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 Teylers’ 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.
If you’re visiting during Haarlem’s City of Culture celebration, you can also attend the special Leonardo da Vinci exhibition that marks 500 years since the death of the artist. Visit both the Frans Hals Museum and the Teylers Museum with a discounted combi ticket.
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’s library location. Yes, it offers guests the chance to eat and drink in an actual library. From fresh apple pies to the lively terrace just outside, it’s the perfect place to get lost in a book for an hour or two.
Step back to the Dutch Golden Age at the Frans Hals Museum
Frans Hals is one of the Dutch Golden Age’s most beloved painters, renowned for his lively painting style and startlingly 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 of the Dutch Golden Age, the museum also features contemporary artists and several paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, many restored by the museum itself.
As part of the Haarlem City of Culture festivities, the Frans Hals Museum hosts a special exhibition ‘Frans Hals and the Moderns’, dedicated to Hals’ immense influence on the art world. Buy tickets to the Frans Hals Museum.
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 overlooking 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 will leave you breathless.
Question concepts of sanity at Het Dolhuys
A former mental health institute and sick house now transformed into a fascinating museum, 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 artist, 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.
Shop for Dutch Design
Dutch design mixes functionality with playfulness, a quirky sensibility permeating much of it. Haarlem has a plethora of stores to indulge your aesthetic side, including Atelier 8, where what you see is likely made on the premises. Leather plays a primary role in their designs, while wood and upholstery are also mainstays, as well as an assortment of books, jewellery and furnishings. Homestock is another local favourite, where you’ll find a treasure trove of colourful furniture and decorative pieces.
Take in a show at Toneelschuur
Top off your day in Haarlem by catching a show at one of the city’s numerous arts 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, physical comedy, music or film.
There are plenty of language-no-problem events for non-Dutch speakers during Haarlem City of Culture. Read our guide for inspiration.