Haarlem is a neighbouring municipality to Amsterdam and is the capital of North Holland, with a metropolitan population of 155,000. The history of this city dates back to pre-medieval times when early settlers sought trade on the North Sea and had to gain passage through Haarlem to reach Amsterdam.
From the 13th century onwards there has been some form of major town or city at Haarlem, and it has played an important role in the politics of the Netherlands.
During the 1500’s, the manufacture and trade of linen and silk became a prominent economical tool and saw the growth of Haarlem’s population.
Despite decline in the 18th century, the 19th century saw a resurgence for Haarlem with the advent of the cotton industry and today it stands as a prosperous city.
The myriad of amazing historical buildings such as the Grote Kerk and Cathedral of St Bavo, and Haarlem’s proximity to Amsterdam mean it is a wonderful tourist destination.
Lets explore the best things to do in Haarlem:
1. Grote Kerk
Situated in the Grote Markt Square, the Grote Kerk, or St. Bavokerk is the premier church in Haarlem and stands as one of the cities most recognised landmarks.
Constructed in the 1500’s after the destruction of the previous wooden building, the Grote kerk has stood ever since as an imposing structure in the heart of Haarlem.
With a plethora of beautiful stained glass windows, a huge ornate Organ (That has been played by Mozart and Handel), and a beautiful design featuring wooden ceiling beams, this church is a wonderful religious structure.