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16 Best Things to Do in Haarlem, Netherlands

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Are you planning a trip to Haarlem, Netherlands? If so, you’ll want to check out this blog post of wisdom regarding things worth seeing and doing in Haarlem, one of the most charming cities in the Netherlands.

After visiting Amsterdam, the North Holland (or Noord Holland) city of Haarlem, the perfect palate cleanser takes you to the rugged, romantic North Sea coast. Plan a weekend stay in Haarlem, and you’ll fall in love.

From things that are easy enough for all ages to things with an edge that only the most daring travelers will enjoy, it accommodates numerous preferences on this list.

Among these things are things that people can explore and relax with, so it’s not all action-action-action. Haarlem has much to offer for those who wish to experience it.

Below is a list of the best things you must do while visiting Haarlem in the Netherlands. Before entering the written version, tour Haarlem with us from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel.

It includes some food and drink as well as the best tips for activities such as sightseeing or relaxing.

Things to Do in Haarlem, Netherlands

1. Windmill De Adriaan (1779)

Windmill de Adriaan on Spaarne River, Haarlem
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Papentorenvest 1A, 2011 AV Haarlem, Netherlands

The Molen de Adriaan, or Windmill De Adriaan, is one of the Netherlands’ lovely sites and best museums. Built-in 1779, it’s arguably the oldest museum in the city.

The attractive windmill, located on the picturesque river Spaarne, is one of the most well-known attractions in the Netherlands. Its inherent beauty, as well as its historical importance, make it a must-see stop when visiting Haarlem and a great photo opportunity.

The tour of the mill takes about 45 minutes. Molen de Adriaan has exhibits on mill technology and history. The ground floor has a permanent display of the windmill open all year.

The viewing point of Molen de Adriaan is 12 meters high. Visitors can enjoy lovely views of the area from the top of the mill and its observation platform.

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2. Town Hall Haarlem

Panoramic View of Haarlem

Address: Grote Markt 2, 2011 RD Haarlem, Netherlands

The old city hall, which dates back to the 14th Century, serves as the city’s administrative center and is a notable monument opposite St. Bavokerk in the Grote Markt Square.

Since medieval times, Haarlem Town Hall has stood as a quiet, constant, and magnificent witness to the decrees and judgments passed by generations of local government.

Aside from the rooms inside the hall that also served an excellent reception for weddings and other festivities, it also has a viewing platform with tables where you may enjoy the overlooking view of the historic town in the Netherlands or have a great view of the ceremonies and festivities held in the city hall or town square.

The magnificence of the medieval city hall, as well as its detailed museum and spooky underground dungeon, are among the top things to see and do on your tour of the city.

The historic city hall is also close to a number of notable sites in town, making it an easy stop for tourists visiting the area. Nearby activities included The Town Square, Teylers Museum, and Frans Hals’ Golden Age Haarlem gallery at Town Hall.

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3. Theehuis de Haarlemmerhout

Theehuis de Haarlemmerhout Scenery
Management / TripAdvisor

Address: Hertenkamplaan 1, 2012 CV Haarlem, Netherlands

A visit to Theehuis de Haarlemmerhout in Haarlem makes any trip to North Holland, the Netherlands, even more, enjoyable and memorable, especially on a sunny day. You may find beautiful meals and snacks at this gorgeous historical restaurant in town. The fact that the location also has a deer park and a petting farm adds to the overall appeal of the trip, especially for kiddies!

The place is good for meeting new people and spending time with friends. You can also enjoy a lovely glass of wine or some fresh juice on the terrace while you sit back and relax on a sunny afternoon.

It is a fantastic place that needs only a small amount of walking and allows you to spend more time dining and socializing with others. The tea served at the site, complemented by sweet treats, is one of the highlights of the experience.

Having dinner at Theehuis de Haarlemmerhout is a lovely experience because nature’s beauty surrounds the restaurant and offers terrace seating.

The majority of the meals served in the cafe are traditional Dutch specialties. Apart from eating and enjoying the petting farms, the location is also a great place to relax since it offers a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere.

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4. The St. Bavo Church in Haarlem

The soaring Gothic tower of St. Bavo Church in Haarlem, the Netherlands, with detailed brick patterns and a gold-topped weather vane, set against a moody gray sky.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Grote Markt 22, 2011 RD Haarlem, Netherlands

The St. Bavo Church in Haarlem, often called the Sint Bavokerk or Grote Kerk, is a popular tourist destination in Holland and is recognized as one of the country’s most significant churches.

