haarlemmerhout is a little forest. You can also call it the city park of Haarlem, although it has no gates and originally was part of Heemstede until 1927. It is nice for a walk. The are some interesting sites like the old palace of the first king of the Netherlands (Huize Welgelegen), a deer park and a monument on the place where the inhabitants of Haarlem think printing has been invented by Laurens Janszoon Coster. His statue can be found on the Grote Markt.

10. De Hallen Haarlem

Grote Markt 16, 2011 RD Haarlem, The Netherlands +31 23 511 5775
Excellent
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4 based on 76 reviews

De Hallen Haarlem

De Hallen Haarlem is a museum for contemporary and modern art in Haarlem, the Netherlands. It is housed in historic buildings, where it presents contemporary art Exhibitions, alongside a summer programme of classical modern art.

Reviewed By springlering - Marietta, Georgia

This historic building now acts as the contemporary art extension of the nearby Frans Hals Museum.
During our visit they were doing the contemporary art end of the Global Plate exhibition at the Hals. While a lot of contemporary art leaves us scratching our heads, we actually enjoyed this one better than much of the Hals’ Dutch still lifes in the Global Plate exhibition.
We also got a real laugh out of the Stripping the Auctioneer piece on display.
Interesting reuse of an ancient building.

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