"Between us, I prefer Haarlem to Amsterdam." Top 5 Page for this destination Haarlem by breughel

Haarlem Travel Guide: 764 reviews and 1,800 photos

Not only did arts in Haarlem, especially painting, precede Amsterdam but Haarlem was often at the top of arts and culture in the Netherlands.
In the 16th c. there were already the "mannerists of Haarlem".

Around 1600 started in this town what would be called nowadays an "art nouveau". Painters started painting canvasses with dimensions adapted to the interiors of the bourgeois and left aside religious and mythological subjects.
Hundred thousands of paintings of landscapes, marines, still life's, genre scenes were put on the market. There were even lotteries of paintings.
Painters specialised in all sort of themes:
Still life's with fish, winter scenes, Italian type landscapes, coast landscapes, etc. etc.
All this can be found in the famous Frans Hals museum.

Haarlem has kept something in the air of that glorious time. A touch of Dutch culture has been maintained. A style of life smoother than that of Amsterdam; cyclists here appear less aggressive.

Oh yes, I forgot, they still speak Dutch in Haarlem!

I made this one day trip to Haarlem by train from Amsterdam CS. There are 4 or 5 trains per hour and the trip takes about 15 minutes.
I visited first the Tylers Museum about 1 km south-east from the station and then the Frans Hals museum 1,5 Km south from the station. I finished the visit by the Grote Markt.

It is also possible to visit Haarlem avoiding the museums and concentrating on the coffeeshops. I promised my children that I would take this approach on my next trip.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The Frans Hals museum and a style of life smoother than that of Amsterdam.
  • Cons:Nothing from my experience.
  • In a nutshell:A touch of Dutch culture has been maintained.
  • Last visit to Haarlem: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated Mar 12, 2011
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Reviews (25)

Comments (15)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    From your description and photos, Haarlem does sound a really nice city.

    • breughel's Profile Photo
      Apr 29, 2014 at 3:01 AM

      In Holland the smaller cultural cities like Haarlem, Leiden or Delft kept some authenticity difficult to find now in Amsterdam.
      Thank you for rating my tips.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 1, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    Coming back to this page after 2 ½ years to look for the updates. One of my American cousins used to live in Haarlem, so we went for a family visit but didn't see any of the museums. I think I would like the Teylers Museum (both the art and the scientific instruments). And of course the landscapes at the Frans Hals Museum. It’s interesting that the Grote Markt in 1696 and in 2007 looked very similar (except for bicycles instead of horses).

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2011 at 6:46 AM

    en parcourant votre Haarlem, j'ai vu Promenade à dos d'âne d'Israels, un chef-d'oeuvre de tendresse pour moi! Le p'tit surveillant surtout, il retient l'attention. J'ai acheté une reproduction vers '86, ne sais plus où. Merci pour ces tips! J'espère voir Haarlem un jour. :)

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    what a wonderful page, filled with great art and surprisingly beautiful buildings. learned a lot of history, never knew vermeer painted a landscape.

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Jul 10, 2010 at 3:45 AM

    What wonderful tips you wrote on the museums! I cannot believe that I have never visited Haarlem in all my visits to the Netherlands. Won't be making that mistake again. ;-)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Mar 11, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    The building architecture and styles are wonderful, as well as the museums sound like places to spend a lot of time to enjoy. YOu did a wonderful job of presenting this city

  • Jerelis's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2009 at 3:12 AM

    Very well written tips on one of my favorite cities in my home country. Was there even last weekend. Love reading your tips!

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jun 20, 2009 at 1:04 AM

    Hi B.,love Dutch art-thx for yr of course versatile and informative and artistic page - I got to Haarlem lateish 6pm to see Corrie TenBooms shop etc too late for museums etc and the whole place was pretty much empty!nice to get more info of what I missed!

  • zuriga's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2009 at 4:58 AM

    This is a very helpful page. Next time I'm in Holland, I intend to vist Haarlem as my ex-bosses wrote a book with a woman who lived there during WWII. Her house is now a museum, as she and her family saved many Jews.

  • jgemini65's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2008 at 9:32 PM

    Always wanted to visit Haarlem when I have been in the Netherlands...never quite made it! This museum seems like a great incentive!


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