Haarlem in the past usually Harlem in English, is a city in the Netherlands. It is also the capital of the province of North Holland, which at one time was one of the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic. The city is located on the river Spaarne, about 20 km west of Amsterdam and near the coastal dunes. It has been the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears the nickname ‘Bloemenstad’ (flower city), for this reason. Haarlem’s prospered also in its cultural life, with famous painters like Frans Hals and Jacob van Ruisdael, the architect Lieven de Key and Jan Steen who made many paintings in Haarlem. Beer brewing was a very important industry in Haarlem.
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The city is famous for its many hofjes: almshouses built around courtyards. These were mainly privately funded houses for elderly single women. Nowadays there are 19 hofjes in Haarlem; many open to the public on weekdays. Many hofjes are still owned by the original foundations, and are still mainly used for single (elderly) women.
The Grote Markt (central market square), with -among others- the City Hall, the Vleeshal, the Hoofdwacht and the Grote or Sint-Bavokerk
The Cathedral of Saint Bavo, was built in Haarlem, the Netherlands by the Catholics in 1898 after the Sint-Bavokerk was converted to Protestantism in 1578. It now serves as the main cathedral for the diocese of Haarlem.
The Teyler Museum located in Haarlem, is the oldest museum in the Netherlands. The museum is in the former home of Pieter Teyler van der Hulst (17021778). He was a wealthy cloth merchant and Amsterdam banker of Scottish descent, who bequeathed his fortune for the advancement of art and science.
Haarlemmerhout Park – The Haarlemmerhout is the oldest public park of the Netherlands. It lies on the south side of Haarlem, on the same old sandy sea wall that is shared by the public park Haagse Bos in the Hague and the Alkmaarderhout in Alkmaar.