Template:Infobox Dutch municipality 3 Haarlem is a city in the west of the Netherlands, capital of the North Holland province. The city is located by the river Spaarne, about 20 km west of Amsterdam and near the coastal dunes. It is the center of a flower-growing district and the export point for bulbs, especially tulips.

The municipality of Haarlem also comprises the village of Spaarndam.

The motto of Haarlem is Vicit vim virtus, which is Latin for virtue won over violence.


History of Haarlem

Middle Ages

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City Hall of Haarlem on the Grote Markt. It was built in the 14th century replacing the Count's castle.
The oldest mentioning of Haarlem dates from the 10th century. The name comes from "Haarlo-heim" or "Harulahem", which means 'place, on sand covered with trees, higher than the others'. The location of the village was a good one: by the river Spaarne, and by a major road going south to north. By the 12th century it was a fortified town, and Haarlem became the hometown for the Counts of Holland.

In 1219 the knights of Haarlem were honored by Count Willem I, because they had conquered the Egyptian port of Damietta (or Damiate in Dutch) in the 5th crusade. Haarlem received the right to bear the Count's sword and cross in its coat of arms. On November 23 1245 Count Willem II granted Haarlem city rights. This implied a number of privileges, among which the right for the sheriff and magistrates to administer justice, instead of the Count. This allowed for a quicker and more efficient justice system, more suited for the needs of the growing city.

After a siege by the Kennemers in 1270 a defensive wall was built around the city. Most likely this was a wall of earth, with wooden gates. Originally the city started out between Spaarne, Oudegracht, Ridderstraat, Bakenessergracht and Naussaustraat. In the 14th century the city expanded, and the Burgwalbuurt, Bakenes and the area around the Oudegracht became part of the city. The old defenses weren't strong enough for the expanded city, and at the end of the 14th century a 16,5 meter high wall was built, along with a 15 meters wide canal around the city.

In 1304 the Flemish threaten the city, but they are defeated by Witte van Haemstede at Manpad.

The buildings in the city were all made of wood, so there was a big risk for fires. In 1328 almost the whole city burned down. The Sint-Bavokerk got severely damaged, the rebuilding would take more than 150 years. Again, on June 12, 1347 there was a fire in the city. A third large fire, in 1351, destroyed many buildings including the Count's castle and the city hall. The Count did not need a castle in Haarlem anymore, because his castle in Den Haag had taken over all functions. The Count donated the ground to the city and later a new city hall was built there. The shape of the old city was square -- this was inspired by the shape of the ancient Jerusalem. After every fire the city was rebuilt quickly, an indication of the wealth of the city in those years.

The Black Death came to the city in 1381. According to an estimate by a priest from Leiden the disease killed 5,000 people: about 50% of the population at that time.

In the 14th century Haarlem was a major city. It was the 2nd largest city in the historical Holland after Dordrecht and before Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam, Gouda and Rotterdam. In 1429 the city gained the right to collect tolls, including on ships passing by the city at the river Spaarne. At the end of the Middle Ages Haarlem was a flourishing city with a lot of textile industry, shipyards and beerbreweries.

Around 1428 the city was put under siege by the army of Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut. Haarlem had taken side with the 'Cods' in the Hook and Cod wars, and thus against Jacoba van Beieren. The whole Haarlemmerhout was burned down by the enemy.

Spanish siege

Main article: Siege of Haarlem

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Map of Haarlem around 1550. The city is completely surrounded by a city wall and defensive moat. In the south-west of the city bleaching grounds can be seen. Notice the near-square shape of the city: this was based on the ancient plan of Jerusalem

When the city of Brielle was conquered by the Geuzen revolutionary army, the Haarlem municipality started supporting the Geuzen. King Philip II of Spain was not pleased, and sent an army up north under command of Don Fadrique (Don Frederick in Dutch), son of the Duke of Alva. On November 17 1572 all citizens of the city of Zutphen were murdered by the Spanish army, and on December 1st the city of Naarden suffered the same fate.

