Haarlem is among the most photogenic city in the Netherlands and is only twenty kilometres away from Amsterdam. This ancient city was built during the Medieval period and still contains visible traces of its glorious past. There’s also plenty of cultural delights waiting inside of Haarlem’s cobbled streets, including a number of outstanding museums and galleries that are dedicated to the preservation of Dutch history.
Frans Hals Museum
Haarlem was the birthplace of Dutch Golden Age painting and this period became synonymous with the innovative craftsmanship that was revolutionising the Low Lands’ artistic output. The Frans Hals Museum houses Haarlem’s largest collection of Golden Age paintings, with a particular focus on its namesake’s oeuvre. These fabulous artworks are presented within the museum’s enormous gallery that is contained within a 17th century retirement home.
Teylers Museum was founded in 1778 after a local wealthy merchant, named Pieter Teyler van der Hulst, bequeathed his fortune and private collection to a foundation dedicated to the advancement of religion, science and art. Since then, the museum has kept its patron’s unbelievable assortment of fossils, art prints and artefacts in pristine condition. The museum was originally part of Teyler’s estate and is itself an astounding piece of 18th century architecture.
Haarlem has always been a prosperous city and in the past was an important centre of commerce. One of its chief exports was beer, a beverage that was perfected by the city’s master brewers. The Jopenkerk explores the fascinating history behind this delicious commodity and provides a guided tour around Harleem’s Jopen brewery that ends with a beer tasting session. The museum is situated inside an ancient church that has been converted into Jopen’s principal plant.
Molen De Adriaan Museum is situated under the largest windmill inside Haarlem and provides fascinating insights into the history of these iconic Dutch machines. The mill is perched on the side of Haarlem’s canal ring and has been a part of the city’s skyline since 1778. Visits include a guided tour of this colossal landmark and access to the windmill’s twelve metre high balcony that overlooks Haarlem’s Medieval city centre.
After World War II, the Frans Hals Museum decided to transfer its growing collection of modern artwork to a satellite site inside Haarlem. These paintings and sculptures were moved to a 17th century, indoor meat market that was converted into an exhibition space and retitled De Hallen. Today the museum exclusively focuses on contemporary visual artwork and its collection consists of over 10,000 pieces. De Hallen is eager to showcase promising talent and regularly holds solo exhibitions dedicated to groundbreaking international artists.
This ancient Janskerk church was converted into a museum by the Dutch government in 1936. Originally it was used by the Catholic faith as an archive that contained hundreds of priceless religious paintings. Many of these objects have survived and are currently on display inside the Janskerk alongside other important sacred artefacts.
Het Dolhuys is determined to dispel the myths that surround mental illness. Its exhibitions are designed to challenge perceptions on the boundaries drawn between sanity and madness in order to foster new, forward-thinking attitudes towards psychiatry. Its collection uncovers the history of this relatively new scientific discipline by presenting a large collection of instruments associated with the field. Het Dolhuys also holds regular temporary exhibitions that focus on an aspect of mental illness.