Built in the Middle Ages, St. Bavo Church is known as the most prominent and significant church in town. It is 120 feet (37 m) high and is located on the Groote Markt in Haarlem. Its immense splendor makes it an unavoidable must-see destination in the Netherlands. The church has seven giant bells and a great tower.

Interior of St. Bavo's Church, Haarlem with Gothic arches and vintage chandeliers
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Among the best things to do in town is to admire and enjoy the beauty of this prominent monument, as well as visit Frans Hals’ tomb beneath the church.

The church is fairly accessible and an excellent place to start a tour of the area’s most notable site. St. Bavo Church is close to Teyler’s Museums, Grote Markt, Square, Haarlem-Keukenhof, and Frans Hals Museum.

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5. Teylers Museum

Exhibit Inside the Teylers Museum

Address: Spaarne 16, 2011 CH Haarlem, Netherlands

The Teylers Museum is one of Haarlem’s top attractions, and it should not be missed if you’re planning a fun day in the city. It’s one of the most popular things to do on a day trip in North Holland that any art or science lover will enjoy.

It’s one of the oldest museums in town and has welcomed visitors since 1784. The Teylers Museum is a location that offers a variety of unique artworks, scientific instruments, fossil collections, and science-related exhibits. It also houses a wide range of art masterpieces by famous Dutch Romantics.

The museum allows visitors to discover amazing art, natural history, and scientific artifacts in one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The museum was a monument to the remarkable collection of Pieter Teyler van der Hulst, a prominent banker and merchant who bequeathed his huge collection of treasures to the institution.

The museum’s most prominent features are its sizeable collection of fossils and minerals and the Oval Room, which should not be missed if you have the chance.

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6. Ten Boom Museum

Front Of Ten Boom Museum
Image by Michiel1972 / CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: Barteljorisstraat 19, 2011 RA Haarlem, Netherlands

There are several museums in Haarlem displaying the city’s interest in art, creativity, and historical traditions. One of the town’s many wonderful attractions is the Ten Boom Museum. It is an excellent tourist destination that should not be missed or overlooked when visiting Haarlem.

The Ten Boom Museum is best for travelers looking to introduce themselves to Dutch history and culture before exploring the rest of Haarlem.

Home to the prominent Ten Boom family, the Corrie ten Boom House is Haarlem’s oldest building. It now serves as a museum to commemorate Corrie ten Boom, who Nazis imprisoned for aiding Jews and others in fleeing Nazi persecution during the German occupation in WWII.

This selfless Dutch hero saved as many as 800 lives. The house was completely rebuilt to demonstrate what it looked like when it was used as a hiding place and almshouse for refugees fleeing the barbaric Nazi regime.

It contains a shelter and a small space behind a false wall in Corrie ten Boom’s bedroom. The museum also houses an exhibit on Haarlem’s World War II experiences.

The museum may only be seen on a guided tour in Dutch or English. The guided tour lasts anywhere from one hour to an hour and a half because each aspect of the home and its stories are thoroughly described during the tour.

During the guided tour, you will see the home in its original form, as well as family photographs and war memorabilia.

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7. Proveniershuis

Proveniershuis Building
Jane023 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: Grote Houtstraat 142D, 2011 SV Haarlem, Netherlands

Among the exciting things to do in Haarlem is to visit the monument of Proveniershuis. The attraction is a complex of historic buildings, established in 1704, encircled by a picturesque rectangular garden. It is an attraction that occupies a notable space on the route of Haarlem hofje.

The attraction buildings are now used as rentals with shops, food places, and a lunchroom. Among the beautiful highlights is the ancient temple of St. Michael monastery.

Visiting Proveniershuis is convenient as a frame of reference since it is close to key sites in Haarlem, such as St. Elisabeth Hospital. The hotels, clinics, and dining facilities nearby are all worth seeing near this historic complex.

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8. Het Dolhuys

Dolhuys at Haarlem, Netherlands

Address: Schotersingel 2, 2021 GE Haarlem, Netherlands

Do you want to learn more about psychiatry? The Het Dolhuys Museum and the attraction in Haarlem are ideal for visiting if you want to learn more about the mind’s inner workings. Visitors can delve into a fascinating tour of psychiatry and its history in the museum, also known as Museum van de Geest.

