Frans Hals Museum Haarlem has the largest collection of Frans Hals paintings in the world. It is a former ‘old men’s house’ built in 1608. There are fourteen paintings of his hand on display, including his famous civic guard paintings. Due to religious persecution during the Eighty Years’ War, Frans Hals came to Haarlem as one of the many Flemish refugees. Frans Hals (1582-1666) became one of the most famous portrait painters of his time. Among his greatest works are the portraits of the militia’s, similar to Rembrandt’s works. He was able to suggest movement and detail with a single, rough stroke of the brush, and because of his special use of colors. He is sometimes referred to as ‘the first impressionist’. Vincent van Gogh admired his modernist style.
Hofjes, little courtyards, were a form of private care for the elderly who were still able to live independently. In the Middle Ages, these hofjes almshouses haarlem were intended for the real poor. Later, courtyards were also built for the bourgeois class who paid entrance fees. Haarlem has even two courtyards that were built in the 21st century and this makes Haarlem a real hofjes city. There are still about 20 hofjes and therefore a walk through the city is very worthwhile. The smallest hofje in Haarlem, the ‘Hofje van Guurtje de Waal’, dating from 1616 was founded by the family of a wealthy textile merchant. It was intended for Reformed spinsters. The Frans Loenenhofje was founded in 1607 as housing for elderly women. Loenen had built up a lot of wealth with betting and trading. “He who has lived in the shelter has lived well.” The courtyard is inhabited by older ladies. Opposite the Frans Hals Museum you will find former ‘guest houses’. The houses were built between 1608 and 1612 by order of the directors of the nearby St. Elizabeth Hospital. Elderly people who had some savings bought themselves in and had shelter and care until the end of their lives. This was a more commercial set-up than the almshouses.
Namesake of the old Saint Bavo church, but completely different is the New Bavo Cathedral Haarlem. This is a three-aisled cruciform basilica from the end of the 19th century. This dome cathedral in Haarlem is unique and with the Sagrada Familia, the Sacré-Coeur, the Westminster Cathedral it is in the top five of the most important new churches in the world built in the 19th and 20th centuries. The mighty cathedral has 12 towers and a 65 meter high dome. The cathedral contains architectural styles such as neo-Gothic, neo-Romanesque, Jugendstil and style elements of the Amsterdam School and Berlage. Large windows, glittering mosaics and reflective materials: everything in this basilica is dominated by light. The sunlight is an important part of the architecture.
Named after the dam in the river Spaarne and dating from 1285 is Spaarnedam Haarlem. The village lived from fishing and there is even an eel smokehouse still active. A toll was raised and the village was strategically important for Amsterdam. Therefore two fortresses were built as part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. A touristic highlight is the statue of Hans Brinker, who protected the land from a flood with just one finger in the dike. The story is of American origin, the Dutch doubt whether it is true.
Jopenkerk is a former church, where you don’t come to pray, but to drink Jopen beer. A visit to Haarlem as a beer lover also means that you have to go to the Jopenkerk beer Haarlem brewery. Because many churches are empty nowadays, it was converted into a brewery a few years ago. A pallet of various Jopen beers is brewed and there are experiments with flavours, herbs and ingredients. The most special beers are: -‘Jopen Nuts for Chocolate’ is a blond beer with roasted almonds and cocoa. ‘Jopen Sin & Remorse’ is a very dark, heavy stout with a strong aroma of coffee, cocoa and chocolate. ‘Jopen Wayne’s world’ is a blond beer, with a clear citrus smell and taste. It is a slightly sour beer. Homemade, and typically Dutch, bitterballen prepared in their own beer are served.
Museum the Dolhuys Asylum Haarlem is located in a former 16th-century insane asylum and it’s theme is the psyche and spirit of the human being. The origin is around 1320, when leper and plague asylums were outside the city walls of Haarlem. It has been used for 700 years within the Haarlem health care system as a shelter for ‘dollen’ and sufferers of contagious diseases. More recently it was a crisis center and day treatment for demented elderly people. Now it is a museum and knowledge center in the field of psychiatry and called Museum van de Geest. In this way it shows charity and care for the weaker members of society. On the other hand, it also shows a very dark side. People who do not belong or who disrupt the social order are locked up and isolated. The museum shows the special nature of the human mind, which is described as deviant.
Teylers Museum Haarlem dates from 1784 and is located directly on the Spaarne river, is the oldest museum in the Netherlands. A very wealthy cloth and silk manufacturer, Pieter Teyler van der Hulst (1702-1778), founded the Teylers Museum. He was inspired by the Enlightenment and he had included in his will that his collection and assets should be used to promote art and science. The interior of the museum, with the monumental Oval Hall as its showpiece, is very worth seeing. The result is this beautiful museum, with textbooks, drawings, fossils, physical instruments and minerals. Seems boring but it is a beautiful and fascinating museum. Also on display is a famous collection of drawings by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Rafael, historical physical instruments and 19th and 20th century paintings.
Many of the activities that made Haarlem great were possible because of its location on this water. Before the arrival of the railways and modern road traffic, the Spaarne was the lifeline that connected Haarlem with the world, Molen de Adriaan is a modern replica of an ancient mill that went up in flames in 1932. Due to its location on the Spaarne and its great height, the De Adriaan windmill is one of the most striking buildings in Haarlem. Over the centuries, tuff, snuff and corn were successively grinded. In 2002 the rebuilt Adriaan was opened to the public, now as a museum mill. At the Spaarne river Haarlem De Waag was built between 1594 and 1599 as a design by the Haarlem city architect Lieven de Key in Renaissance style. The location on the Spaarne river was very favorable for the supply of the goods to be weighed, because the ships could moor there directly to unload their merchandise. The Haarlem weigh house fulfilled its original function until 1915. In the 1960s, the building was a folk club where artists such as Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Simon and Garfunkel performed. Today there is a bar anex café.
The Grote Kerk or old Saint Bavo Church Haarlem has been the seat of the diocese of Haarlem since the 16th century. After the Reformation, Protestantism became dominant in the Northern Netherlands. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful churches in the Netherlands. The Müller Organ from 1738 is famous and regularly hosts concerts. Mozart played the keyboard at the age of 10. The leading fathers of the Saint Bavo were also active as regents of the almshouses. They decided who were poor enough and pious enough to receive assistance. This prevented rebellions and with charitable works the regents ensured their own salvation. The so-called bread bank is special. This is where the church leaders distributed bread and bacon to the poorest of the poor.