Town Center, Haarlem
In the center of Old Haarlem is the Grote Markt, on which 10 streets converge. The busy shopping streets are now closed to traffic. In the center of the square can be seen a statue of Laurens Coster, a contemporary of Gutenberg who is believed to have been the real discoverer of printing. Around the Grote Markt are the most important of Haarlem's historic buildings. It is thus a good starting point for a sightseeing tour of the town.
St Bavokerk was built between the 14th and 17th C, and reflects many different styles and influences.
Haarlem's Town Hall has a long history dating back to the 13th C when it was a hunting lodge.
On the south side of the Grote Markt stands the Vleeshal (Meat Hall), built in 1602-03 by Lieven de Key to house both the municipal slaughterhouse and the butchers' guild, which ranks as the finest work of the whole Northern Renaissance. It is now an annex of the Frans Hals Museum.
Near the Grote Kerk is the Vishal (Fish Hall), also built by Lieven de Key, which is now occupied by the department of modern art of the Frans Hals Museum. The red and white facade is topped by a stepped gable and beautiful ornamental gables on the roof.
In Jansstraat, which runs north from the Grote Kerk, is the 14th century Janskerk (on left), originally a monastic church, which now houses the municipal archives. Its most notable features are the wooden tower (1595) and the beautiful inner courtyard.
From the Grote Kerk Lange, Begijnestraat leads north past the Begijnhof to Goudsmitspleinje, in which is the Goudsmitkamer. A stone on the facade records that this was the guild house of the Haarlem silversmiths and goldsmiths in the 17th and 18th centuries.
From the Begijnhof the Groene Buurt leads to the Bakenesser Gracht, along which on the right is the Hofje van Bakenes (1395). At the end of the Bakenesser Gracht is the river Binnen Spaarne, which is crossed on a picturesque drawbridge. To the east can be seen the Amsterdamse Poort (ca. 1400), Haarlem's only surviving town gate. Flanking the main structure are two octagonal towers, and on the outer side, facing the gracht, are two round towers. At the foot of the outer side can be seen some remnants of the old town walls.
At the end of the Bakenesser Gracht, to the right, is Teyler's Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands, founded in 1778. Pieter Teyler van der Hulst (1702-78) was a wealthy cloth and silk dealer interested in the arts and sciences who bequeathed his whole fortune for the building of this museum, which is designed to illustrate the development of art and science. The museum, only the fourth of its kind in Europe (after Oxford, London and Paris), assembled within a relatively brief space of time not only an extensive art collection, with numerous drawings and pictures by early Dutch masters as well as by Michelangelo and Raphael, but also an outstanding collection of scientific instruments, minerals and fossils.
Adjoining Teyler's Museum in Haarlem is the municipal Weigh House (Waag), a building of dressed stone erected by Lieven de Key in 1597-98. It was in use until 1915 for the weighing of goods brought in on the river Spaarne.
Going south along the Spaarne, we see on the other bank (Spaarne 17) the headquarters of the Scientific Society of Holland, in a patrician house of 1794. At No. 43 is the Oprechte Haarlemmer Olie factory, with a 17th century gable.
To the left of the Oude Gracht in Haarlem is Groot Heiligland. In this street are the Gasthuisjes, a series of hospital buildings with similar crow-stepped gables (1610), formerly belonging to the Sint Elisabeth Gasthuis (St Elizabeth's Hospice).
The Frans Hals Museum is a prominent art gallery in the Netherlands, showcasing the work of Haarlem artists. The building that houses the museum was built by Lieven de Key in 1913.
Vrouwe und Antonie Gasthuis
From the end of Groot Heiligland it is a short distance by way of the Gasthuisvest to Klein Heiligland, with the Vrouwe- and Antonie Gasthuis (No. 64), a group of 17th century almshouses.
In Grote Houtstraat, Haarlem's principal shopping street, is the Proveniershuis, built in 1591, with a richly decorated gable and an imposing doorway. In 1700 almshouses for old men and women were built round the inner courtyard. Since the marksmen's guild of St Joris has its headquarters here the almshouses are also known as the St Jorisdoelen.
From the end of Grote Houtstraat the Raamvest runs west to Haarlem's Municipal Theater (Stadsschouwburg), built in 1918 at the expense of an anonymous citizen of Haarlem.
In Korte Annastraat, which opens off the Raamvest, stands the Nieuwe Kerk, a square brick building. After the destruction of the original church by fire a new church in the same style was built by Jacob van Campen (1645-49), incorporating the graceful Renaissance tower by Lieven de Key (1613). A notable feature of the interior is the magnificent Baroque marble tomb of William of Orange (by Hendrick and Pieter de Keyser, 1614). In the churchyard adjoining the church are the graves of the painters Jacob van Ruisdael and Philips Wouwerman.
Farther along Lange Annastraat (No. 41) is the Hofje van Guurtje de Waal (1616, renovated 1783). Beyond this is Tuichthuisstraat, with the Brouwershofje (1586). In the next street on the left, Barrevoetstraat, are the Wijnbergshofje (1662) and the Gasthuishofje or Hofje van Loo (No. 7), a picturesque group of almshouses built in 1489. Unfortunately the widening of the street in 1885 involved the demolition of the houses on the street side, depriving these hofjes of their air of seclusion.
Tuchthuisstraat leads into Gasthuisstraat. A 16th century house at No. 32, the Kloveniersdoelen, which was originally the headquarters of the town guard, now houses the Municipal Library. On weekdays it is possible to enter the inner courtyard by a vaulted passage from the street (1612).
Gedempte Oude Gracht
From Kloveniersdoelen the street called Raaks leads back to the Gedempte Oude Gracht. On the left is the Head Post Office (by J. Crouwel, 1923), a fine example of the work of the Amsterdam School, with sculpture by Hildo Krop.
Loenen Hofje & Luthers Hofje
Returning to the Grote Markt along Zijlstraat, we pass close to Witte Herenstraat, in which (No. 24) is the Frans Loenen Hofje of 1607, with a handsome doorway. Here too is the Lutherse Kerk, with Luthers Hofje and an open-air pulpit reached from inside the church.
Returning to the town center on Jansweg and crossing the Nieuwe Gracht (at No. 2 of which is the Hofje van Noblet of 1761), we continue along the Spaarne on the Koudenhorn. In this street is the former old men's home and orphanage of the Diakonie (1768), now the police headquarters. At No. 64 is Teylers Hofje, a group of almshouses built in 1785-87 with money bequeathed by Pieter Teyler van der Hulst, with a handsome neo-classical facade and a doorway flanked by Doric columns.
Valkenstraat leads into Bakenesserstraat, with the late 15th century Bakenesser Kerk (Reformed), notable for the handsome sandstone upper stage of its tower.
Johan Enschedé & Zonen Printing Works
In Haarlem, from the end of the Bakenesser Gracht, turning right along the Spaarne and passing Teyler's Museum and the Weigh House, we come to Damstraat, with the Johan Enschedé & Zonen printing works, in which Dutch banknotes and stamps are printed; and so back to the starting-point of the tour in the Grote Markt.
Map of Haarlem Attractions