On December 11 1572 the Spanish army put Haarlem under siege. The city's defenses were commanded by city-gouvernor Wigbolt Ripperda. Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer, a very strong woman, helped defending the city.

The first two months of the siege the situation was in balance. The Spanish army was digging tunnels, to reach the city walls and blow them up. The defenders made tunnels to blow up the Spanish tunnels. The situation became worse for Haarlem on March 29 1573. The Amsterdam army, faithful to the Spanish king, occupied the Haarlemmermeer and effectively blocked Haarlem from the outside world. The hunger in the city grew, and the situation became so tense that on May 27 many (Spanish-loyal) prisoners were taken from the prison and murdered.

Two city gates, the Kruispoort and the Janspoort collapsed in the fighting.

In the beginning of July the Prince of Orange put together an army of 5000 soldiers near Leiden, to rescue Haarlem. However, the Spanish trapped them at the Manpad and defeated the army. After seven months the city surrendered on July 13 1573. Many soldiers of the army that defended the city were slaughtered; many of them were drowned in the Spaarne river. Gouvernor Ripperda and his lieutenant were beheaded. The citizens were allowed the buy themselves and the city free for 240.000 guilders and the city would have to host a Spanish garrison. Don Fadrique thanked God for his victory in the Sint-Bavo Church.

Great fire

The city suffered a big fire in the night from October 22nd to October 23rd, 1576. The fire started in brewery het Ankertje, near the Waag at the Spaarne, which was used by German mercenaries as a guarding place. When they were warming themselves at a fire it got out of control. The fire was spotted by farmers, who were on their ships in the river. However, the soldiers turned down all help, saying that they would put out the fire themselves. This failed, and the fire destroyed almost 500 buildings, among them the St-Gangolfschurch and the Elisabeth's Gasthuis. Most of the mercenaries were later arrested, and one of them was hanged on the Grote Markt in front of a large audience. Maps from that era clearly show the damage done by the fire: a wide strip through the city was destroyed.

The combined result of the siege and the fire was that about a third of the city was destroyed.

Golden Age

Linen and silk

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De Amsterdamse Poort is one of the few visible traces left of the old city wall.

The Spanish left in 1577 and under the Agreement of Veere, protestants and catholics were given equal rights. A large influx of Flemish and French immigrants who were fleeing the Spanish occupation of their own cities made the city prosper again. They had a lot of expertise in linen and silk trading, and the city's population grew from 18.000 in 1573 to around 40.000 in 1622. At that time, in 1621, more than 50% of the population was Flemish. Haarlem's linen became world famous, and the city flourished, just like the rest of the country: the Golden Age in the United Provinces had started.


In 1632 a tow canal between Haarlem and Amsterdam was opened, the first tow canal in the country. The empty holes in the city caused by the fire of 1576 were filled with new houses and buildings. Even outside the city wall buildings were constructed -- in 1643 about 400 houses were counted outside the wall. Having buildings outside the city walls was not a desirable situation for the city administration. Not only because these buildings would be vulnerable in case of an attack on the city, but also because there was less control over taxes and city regulations outside the walls. Therefore a major project was initiated in 1671: expanding the city northwards. Two new canals were dug, and a new defensive wall was constructed (the current Staten en Prinsenbolwerk). Two old city gates, the Janspoort and Kruispoort, were demolished. The idea that a city had to be square-shaped was left behind.

Cultural life

Haarlem's cultural life also prospered, with famous painters like Frans Hals and Jacob van Ruisdael, architect Lieven de Key and Jan Steen who made many paitings in Haarlem. On the Grote Markt, the central market square, there's a statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster who is allegedly the inventor of the printing press. In 1628 a chemist in Haarlem goes broke, and decides to join the VOC to sail to the East. His name, Jeronimus Cornelisz, will always be connected with the Batavia ship.


