Haarlem, the charming city and municipality in the Netherlands, is the proud capital of the province of North Holland. Located on the picturesque banks of the river Spaarne and surrounded by the enchanting region of Zuid-Kennemerland, Haarlem has a special appeal. It is therefore not surprising that in 2019 the Haarlem region, with the Kennemerduinen, Duin- en Bollenstreek, municipalities of Bloemendaal and Heemstede, was declared the most popular living environment among the Dutch.
With a position as a medium-sized city in the bustling Randstad, the municipality of Haarlem encompasses not only the city itself but also the western part of the picturesque village of Spaarndam. The population here is 165,650, making Haarlem the second-largest city in North Holland and the thirteenth-largest municipality in the Netherlands, surpassed only by Amsterdam. If we include the surrounding metropolitan agglomeration of Haarlem (with Heemstede, Bloemendaal and Zandvoort), we even arrive at approximately 230,000 inhabitants, and if we include the urban region of Haarlem (Zuid-Kennemerland and IJmond), we exceed 380,000 inhabitants.
Haarlem's rich history dates back to the 10th century when the city was first mentioned in documents. In 1245, William II of Holland granted Haarlem city rights, making it one of the most important cities in Holland by the end of the Middle Ages. In the Early Modern Period, Haarlem grew into a leading textile city in the industrial field and a cultural centre for painters.
Haarlem is beautifully situated in the north wing of the Randstad, surrounded by neighbouring municipalities such as Velsen, Haarlemmermeer, Heemstede and Bloemendaal. To the east are the lively city of Amsterdam (19 km away) and the bustling Schiphol Airport (13 km away). Just 10 km to the north are the ports of IJmuiden, while the enchanting North Sea coast is about 7 km to the west.
Haarlem is surrounded by wide green areas to the north and east, which act as a natural buffer between the city and bustling Amsterdam. To the southeast is the Haarlemmermeer with extensive arable land. Towards the southwest, we come across beautiful forest areas and fertile horticultural land, including many colourful bulb fields. In the spring, the nearby Bollenstreek between Haarlem and Leiden shows its best side, with an abundance of blooming tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. The area west of the city is adorned by lush forests and extensive dunes, which complete the beauty of Haarlem.