Built-in the 16th Century, it was formerly a facility for the housing and treatment of mentally ill people and a leper home before becoming a museum in 2005. It provides an educational tour, and visiting the museum is eye-opening, helping to remove the harmful stigma associated with mental illness.

The award-winning museum’s mental illnesses and linked psychotherapy displays have received several accolades, and its specific collections and exhibitions have seen ringing reviews.

Het Dolhuys showcases permanent exhibits and organizes temporary exhibitions around psychiatry and other psychiatry-related themes. It is situated behind the Haarlem Central Station and close to several attractions, such as the Frans Hals Museum and Teylers Museum, as well as great spots for biking in town, such as Haarlem-Keukenhof.

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9. Haarlem Canal Tours

Haarlem canal scene with historic architecture and tranquil waters, reflecting sky and red bridge
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Spaarne t.h.v. huisnr. 17 / Spaarne across from house no. 17, 2011 CD Haarlem, Netherlands

Embarking on a Haarlem Canal Tour is one of the most enjoyable things to do while in Haarlem. This lovely, lazy experience provides a delightful tour of this gorgeous city aboard an open-top boat, adding to a pleasant and memorable journey in the Netherlands.

Participating in the Haarlem Canal Tours is a great way to see the city’s sights while also getting a feel for the beautiful sailing waterways of Haarlem. It can be the best way to see the city’s main sights, and if you’re after a more exclusive tour, you can hire your boat and guide!

After crossing through the scenic Spaarne River, the tour continues to the Bakenessergracht, the town’s oldest canal, before continuing via the Nieuwe Gracht canal to reach the Singel. The Cathedral of Sint Bavo and the Windmill De Adriaan are two sites that may be seen throughout the tour.

Several of Haarlem’s most well-known contemporary and historical buildings can be seen on this city tour. A boat tour will also involve discussions of the city’s history, culture, and architecture at a slower pace.

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10. Cruise Around Old Town Haarlem by Bike or Via a Walking Tour

Historic Grote Markt in Haarlem, Netherlands on a Rainy Day
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Stationsplein 11 L, 2011 LR Haarlem, Netherlands

This fascinating city outside Amsterdam in the northwest Netherlands is well worth visiting. In this beautiful old town, you can see medieval cobblestone alleys and gabled houses from every direction. Taking a private or self-guided walking tour is the best way to take it all in.

Haarlem is a fascinating city to visit because of the beautiful scenery it offers and because of the large number of exciting things to do in Haarlem. While meandering through the town’s old streets, you can indulge in exquisite Dutch cuisine at one of the many restaurants dotted throughout the town that provide delectable meals.

You can also spend the day visiting museums, as the city is brimming with historical and art institutions. The municipality also provides green space for residents to decompress and enjoy outdoor activities such as picnics, strolls, playing, and taking photographs of Haarlem’s stunning tulip fields, among other things. The city is full of excitement and has many natural scenery to explore.

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11. Frederikspark

18th Century Dutch Home in Frederikspark, Netherlands

Address: Frederikspark 14, 2012 DA Haarlem, Netherlands

The Dutch know their way around a beautiful garden, and visiting parks is one of the best things to do in Haarlem. Among the best is Frederikspark, one of the city’s most beautiful parks, conveniently located near other city landmarks.

Enjoy a range of outdoor adventures with your family in this delightful setting where you may unwind. It has provided sublime grounds to locals and visitors searching for a tranquil and scenic environment to rest in since 1890.

A day spent relaxing and enjoying the park is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Haarlem’s streets. In order to reach the park, public transport, like a bus or train, may be necessary, but walking is just fine if you’re around the neighborhood.

Frederikspark has a number of picnic and play areas, as well as hiking trails to work up a sweat. There are many parks in town, but this charming park is less crowded, making it ideal for visiting to enjoy the beauty of nature and unwind with ease.

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12. Frans Hals Museum

Frans Hals Museum In Haarlem
Image by Henkgron / CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: Groot Heiligland 62, 2011 ES Haarlem, Netherlands

The incredible Frans Hals Museum is home to a number of natural wonders, spectacular monuments, and a magnificent collection of art. The Frans Hals Museum is easily one of the best museums on the city map and has been open since 1913.

