Haarlem Netherlands

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Description: Open source travel guide to Haarlem, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.

Haarlem is the centre of a flower-growing district and a major export point for flower bulbs. However, with some 750.000 people visiting the city each year, tourism makes up an increasingly important part of the town's economy. With about 150.000 inhabitants, Haarlem is 13th on the list of largest cities in the Netherlands but when it comes to tourism, it's the 4th most visited city. As for most popular places, this may mean the incidental line and some crowds around main attractions in high season. However, the town is fairly quiet in off season and its growing popularity does come with ample opportunities to eat and sleep.

The first record of the name 'Haarlem' dates from the 10th century. Located on a busy north/south connection route, the city became the seat of the Counts of Holland. In 1245 the city was granted city rights by Count William II of Holland. Due to the heroic acts of knights from Haarlem during the fifth crusade and their contributions to the siege of Damiate in 1217, Haarlem was granted permission to show a cross and a sword in the city's coat of arms. Originally known for its flower growing district, Haarlem in the beginning was also known for its textiles, shipyards, engineering plants and textile mills. In 1573, the Spanish ended its charter. Then, in the 16th and 17th centuries, Haarlem became known as a mecca for dutch painting. Frans Hals, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Adriaen van Ostade were all located here. Also in the 17th century it became a refuge for Huguenots.

In the beginning, all of the city's buildings were wooden and the risk of fire was always present. Unfortunately for Haarlem, in 1328 most of the city was burnt down. When rebuilding began, yet again in 1347, another fire spread through Haarlem. This time though, it engulfed the Counts' castle and city hall. However, the Count decided that he no longer needed a base in Haarlem and decided to move to Den Haag (Hague). With that, he donated the land to Haarlem and later a new city hall would be built in its place. It would take over 150 years for the city to be rebuilt.

  • Tourist information office. Grote Markt 2 (just on the main square in front of the big church). ☎ +31 (0)900-6161600 (€ 0,50 per minute) (info@vvvhaarlem.nl ), [2]. Apr-Oct: Mo 13 -17.30h, Tu-Fri: 9.30-17.30h, Sa 10-17. In winter months limited hours, check website.  edit

Haarlem is well-connected by train, with intercity and sprinter trains running between Amsterdam and Haarlem Central Station roughly every 10 minutes. From Amsterdam, it's a 15 or 18 (depending on the train type) minute journey (€4.00) with trains usually leaving from platform 1 or 2. Pay a bit of attention: Haarlem is one of the stops on the main train line between Amsterdam and Dordrecht/ The Hague, so it will likely not be the final destination for the train. However, as not all trains to those cities will stop in Haarlem, check the signs or ask a conductor to make sure you're getting into the right one. But basically every train to Zandvoort or any other train from platform 1 will take you to Haarlem. Coming from Schiphol directly, you'll have to change once, at Amsterdam Sloterdijk (or at Amsterdam Central Station, but that will take you an extra 10 minutes or so). Trains are easy to use and you may be lucky enough to encounter one or more of the most entertaining ticket collectors in the country. They number singers and magicians amongst their members.

A good alternative is to use the big red and grey "R-net"-bus, line 300. It runs every 6-10 minutes between Schiphol and Haarlem Central Station, or you can get out at Verwulft/Centrum. There are a fair amount of stops along the way, but for a lot of the journey there is no traffic because the bus has its own dedicated lane. The trip is approximately 45 minutes. You will need to carry your luggage on the bus with you. As on all public transport in the Netherlands, you pay with a OV chipcard (cash is also accepted) and a single trip costs € 3,64. There are many bus stops clustered in this area -- the one for the R-net 300 is across the street, and is indicated on the sign at the bus stop.

If you have – or rent – a bike, it takes between an hour and an hour and a half to cycle (depending on the cyclist) from the centre of Amsterdam, a fairly relaxing ride on typically level terrain.

Haarlem is best seen on foot: it's a 5 to 10 minute walk from the train station to the city centre. If you don't want to walk, bus lines 2, 3, 73 and 300 will take you from the central train and busstation to busstop "Centrum/Verwulft" in about 5 minutes. It will cost you 2 euro.

Although Haarlem's waterways aren't quite as numerous as those of Amsterdam, there are enough of them to make a tour of the city by boat a nice experience. Boats are operated by Post Verkade cruises[3] (€9.50, Dutch only) and Haarlem Canal Cruises[4] (smaller groups, open boat, €12.50) and leave from opposite Teylers Museum. It's best to call ahead.

Photogallery Haarlem Netherlands:

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Beautiful Pictures of Haarlem by Trey Ratcliff | Travel Photography

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