Travels in Holland: Haarlem (May 29, 2014)



  • Grote Markt
  • Frans Hals Museum
  • Molen de Adriaan
  • Kathedrale Basiliek St. Bavo [St. Bavo’s Cathedral]
The brave maid and her companion, Haarlem, Holland

The brave maid and her companion, Haarlem, Holland

In the early morning, the town of Haarlem awaits us. We arrive in the quaint town passing by a memorial commemorating the brave maid and her proud companion. Following the lazily, winding cobbled stone paths, we watch as store vendors clean their shop and creative restaurant artists doodle caricatures on the store windows. Then, we enter the heart of Haarlem—the Grote Markt (Big Market). From there, we take in the sights and sounds before choosing our next destination.

Haarlem is a short journey by train from Amsterdam (about 20 minutes) and is easily navigated by foot. Following the main street from the train station, several shops and small restaurants line both sides of the street as one goes toward the town center—the Grote Markt.


The Grote Markt is the main square with the most important buildings of the town, including the town hall (see below), Grote Kerk (leftmost building in above image), and many restaurants for a savvy adventurer to try. On certain days, there are market days selling clothing and other goods. Unfortunately, the church was closed the day we visited so we could not explore the interior.

Afterwards, we made our way to the Frans Hals Museum in the heart of a residential district.
Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem

Portrait of Frans Hals

Portrait of Frans Hals

Frans Hals (c. 1582-1666) was a famous portrait artist during the Dutch Golden Age. He was well-known for depicting common people (fishermen, drunkards, etc.) in action and the wealthy with bold expressions. The exhibit is worthwhile to visit for art lovers.

Tip: If you have the iamsterdam card, you may have free admission to the Frans Hals Museum (c. May 2014).

Next, we walked toward the southern part of the town past residential areas. Apartments with welcoming doorways and massive knockers and balconies with flowers flank the streets.
St Bavo's Cathedral, Haarlem

Interior of St. Bavo's Cathedral. Organ at the far back.

Interior of St. Bavo’s Cathedral. Organ at the far back.

The Kathedrale Basiliek St. Bavo is a hidden Baroque gem that is worth visiting if you have time. The interior is vast with an enormous organ that was once played by Mozart.

Hungry after our long walk to the Kathedrale, we headed back to the streets above the Grote Markt, where we had afternoon tea at Bij Babette. The scones were absolutely delicious.

Our last stop on our whirlwind tour of Haarlem was the Molen de Adriaan in the northeast area of the Grote Markt and across the motorized bridge.

The scenic molen is a distinct feature of the Haarlem’s skyline. It used to grind grain but now is a small museum about the history of Haarlem’s industry.


As it was getting late, we had a seafood dinner at one of the restaurants in Grote Markt.


Frans Hals Museum. (2015). Frans Hals Museum. Retrieved from

Molen de Adriaan. (2015). Molen de Adriaan. Retrieved from

Rick Steve. (2015). Highlights of Haarlem. Retrieved from