Amsterdam’s closest neighbour, Haarlem, is known not only for its dining and shopping options, but also for its culture. In 2018/19 we are reveling in Haarlem's heritage as Theatres Stadsschouwburg and Toneelschuur ring their 100th and 50th anniversaries respectively, with a packed line-up of performances on offer. A medley of creativity, Haarlem City of Culture has been lighting up the city with film screenings, workshops and exhibitions in fields as diverse as theatre, dance, art, music, literature and everything in between. The celebration began in September of 2018 and will extend into this year as well. Here are the Haarlem City of Culture events to check out in 2019.     

Toneelschuur’s 50th Anniversary

Toneelschuur Haarlem Hans Guldemond

To celebrate the Toneelschuur’s 50th Jubilee, the theatre is organising a special programme of anniversary events from October 2018 until May 2019. Events include activities that allow you to get to know theatre makers, to learn how to watch a play, or to get started working on a theatre script or choreography yourself. There will also be jubilee performances to come and enjoy.

De Toneelschuur // Various dates // Tickets and info

Frans Hals and the Moderns

Frans Hals Museum Haarlem

The revamped Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem has staged a blockbuster exhibition running until 24 February 2019: Frans Hals and the Moderns. It is exactly 150 years since Frans Hals was redefined – from profligate drunkard to artistic icon. With around 50 loans from museums all over the world, the exhibition reflects the huge impact that Hals had on 19th century painters like Manet, Liebermann, Singer Sargent and Van Gogh, all of whom expressed their admiration for him. For the first time, his paintings will be set against responses to his work by artists painting in the Modernist era, revealing just how progressive Frans Hals was. The atmosphere of the exhibition can be summed up by its tagline: ‘Frans Hals, c’est un moderne’.

Frans Hals Museum // 13 October 2018-24 February 2019 // Tickets and info

The Haarlem Heist

Elevate your Escape Game skills with this challenge set in the Archaeological Museum Haarlem. In the catacombs of the real museum on Grote Markt, you'll step back in time to Haarlem's vibrant past to crack a safe that holds a prized haul. Four gangs of criminals have decided to work together on this heist, because collaborating is the only way to get the safe open, but who can you really trust? What skills will you need? What's the key to the safe's code? You'll stretch your limits and have great fun in this game of strategy set against the historic backdrop of Haarlem. 

Archaeological Museum Haarlem // From 24 November 2018 // Booking and info


After a successful first edition, BEAM THIS! is returning with more than twenty media artists who will be illuminating the historic building of the Kunstacademie Haarlem Leiden art academy. The lights go out and the projectors go on, with artists beaming light images across different surfaces to vibrant effect. From video art, installations, games, video mapping and VJ sets, it promises to be a kaleidoscopic exhibition. You won't know where to look with the rich multitude of colours and images cast upon the walls, ceilings and floors. Entrance is free.

Kunstacademie Haarlem // 12 January // BEAM THIS!


The latest work by choreographer Conny Janssen, Broos demonstrates the vulnerability of youth and old age in a mesmerising and elegant performance. Fifteen dancers, both young talent and familiar faces, present a sparkling dance number that takes the audience through the journey of life through a series of physical narratives. Janssen has again collaborated with Maartje Teussink on live music specially composed and for the performance.

Toneelschuur // 6-9 March // Tickets and info

48 hours of Mahler and Schönberg

This classical festival celebrates the music of Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schönberg with three days in a row dedicated to performances of compositions by both masters. You'll see that Mahler's music can also be small-scale and intimate with a sparkling rendition of 'Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen' sung by mezzo soprano Karin Strobos and you'll hear the warm and loving detail of Schönberg's 'Verklärte Nacht' brought to life by the Dutch Chamber Orchestra.

Philharmonie Haarlem //  15-17 March  // Tickets and info