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Haarlem, "best shopping in the Netherlands!"

© By Adam Southwood
  Haarlem, the capital of North-Holland province, sits on the Spaarne River in west Netherlands; it's the hub of a prosperous flower-growing community and an important export centre of prized flower bulbs. Because of distance, many people choose to commute to nearby Amsterdam, only 15 minutes away.

Welcome To The Netherlands !

     Haarlem is not large and can be easily walked; it takes only 15 minutes to get from the train station to the city center. There are also buses which will take you from the train station to the city center and back every few minutes.
     While in Haarlem, you should try to visit the triumvirate of museums: Teylers' Museum, Frans Hals Museum and Corrie Ten Boom Museum. The latter offers free guided tours (English and Dutch) of the Ten Boom House. Here, you may simulate the terror of occupation and stand in the "hiding place" where Jews were secreted away from the Nazis, and here, you may witness the "all-clear" sign employed to indicate when it was safe to come and go. This reminded me sadly of Amsterdam's Anne Frank House which has the power to reduce one to tears, particularly if a parent. The Ten Boom museum remains furnished as a house, making it easy to conjure up daily life during the difficult days of the war.
     Teylers Museum is the oldest public museum in the Netherlands and hosts an impressive collection of fossils, minerals, historic scientific instruments and 19th century works of art.

Outdoor Cafe  Outdoor Cafe  Teylers Museum  City Hall 

     The Patronaat is Haarlem's largest live music venue which you can frequent on Fridays and Saturdays (dance nights). During the warm days of summer, you can catch some rays and visit Haarlem's Grote Markt near the Grote Kerk. The old city centre is perfect for ambling about.
     Spaarnedam, an old Dutch village, boasts a quaint harbour, restaurants and bars and is well known internationally for the statue of Peter, the brave Dutch lad who stuck his finger in the dike to save his lovely Haarlem from the nasty flood waters.
     Shopping is de rigeur here; some say it's the best in the Netherlands and the city enjoys a wide range of shops offering diverse products. Grote Houtstraat is "shopping central," the main street with the most shops. Smaller, surrounding streets such as Kleine Houtstraat and Gierstraat present shops that offer everything from teapots to high-end appliances and bikes. Shops are open Monday to Saturday, usually from 9 am to 5 pm, except on Monday's when shops open at 1 pm. Many in the city center open every first Sunday of the month and shops generally remain open on Thursdays from 7 pm to 9 pm. If you like to shop til you drop, Haarlem is the right spot!

Bulb Fields In Full Bloom  Bulbs  Tulips  Drawbridge 

Adam Southwood writes for Canadian, U.S. and European magazines and newspapers. He is a graduate of both McMaster University in Hamilton and UWO in London with an interest in culture and history. He has produced several educational programs for TV.

Photo Credits
Courtesy Visit Holland

If you go
Haarlem, Netherlands
as seen on
Visit Holland: http://ca.holland.com/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haarlem,_Netherlands
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Haarlem

What's happening, money, distance, time?
Media Guide: http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
Currency conversion: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
Time zone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/

Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/


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