Missing image
The Grote Markt in 1696, painting by Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde
Beerbrewing was a very important industry in Haarlem. Until the 16th century the water for the beer was taken from the canals in the city. These were, through the Spaarne and the IJ, connected to seawater. However, the water in the canals was getting more and more polluted, and no longer suitable for brewing beer. A place 1,5 kilometers south-west of the city was then used to take fresh water in. However, the quality of that water was not high enough either. From the 17th century a canal (Santvaert) was used to transport water from the dunes to the city. The water was transported in barrels on ships. The location where the water was taken is called the Brouwerskolkje, and the canal to there still exists, and is now called the Brewerscanal (Brouwersgracht).

Haarlem was a major beer producer in the Netherlands, the majority of the beer it produced was consumed in Noord-Holland. During the Spanish siege there were about 50 brewing companies in the city, 45 years later in 1620 there were around 100.

In the 1630s, Haarlem was a major trading center for tulips (and it still is), and it was the center in the tulipomania, where fabulous prices were paid for tulip bulbs.

There was another epidemy of the Black Death in 1657, and took a heavy toll in the 6 months it ravaged the city.

From the end of the 17th century the economic situation in the city turned sour, for a long time. In 1752 there were only seven beer breweries left, and in 1820 no breweries were registered in the city anymore.

French rule

At the end of the 18th century a number of anti-Orange commissions were founded.

On January 18th, 1795 the "Staatse" army was defeated near Woerden. In the night of the 18th to the 19th, the same night that stadtholder William_V_of_Orange fled the country, the various commissions gathered and implemented a revolution. The commissions changed the city's administrators in a blood-less revolution, and the next morning the city was 'liberated' of the tyranny of the House of Orange. The revolution was peaceful and the Orange-loyal people were not harmed.

The Batavian Republic was proclaimed. The French army entered the liberated city 2 days later, on the January 20th. An army of 1500 soldiers was provided by food and clothing by the citizens. The new national government was strongly centralized, and the role of the cities was reduced in the national debate.

The Batavian Republic had signed a mutual defense pact with France, and was thus automatically in war with England. The strong English presence at sea severely reduced the trading opportunities, and the Dutch economy suffered.

19th century

The textile industry, which had always been an important pillar of the Haarlem economy, was in a bad shape at the beginning of the 19th century. The strong international competition, and the revolutionary new production methods based on steam engines that were used in England, brought the end to the industry in Haarlem.

In 1815 the city's population was about 17.000 people, with many of them being poor. The foundation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in that year gave many hope. Many believed that under a new government the economy would rise again, and that export-oriented parts of the economy such as the textile industry would recover. However, this hoped turned out to be idle -- the Dutch economy was stuck. The Nederlandsche Handelmaatschappij (NHM) was founded by King Willem I to create employment opportunities.

In Haarlem, then one of the cities in west-Holland with the worst economical situation, cotton factories were created in the NHM-program. These cotton factories produced for the Dutch Indies, and because the Dutch government levied heavy taxes on foreign cotton producers this was a good market for the NHM-factories. The program started in the 1830s, but never managed to substantially reduce the unemployment in the city. The American Civil War in the 1860s reduced the import of raw cotton significantly, and in 1872 the protectionistic measures for the Dutch Indies' market were removed.

In the beginning of the 19th century the defense walls had lost their function, and architect Zocher Jr. planned a park on the location of the former defense line. The city walls and gates were demolished.

Haarlem became the provincial capital of North Holland in the early 19th century.

Halfway the 19th century the city's economy started slowly to improve. New factories were opened, and a number of large companies were founded in Haarlem. In 1911 Anthony Fokker showed his plane, de Spin to the audience in Haarlem by flying around the Sint-Bavokerk on Queen's Day.

In 1814 George Stephenson designed the first locomotive. The government of the Netherlands was relatively slow to catch up, even though the King feared competition from the newly founded Belgium if they would construct a train track between Antwerpen and other cities. The Dutch Tweede Kamer was afraid of the high investments, but a group of private investors started the Hollandsche IJzeren Spoorweg Maatschappij on June 1st, 1836. It took three years to build the first track, between Haarlem and Amsterdam. The track was right next to the old tow canal, and the ground there was wet and muddy. On September 20th, 1839 the first train service in the Netherlands started. The train had a speed of about 40 kilometers per hour. The train service gave the economy of Haarlem a strong boost. Instead of more than 2 hours, Amsterdam was now only 30 minutes away. The tow canal boats were quickly taken out of service for passengers.

