Explore science and art at the Teylers MuseumThe Teylers Museum is an art, natural history and science museum all rolled up into one, offering the chance to delve into hundreds of years of history in just a few short steps. The museum's art collection includes drawings by Michelangelo and Raphael, and its rotating exhibits frequently feature world-class inventors and artists. When visiting, don’t miss the spectacular Oval Room, the world’s only authentic 18th-century museum interior.
Take a break at the city’s coffee and lunch spots
Haarlem has no shortage of places to take a break and enjoy something delicious to drink and eat, whether it’s a quaint café, a stylish bar or one of the city’s cosy restaurants. For an especially relaxing experience, soak in the literary ambience of Coffee-Star, located in an actual library. From fresh apple pies to its charming terrace, it’s the perfect place to get lost in a book for an hour or two.
Step back to the 17th century at the Frans Hals Museum
Frans Hals is one of the most beloved Dutch painters, renowned for his lively painting style and incredibly lifelike portraits. Originally opened in 1862, the Frans Hals Museum is now based at two locations in the city, both within a short, scenic walk from each other. Beyond Hals’ work - considered some of the best produced during the era - the museum also features contemporary artists and numerous paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, many restored by the museum itself.
Photograph a Dutch icon at the Molen de Adriaan
If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with a windmill, then head to Molen de Adriaan, which overlooks the Spaarne River. There’s a museum inside which uses models and visual installations to explore the history of Molen Adriaan and other Dutch windmills, and, for the full experience, you can take a guided tour. The stunning views of Haarlem from the windmill’s deck are guaranteed to leave you breathless.
Question everything you know at Het Dolhuys
A former mental health institute and sick house now transformed into a fascinating museum, Museum van de Geest | Het Dolhuys aims to explore the people who lived on the fringes of society, whether they wanted to or not. Delving into the minds and motivations of artists, writers and scientists who dealt with disabilities or mental illness, such as Edvard Munch - painter of ‘The Scream’ - and Vincent van Gogh.
Shop for Dutch Design
Dutch design mixes functionality with playfulness. Haarlem has a plethora of stores to indulge your aesthetic side, including Atelier 8, which offers a raft of its own wonderful creations. Leather plays a primary role in their designs, while wood and upholstery are also mainstays. The store also sells an assortment of books, jewellery and furnishings. Homestock, another local favourite, is where you’ll find a treasure trove of colourful furniture and decorative pieces.
Take in a show at Toneelschuur
End your day in Haarlem by catching a show at one of the city’s numerous cultural venues. No matter your proficiency in the Dutch language, Toneelschuur usually has something for everybody, including language-no-problem shows that focus on either dance, comedy, music or film. If you have time, head to the Corrie Ten Boom house. During World War II, the Ten Boom family provided a hiding place for Jewish people and members of the resistance in their home. The family was betrayed, imprisoned and deported to concentration camps – only Corrie survived. The house is now a museum, the majority of which recreates how it would have looked in the 1940s.
Dine out and sample local beers
Haarlem has a wealth of great restaurants, so spend your evening in the city enjoying some delicious food. No trip to Haarlem is complete without a visit to former church-turned brewery Jopenkerk, which brews and serves the best ‘real Haarlem’ beers on site. Don’t worry about the time: trains back to Amsterdam run till 01:00 (platform 1 or 3). And if you decide to stay, the city offers plenty of affordable hotels and hostels.