Our morning at Keukenhof led us to an afternoon in the city of Haarlem. Driving north, there were beautiful stately brick homes. It was a beautiful drive mixed with tulips and homes with the most well-kept gardens I’ve ever seen.
Haarlem is another beautiful Dutch city, but doesn’t have the canals of Amsterdam and other places in Netherlands. The streets toward the Grote Markt are all old and filled with character. I fell in love with all the brick and cream framing around the doors and windows.
There are many shops to pop in and out of along the way. All personal, small businesses, that are so important to Dutch culture. Did you know that the Netherlands is one of the best places to start a business? I think it’s because they truly value little shops around the corner. There’s nothing like a local antique shop, or florals, or bakers, or coffee that’s not from a supergiant like Starbucks. It’s like sipping on love!
On sunny days, you’ll find many of the residents in the main square soaking up the good weather. There are plenty of places to stop for a drink or a bite, and ample patio for everyone! It’s impossible to miss the Grote Kerk in the very centre; it’s quite outstanding.
Although my time in Haarlem was brief, it was magical. I would return in a heartbeat (or a bike peddle).
The city played such a huge part in aiding the Jewish people in WWII and I would love to discover more about it. A book I loved growing up was the Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. You can visit her family’s home and shop in the heart of Haarlem. Be prepared to wait in line! They only do so many tours per day in each language and only so many people can join in. The shop below is still a working shop today.
In all too short of time, we had to wander back through the little alleys of whimsical wonder to our rental car. I couldn’t help but wish I could take this magic back home.
Until next time, Haarlem.