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Museum Haarlem
Image from Teylers museum Haarlem

Art and culture in Haarlem

A city that’s inspired 1000 paintings, Haarlem boasts spectacular buildings, monuments, charming venues, and fascinating museums. With abundant options for adventurers looking to discover some authentic Dutch culture, we’ve collated the very best experiences, events and places to explore when you’re there.

Frans Hals Museum

Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem
Image from koen smilde

A must-see for anyone interested in the Dutch Masters, the Frans Hals Museum celebrates Haarlem’s most famous native. It is Haarlem’s fine art museum, home to the world’s most extensive collection of Frans Hals paintings, alongside works by famous Haarlem artists. The jewel in the crown is Hals’ group portraits of the civic guards. Thanks to his loose brush technique and their vivacious composition, these works are indeed a feast for the eye. Discover the Frans Hals Museum at two historical locations in Haarlem’s old city centre: Groot Heiligland and HAL, which are just a seven-minute walk away and present modern and contemporary art exhibitions. Across both locations, you’ll find a stimulating mixture of Haarlem’s 16th and 17th-century, modern and contemporary art.


Koepelkathedraal Haarlem
Image from Luciënne van der Stouwe

This unique dome cathedral, Koepelkathedraal, is listed in the top five most important churches in the world built between 1850 and 1950, which also includes the Sagrada Familia and the Sacré-Coeur. The mighty monument, designed by Joseph Cuypers, has 12 large and small towers and a 65-meter-tall dome. The cathedral mixes a range of architectural styles. Explore it fully by taking a guided tour or admire at all the artefacts at the church’s museum. 

De Schuur

De Schuur
Image from steef fleur

Whether you’re looking for contemporary dance, cutting-edge theatre or an arthouse flick, Haarlem’s De Schuur does it all. Housing two theatre halls and two film screens, the venue has been hosting a unique programme of performances and its own productions for the past 40 years. It also invests in local artists and writers to help develop and nurture local talent. So, if you want to discover something new or find a hidden gem, this incredible venue is the perfect place to start. 

Teylers Museum

Image from Teylers museum Haarlem

Dating back to 1784, the Teylers Museum (free entrance with your I amsterdam City Card) is the Netherlands' oldest museum, which feels like leafing through an antique encyclopedia. Enjoy its extensive collection of paintings, drawings, fossils, minerals, instruments and books. Make sure to visit the museum’s monumental Oval Room, which is more than two centuries old and an attraction in itself. The museum hosts regular exhibitions dedicated to everything from history to science.

PHIL Haarlem

Exterior of PHIL Haarlem concert hall and terrace
Image from Olaf Kramer

Located at the heart of old Haarlem, PHIL Haarlem is the city’s finest concert hall and home to the perfectly preserved late Romantic Cavaillé-Coll organ. This striking 19th-century building features numerous galleries with high ceilings, which provide outstanding acoustics. The language-no-problem programme includes dance performances, pop concerts, classical music, and plays in English or without speech. For a truly authentic experience, why not try to catch a performance by the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra or the Dutch Chamber Orchestra, both of which regularly give concerts here?

Dolhuys Museum of the Mind

this art object is part of the permanent exhibition
Image from Bastiaan van Musscher

Voted European Museum of the Year 2022, Museum van de Geest | Dolhuys (Museum of the Mind) is a former mental health institute and sick house now transformed into a fascinating museum. The exhibitions explore the minds and motivations of people who lived on the fringes of society, whether they wanted to or not. Discover works by thinkers and scientists who dealt with disabilities or mental illness, including artists like Edvard Munch, best-known for painting ‘The Scream’, and Vincent van Gogh. Audio tours in English are available.


De Stadsschouwburg theater in Haarlem
Image from Marie Charlotte Peze

One of the most beautiful theatres in the Netherlands, Haarlem’s Stadsschouwburg does it all: plays, dance and musical shows. The charming classic theatre hall – originally opened in 1918 - boasts golden walls, colourful mosaics, red-plush interiors, ornate ceilings and an eye-catching chandelier. The theatre was reopened in 2008 after a considerable renovation, and since then, Stadsschouwburg has shone brighter than ever.

Anno Haarlem

People visiting the exposition of the visitors centre Anno Haarlem about the history of city
Image from koen smilde

You'll find the museum Anno Haarlem in the cellars of the City Hall. Explore the city's remarkable history as you watch the animated film A Spin Around Haarlem, or see how the imposing Grote or St.-Bavokerk was built—the perfect way to learn about the development of one of the Netherlands' most charming cities.


Caprera open-air concert in Haarlem park
Image from Peter van Heun

Nestled in between the dunes and a forest, you will find one of the most beautiful open-air theatres in the Netherlands: the intimate Caprera. This unique place, built against a sand dune and just a stone’s throw from Haarlem, boasts space for more than 1,100 guests and an always enticing programme of pop, dance, theatre, cabaret and shows for children.

Verwey Museum

Verwey Museum Haarlem
Image from Mike Bink

Verwey Museum Haarlem explores the history of Haarlem and its surroundings, showcasing objects of historical value from the surrounding region. The permanent exhibition allows you to see Haarlem throughout the centuries, while the temporary exhibitions tell fascinating stories about the people who helped make the city what it is today.

Corrie ten Boomhuis

Corrie Ten Boomhuis
Image from Corrie Ten Boomhuis

During World War II, the Ten Boom family provided a hiding place for Jewish people and members of the resistance in their home on Haarlem’s Barteljorisstraat. The family was betrayed, imprisoned and deported to concentration camps – only Corrie survived the ordeal. Her house has now been transformed into the Corrie ten Boomhuis Museum, in which you can go back to the 1940s and experience the fear and claustrophobia of that period. While there, check out the hiding place behind a fake wall in Corrie's bedroom. It was used to conceal people in hiding from the Nazi forces.

De Filmkoepel

Filmkoepel cinema foyer in Haarlem
Image from Juliette Vogelaar

The cinema, De Filmkoepel, is housed in a national monument that was once, of all things, a prison. Constructed at the end of the 19th century, the design of this stunning building was based upon panopticon principles and features a mesmerising free-standing domed ceiling. Nowadays, De Filmkoepel - with a total of 600 seats spread across six halls - is the place to catch beautiful arthouse films, the best of Hollywood and everything in between. There are also regular film festivals and premieres with special guests.