The creating of new land in the Haarlemmermeer made that the city could no longer refresh the water in its canals using the Spaarne. The new industry made the water quality even worse, and in 1859 de Oude Gracht, a canal, was changed into a street.

In 1878 the a horse tram starts servicing passenger from the trainstation to the Haarlemmerhout, and in 1899 the first Dutch electric tram ran in Haarlem. From 1879 the population of the city almost doubled in thirty years, from 36,976 to 69,410 in 1909. Not only did the population grow, but the city is expanding to. The Leidse district and parts of Schoten are annexed in the 1880's.

20th century

Missing image
Gaper on the front of "Van der Pigge", the shop that didn't want to move for Vroom & Dreesmann.

In the beginning of the 20th century the city expanded north-wards. As early as 1905 an official plan was presented by the Haarlem municipality for expansion. However, the surrounding municipalities did not agree, and it would take 25 years to come to an agreement. On April 21st, 1920 the municality of Schoten became part of Haarlem, as well as part of Spaarndam and large chunks of other surrounding municipalities. The population increased at once with 31,184 citizens.

In 1908 a renewed trainstation was openend. The station was elevated, so traffic in the city was no longer hampered by railway crossings.

Later the expansion of the city went south-wards (Schalkwijk) and east-wards (Waarderpolder). In 1932 Vroom & Dreesmann, a Dutch retailer built a large shop at the Verwulft. Many buildings were demolished, except one small shop on the corner: "Van der Pigge", which is now encapsulated by the V&D building.

The city went through rough times in the Great Depression of 1930s.

During World War II Hannie Schaft worked for a Dutch resistance group. From September 17th to September 21st 1944, parts of Haarlem-Noord (above the Jan Gijzenvaart) were evacuated by the Germans to make place for a defensive line. The stadium of HFC Haarlem, the soccerclub, was demolished. Hundreds of people had to leave their houses and were forced to stay with other citizens.

From September 22nd there was gas available only two hours per day. Electricity stopped on October 9th. The German occupiers built a thick, black wall through the Haarlemmerhout (in the south of the city), as well as at the Jan Gijzenvaart in the evacuated area. The wall was called Mauer-muur and was meant to help defend the city.

In 1944 the family of Corrie ten Boom was arrested by the Nazis; they had been hiding Jews and Dutch resistance workers from the German occupier throughout the war.

After the war much of the large industry moved out of the city, such as the money-printing firm Johan Ensched & Zn..

In 1963 a large number of houses was built in Schalkwijk.


Haarlem has been a Catholic diocese since 1559 (Dioecesis Harlemensis). The original Catholic cathedral the Sint-Bavo Cathedral at the Grote Markt, is called after the patron saint of Haarlem, Saint Bavo. The first bishop of Haarlem was Nicolaas van Nieuwland (born in 1510). He accepted the position on November 6th, 1561. In 1569 he was advised to resign by the Duke of Alva, because of his reputation for drinking (Dronken Klaasje).

Van Nieuwland was followed up by Godfried van Mierlo, who would be the last bishop of Haarlem for 300 years. Haarlem's cathedral was spared from the iconoclastic riots of 1566 in the Netherlands, because the city's major ordered the closing of the church for several months.

Just before the siege of Haarlem by the Spaniards, the cathedral was cleared of catholic symbols. After the siege the Spanish army restored the catholic decoration of the church. The guilds had to make sure their own altars (that had also been 'cleared' out of the cathedral) were restored, which was very expensive.