Also known as de Hallen Haarlem, the museum is primarily dedicated to the renowned Dutch painter Frans Hals and houses the world’s largest collection of his works.

Art and history lovers may enjoy examining the 16th Century, 17th Century, and Dutch Golden Age art collections in de Hallen Haarlem. The Frans Hals collection is not the only one displayed at the museum; other famous artists’ works are also on display.

Other collections include modern art by Monet and Corbet. There’s also an incredible collection of 18th-century dollhouses, which includes thousands of small items; children may enjoy a day in the museum.

Of all the places in Haarlem, the Frans Hals Museum is one of the best places to visit with the family. Frans Hals Exhibit was one of our favorite exhibits at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

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13. Cathedral of St. Bavo

Cathedral of St. Bavo, Haarlem

Address: Leidsevaart 146, 2014 HE Haarlem, Netherlands

The Cathedral of St. Bavo in Leidsevaart, Haarlem, is a beautiful Catholic church among the two St Bavo churches in town. It is regarded as Holland’s second most significant church and a popular tourist destination.

In terms of size, it is comparable to Cologne Cathedral, a remarkable church in the charming German city of Cologne. On the outside, there is a plethora of one-of-a-kind ornaments. It has been beautifully decorated inside with numerous reliefs and a dazzling ceiling.

In addition to witnessing the splendor of the church decorations, you will also visit the crypt beneath the cathedral, which holds the Kathedraal Museum. This compact museum houses a variety of art treasures and is an outstanding aspect of the church to explore.

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14. Barrel Organ Museum Haarlem

Barrel Organ Museum Haarlem Exhibit
Ymnes / Wikimedia Commons, CC0

Address: Küppersweg 3, 2031 EA Haarlem, Netherlands

The Barrel Organ Museum Haarlem is one of the best museums to get your daily dose of history. You can enjoy their diverse collection of barrel organs at this museum.

Barrel organ music is a traditional Dutch staple, and the museum was created to house and display Haarlem’s collection of historic organs, which had accumulated over time.

Since its doors to the public in 1969, the gallery has welcomed thousands of visitors eager to discover the extensive collection of antique and rare barrel organs on display.

There are many important historic organ objects on display in museums, such as The Kunkels Organ, which is utilized for performances and is on loan from the National Museum of the Netherlands. The best part about this museum? The website says it’s FREE to visit every Sunday!

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15. Artis Class Haarlem

Raccoon in Zoo

Address: Arthur van Schendelpad 1, 2024 CP Haarlem, Netherlands

Take a break checking out the museum, go outside, and enjoy looking at fascinating animals. The Artis Class Haarlem is a charming zoo and park to visit in Haarlem.

It is an urban zoo that houses many animal species, including birds, amphibians, and giant animals. The zoo is a great family place among excellent destinations to explore with kids.

Aside from the animals under the care and the main highlights of the zoo, Artis Class Haarlem has much more to offer. During your visit, you may enjoy the displays of galaxies, stars, planets, and more at the attraction’s planetarium.

From animals and galaxies, Artis Zoo is also recognized as the first museum of microbes in the world. Among its highlights is its massive fungal wall. There is also another museum to enjoy in the zoo aside from its outdoor wonders.

Artis Zoo also houses the Groote Museum, a gallery with living displays that focus on sharing the importance of the relationship between man and nature.

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16. Amsterdamse Poort, Haarlem

Amsterdamse Poort Gateway in Haarlem

Address: 2011 BS Amsterdam, Netherlands

Look at historic landmarks in Haarlem as you visit the Netherlands and stroll through the Amsterdamse Poort, also known as the Sparwouwer Poort in Haarlem.

It’s a beautiful ancient city gate in the intriguing town of Haarlem that is worth visiting. Of the twelve original gates in the medieval city, this is the only one that has survived. Located at the end of the historical path from Amsterdam to Haarlem, it was built in 1355 and has survived the test of time.

In addition to its historical value, the gate has become a famous tourist destination in the area since it makes heading back and forth to neighboring Amsterdam more convenient and allows travelers to do so on the same day.

As well as having an impressive monument in front of the entrance depicting one of the city’s folk heroes, the gate is surrounded by breathtaking scenery and a pleasant ambiance.

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