Location, lifestyle and housing

Haarlem is located less than 20 minutes by train to the city centre of Amsterdam or Schiphol Airport. As a historic city with a lively cultural scene and lots of art, music and theatre, Haarlem is an attractive home for internationally-minded businesses and highly skilled migrants. Due to the relatively short commute, it is an immensely popular residential area for highly skilled migrants working in Amsterdam or nearby business centres; expats can choose between a broad range of housing opportunities, from grand historic houses and villas to modern apartments and even houseboats. Leisure activities such as North Sea beaches, national parks and lakes are right on the doorstep.

Haarlem for families

Haarlem is great for kids. There are excellent international schools for both primary and secondary education in the Haarlem area, and the city is a delightful place for children to grow up in, offering beautiful nature as well as plenty of cultural events for kids, such as exhibitions, films and theatre productions. Museums and nature education centres organise exciting workshops and excursions for kids all year round.

City of culture and arts

Haarlem is famous for the high quality of its museums, galleries, antique shops, art in public spaces, cultural events and art platforms. There is a wealth of cultural offerings here; the city is home to several outstanding classic and modern theatre and dance companies and orchestras. The Teylers Museum, one of the oldest museums in the country, invites visitors to delve into the wonderful worlds of art and science. Other famous museums are the Frans Hals museum, which owns the world’s largest collection of paintings by Golden Age master Frans Hals, the Historical Museum and the Dolhuys, the national museum for psychiatry. Most of the museums are also suitable venues for both corporate and private events, meetings, symposia, receptions or dinner parties.

Recreation and surrounding areas

Haarlem has several green spaces and public parks. One of them, the Haarlemmerhout, is the oldest urban forest of the Netherlands. Several lakes and canals are popular spots for boating, sailing and canal cruises and, for those wanting to get further out of town, there are the beaches of the North Sea. Haarlem also borders on the National Park Zuid Kennemerland, a popular walking, cycling and horse riding spot, where locals and tourists alike come for peace, quiet and relaxation. Between Haarlem and Amsterdam lies the recreation area Spaarnwoude, a vast nature reserve for hiking, cycling or roller skating. Dunes, wide beaches and peat polders are also great for days out in nature. The natural landscape forms a stunning contrast to grand country estates such as Duin en Kruidberg – a place of exceptional beauty. All of this is easy to reach by public transport and beautiful to experience by biking or walking.

Number one for shopping

Haarlem is officially the best shopping city in the Netherlands, having received the accolade several years in a row. Everything needed for a great day’s shopping is in place. The mediaeval St Bavokerk on the central market square (Grote Markt), a former Catholic cathedral that’s now a Protestant church, is surrounded by a cornucopia of pedestrianised shopping streets. The historic centre offers a large and diverse range of exclusive boutiques, trendy fashion retailers, numerous independent and specialist shops and charming antiques and curiosity dealers. On Sundays, many traders, craftspeople, bakeries and florists open their shops and market stalls.

Business opportunities

The city borders on the modern industrial area De Waarderpolder, which is situated between Amsterdam and Haarlem and which is a popular location for multinationals, industrial companies and creative, innovative and technology-based businesses. Companies in the life sciences sector are flourishing here, and so are online marketing agencies, digital design companies, communication agencies and IT solutions/software companies. The smaller creative, advertising and gaming companies are mostly drawn to Haarlem’s picturesque city centre.

Further information

For more information, please see Visit Haarlem.