On Sacramentsday (May 29th) in 1578 the Saint Bavo Cathedral was attacked by soldiers of the Prince of Orange. One of the priests was killed, and many objects in the church were destroyed. This event, called the Haarlemse Noon, forced the bishop to flee the city. The city council confiscated the church, and converted it later to a Protestant church. The new (and current) name of the Cathedral became Sint-Bavokerk. The Agreemeent of Veere was thus clearly breached.

It wasn't until 1853 that a new Catholic bishop was installed. A new cathedral, again called the Cathedral of Saint Bavo, was built at the Leidsevaart in 1898. The bishop of Haarlem nowadays lives on the Nieuwe Gracht.

Famous buildings and locations

Missing image
The Grote Markt in Haarlem with the Sint-Bavokerk. On the left the statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster can be seen, on the right is the Vleeshal.

The city is famous for its many hofjes: almshouses built in courtyards. These were mainly privately funded houses for elder single women. Nowadays there are 19 hofjes in Haarlem; many open to public on weekdays. Many hofjes are still owned by the original foundations, and are still mainly used for single (elderly) women.


Local beer

Beerbrewing has been a very important industry for Haarlem. The heydays of beer brewing in Haarlem go back to the 1400s, when there were no less than 100 breweries in the city. When the town's 750th anniversary was celebrated in 1995, a group of enthusiasts re-created an original Haarlem's beer and brewed it again. The beer is called Jopenbier, or Jopen for short, called after an old type of beer-barrel.

Jopen Koyt and Jopen Adriaan are based on old recipes from 1402 and 1407 respectively. Jopen Adriaan is called after the windmill that re-opened in 2002. Jopenbier also features a dark beer (bokbier) and a light beer ("spring beer" or lentebier). Jopenbier is now generally available again, mainly in the Haarlem area. Initially the beers were brewed at brewery De Halve Maan in Hulst, but now there are brewed at De Koningshoeven, the brewery of La Trappe, in Tilburg.

Harlem, Manhattan

In 1658 Dutchman Peter Stuyvesant founded the settlement Nieuw Haarlem ("New Haarlem") on the island of Manhattan in North America. This settlement later became the neighborhood of Harlem in New York City. In the mid-17th century, the primary Dutch settlement on Manhattan Island was Nieuw Amsterdam ("New Amsterdam"), on the southern tip of the island.


Spaarndam is a small village on the Spaarne and IJ rivers. The oldest part of the village, on the western side of the Spaarne, belongs to the municipality of Haarlem; the newer part on the eastern side is a part of the municipality of Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude. The village is built around a sluice in the river, this sluice is also the division line of the two municipalities.

Spaarndam was created around a dam where the river Spaarne flows into the IJ. This dam was built here by count Floris V of Holland in 1285. The village collected toll at this dam, and people made their living with fishing. From 1812 to 1927 Spaarndam was an independent municipality (comprising only the western part of the current town).

The village has some tourism, and many people commute to Amsterdam and Haarlem.

Spaarndam has always been strongly connected to water: besides the river and the fishing, it is now also famous because of the story of Hansje Brinker. This was a character in an American book, that stuck his finger in the dike to prevent the town from flooding; he was supposedly living in Spaarndam. The local tourist bureau has put a statue of this fictional character in the town.

External links


  • Ach lieve tijd: 750 jaar Haarlem, de Haarlemmers en hun rijke verleden, F.W.J.Koorn (red), Vrieseborch, Zwolle 1984 (ISBN 9066300353)
  • Deugd boven geweld: een geschiedenis van Haarlem, 1245-1995, G.F. van der Ree-Scholtens (red), Uitgeverij Verloren, Hilversum 1995 (ISBN 9066505040)
  • Geschiedenis en beschrijving van Haarlem, van de vroegste tijden tot op onze dagen, F. Allan, J. J. van Brederode, Haarlem 1874

Template:Province North Holland pbg:Хаарлем ca:Haarlem de:Haarlem es:Haarlem id:Haarlem li:Haarlem nl:Haarlem no:Haarlem pl:Haarlem ro:Haarlem sv:Haarlem


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