"Haarlem - walking along almshouses" Top 5 Page for this destination Netherlands Things to Do Tip by vtveen

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When visiting a town/city we always try to walk around; the best way for exploring a city.
So we did also in Haarlem during our day trip on a grey and windy day between Christmas and New Year.

We opted for a walk along the almshouses of Haarlem (the city is famous for these so called ‘hofjes’ and has about twenty of them). It turned out to be a very interesting walk, which brought us not only to these green oasis in the city centre, but also along parts of the main shopping streets, authentic small local shops in side streets, the Korte Houtstraat - greenest street of Haarlem, a couple of very interesting monuments (among them the Great Church or St. Bavo’s) and with a short detour to Teylers Museum, the oldest museum of the Netherlands. Everywhere along the route you will find cafes and restaurants for a stop.

We picked a brochure of this walk at the VVV-office (which is signposted everywhere in the city) nearby the department store of Vroom & Dreesmann.

All of the almshouses are quite small and different from each other, but they all offer small homes around green courtyards. We started with the ‘Bruiningshofje’ - with a real hidden entrance - which is with just four houses one of the smallest. Most of the ‘hofjes’ were founded by wealthy Haarlem citizens as accommodation for aged and elderly women in need. The ‘Brouwershofje’ - with its typical white houses - was established by the Brewers Guild (Brouwersgilde), housing impoverished women who couldn’t longer work in one of the breweries.
Another special almshouse is the ‘Luthers Hofje’, with its quaint little homes, adjoining the church. These almshouses were built by the Lutheran Church on the former grounds of a monastery.
One of the bigger ones is the ‘Hofje van Oorschot’, which can be seen from one of the main shopping streets in the city centre.

Information
Most of the ‘hofjes’ along the route are open for visitors on weekdays between 10 am and 5 pm.
There is no entrance fee, but be aware that all of the almshouses are still inhabited. Please respect the privacy of the people !!

Just the walk will take about 1,5 hours, without stops.

We got a (free) leaflet of the walk at the VVV-office. These leaflets are in Dutch and English. You also can download them from the internet: http://www.haarlemmarketing.nl/over_haarlem/folders/wandelroutes/

Address: Haarlem - province of Noord-Holland
Directions: This walk will bring you along most of the almshouses in the city centre of Haarlem.
Website: http://www.haarlemmarketing.nl/servicelinks/international_visitors/english/

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  • Updated Feb 10, 2012
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