Haarlem is one of the most beautiful old cities in the Netherlands. The city lies on the river Spaarne and has a stunning historic city centre with many attractions. There are more than 1,000 heritage-listed buidings in the well-preserved historic city centre. Situated in the “Grote Markt” square, the oldest part of the city and once the tournament field of the Counts of Holland, are the medieval town hall complex, the “Hoofdwacht” (Main Guardhouse), St Bavo’s Church and the “Vleeshal” (Meat Hall). But there are many more monuments to admire across the entire city such as the “Waag” (Weighhouse), and St Bavo’s Cathedral. In addition, there are also 21 courtyards with almshouses, the oldest of which dates from 1395.
Historically a city of arts and culture, Haarlem still has many cultural attractions to offer. Haarlem cultural and music events venues, such as Stadsschouwburg Haarlem, Philharmonie, Toneelschuur and Poppodium Patronaat provide high-quality theatre, dance, film and music programmes. Patronaat and the Philharmonie are the concert halls in Haarlem. The intimate surroundings of Haarlem’s municipal theatre, Stadschouwburg Haarlem, provide a striking backdrop for a night out. And Pathé Haarlem is a lovely place to enjoy a night out at the cinema. At the Frans Hals Museum, visitors can enjoy extensive art collections from the Golden Age, including works by Haarlem painters Frans Hals, Jacob van Ruisdael and Pieter Saenredam. A visit to Teylers Museum, the first and oldest museum in the Netherlands (1784), is like stepping back into the 18th century. Teylers Museum has been nominated for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Museum Het Dolhuys offers visitors an interactive experience of the history of psychiatry.