A city that’s inspired 1,000 paintings Haarlem boasts spectacular buildings, monuments and museums. In fact, there’s almost too much to see and do in this magical city. But here we’ve collated the very best cultural experiences, events and places to see and do when you’re there.
To make your visit even easier, grab an Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket, which allows you to explore all the iconic sights and regions of the Amsterdam Area for one, two or three consecutive days.
Frans Hals Museum
Situated in a picturesque listed building, the museum exhibits the largest number of portraits by Frans Hals, one of the most innovative and famous painters of the Golden Age. A walk around the breath-taking building – built in 1609 – is the perfect way to step back in time and discover his unique talent and artworks that influenced the styles of Monet to Manet. As well as Hals’ world-famous portraits of the Dutch civic guard and regents, you’ll find paintings by other renowned Haarlem artists such as Goltzius, Ruisdael and Saenredam. Don’t miss the chance to stroll around the regents’ stunning rooms, admire the museum’s dining room or relax in the delightful courtyard garden.
Frans Hals Museum, Groot Heiligland 62
This unique dome cathedral 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.
Koepelkathedraal, Leidsevaart 146
Whether you’re looking for contemporary dance, cutting-edge theatre or an arthouse flick, Haarlem’s Toneelschuur 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’re looking to discover something new or find a real hidden gem, this wonderful venue is the perfect place to start.
The Toneelschuur, Long Begijnestraat 9
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 taking in its extensive collection of paintings, drawings, fossils, minerals, instruments and books. Make sure to visit the museum’s monumental Oval Room is more than two centuries old and a tourist attraction in itself. The museum also hosts regular exhibitions dedicated to everything from history to science.
Teylers Museum, Spaarne 16
Haarlem’s main concert hall, the Philharmonie has hosted everyone from Art Garfunkel to 10cc in recent years. The stunning 19th-century venue actually comprises five different halls, each with their own individual character. That includes the ‘Great Room’, boasting a moving floor and bespoke seating design, and the ‘Little Room’ – which is entirely made of wood, giving it some of the best acoustics in Europe. For a truly authentic Dutch experience, why not try and catch a performance by the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra or the Dutch Chamber Orchestra, which both regularly give concerts here.
The Philharmonie, Long Begijnestraat 11
Dolhuys Museum of the Mind
A former mental health institute and sick house now transformed into a fascinating museum, 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, a visit will see you discover more about artists like Edvard Munch, best-known for painting ‘The Scream’, and Vincent van Gogh.
Het Dolhuys, Schotersingel 2
It’s almost impossible to miss the 16th-century Grote Kerk when you’re in Haarlem, as the building towers above the city centre. A visit to this spectacular building is an unmissable cultural experience. Step into the church’s gothic interior and you’ll see why. The church is also the resting place of several famous Haarlemmers, including Frans Hals and Willem Bilderdijk. The venue also plays host to a number of choirs, orchestras and musical performances throughout the year. Some even feature the church’s gigantic organ, which was once played by a young Mozart.
Grote Kerk, Grote Markt 22
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 huge renovation, and since then the Stadsschouwburg has shone more brightly than ever.
Stadsschouwburg, Wilsonsplein 23
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 Netherland's most charming cities.
Anno Haarlem, Grote Markt 2
Nestled in between the dunes and the forest at Bloemendaal 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.
Caprera, Hoge Duin en Daalseweg 2
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.
Museum Haarlem, Groot Heiligland 47
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 this museum, in which you can step back in time to the 1940s and experience the fear and claustrophobia of that period. While there, make sure to 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.
The Corrie ten Boomhuis, Barteljorisstraat 19