The Netherlands is not only about Amsterdam. In fact, getting out of the busy city of Amsterdam is a nice way to truly discover the Netherlands. There is the traditional windmill village of Zaanse Schans in the northeast (see my blog Zaanse Schans: Centuries old Netherlands), the miniature version of famous cities and attractions of Netherlands in Madurodam The Hague, and the hectares of tulips garden in Keukenhof Lisse in the south of Amsterdam. In this blog, I will focus on Haarlem Netherlands, one of the beautiful neighboring cities close to Amsterdam.
Haarlem is known as the Flemish (Belgian) city of the North. It has beautiful architectures and historical buildings. This city is very easy to reach from different major points of Amsterdam. From Schiphol Amsterdam, it only takes 15 minutes by drive (30 minutes by public transport) to reach Haarlem and 30 minutes by drive (or 45 minutes by public transport) from Amsterdam Centraal. Haarlem is also close to the beautiful coastline and beaches of the Netherlands such as Zandvoort and Bloemendaal aan Zee to the west (around 20 minutes’ drive). The proximity of this city to Amsterdam makes it a good option for a one day city trip. If you go by car to Haarlem, I must warn that it is very difficult to park in the city because of many parked cars and narrow streets. If possible, travel using public transport since it saves you the headache of parking (and the fee) plus it is more sustainable. For a day trip, you can do many free tours within the city. Below is the map of the places to visit in Haarlem (mostly for free) for one day itinerary.
Haarlem Netherlands one day itinerary
1. Windmill de Adriaan Haarlem
Windmill de Adriaan is one of the prominent landmark in Haarlem. This windmill is an 18th century windmill, which was burnt down in 1932 and was renovated in 2002. In the past, this windmill was used for producing cement, paint, and tanbark. Despite being currently operational for producing grains, the windmill is nowadays used for tourism purpose. There is a museum inside the windmill, where visitors can see its interior.
2. Corrie ten Boom Museum
Corrie ten Boom Museum was owned by the Ten Boom family, who lived in this house for three generations from 1835 to 1945 and was known for fostering children. The museum is established as a tribute to the Jewish people during the time of Nazis’ in the World War II. This museum shows the hiding place, the photographs of family, and important objects during the war. The entrance to Corrie ten Boom house is free for individuals and family, but visitors in large groups are asked for donations as contribution for the museum.
3. Grote Markt Haarlem Netherlands
The Grote Markt Haarlem is the large medieval square in the heart of the city of Haarlem. There are many old architectures, including cafes, bars, city hall, museums, that can be found in the Grote Markt. Every Saturday, there is a market where locals and tourists can buy fresh produce, fish, cheeses, and many more. The Grote Markt is also used for celebrations such as King’s Day and other city events.
4. Sint Bavokerk (Grote Kerk Haarlem)
Sint Bavokerk, also known as Grote Kerk, is another important landmark in the Grote Markt of Haarlem. This church was previously a Catholic church dedicated to St. Bavo. Later on, this church was turned into a Protestant church. This church was first mentioned in history during 1307, and around 14th century when its wooden structure was burnt down. This church was consecrated as cathedral in 1559 and thus was associated with Catholicism. However, it was confiscated by Protestants in 1578 and during this time, the people of Haarlem were converted into Protestants. Thus, Sint Bavokerk became a Reformed Protestant church.
5. Archeological museum Haarlem Netherlands
The Archeological museum Haarlem is an underground museum that is also can be found within the vicinity of the Grote Markt. The entrance to this museum is for free. You can find inside the museum some exhibits of habitation in the coastal area of Haarlem, which dates back 6000 years ago, how was it to live during the medieval times, and the developments of industry in Haarlem up to the current era. There are also some fun activities for children inside the museum, such as mock excavation, building your castles, and playing puzzles in the computers.
6. ABC Architechtuurcentrum
The ABC Architectuurcentrum is the center for architecture and city buildings of Haarlem. There are various activities held in these museums such as exhibitions, lectures, and activities to children related to local architecture. The entrance ticket to this museum is 5 euros for adults aged 18 years old and above, while free for those below 18 years old. You can buy the ticket in the website of ABC Architectuurcentrum.
7. Kathedrale Basiliek St. Bavo
The Kathedrale Basiliek St. Bavo is the main cathedral for Roman Catholicism in Haarlem. It was built to replace the Protestant-turned Sint Bavokerk in the city center. This “mighty cathedral” is designed by Joseph Cuypers and is bigger than the Dom of Cologne Germany. The entrance to the cathedral costs 3 euros.
8. Kenaupark Haarlem
Tired of your tour of the city of Haarlem and now on the way to the train station? You can drop by to the Kenaupark Haarlem to find some peace and greenery in the city. This park is just close to the train station and a nice stop for relaxation.