City (pop., 2001 est.: 148,377), western Netherlands. It lies along the Spaarne River, west of Amsterdam. By the 12th century it had become a fortified town and the residence of the counts of Holland. It was chartered in 1245 and incorporated in the United Netherlands in 1577. Its prosperity peaked in the 17th century, when it was a refuge for Huguenots and also an artistic centre. It is an industrial city and the centre for a tulip-growing region. Sites of interest include the 13th-century town hall and the 14th-century Great Church.
Learn more about Haarlem with a free trial on Britannica.com.
, 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. The municipality of Haarlem also comprises part of the village of Spaarndam, a newer housing estate forming part of the municipality of Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude.
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'. There was a stream called "De Beek", dug from the peat grounds west of the river Spaarne as a drainage canal. Over the centuries the Beek was turned into an underground canal, as the city grew larger and the space was needed for construction. Over time it began to silt up and in the 19th century it was filled in. 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 residence of the Counts of Holland.
In 1219 the knights of Haarlem were laurelled by Count Willem I, because they had conquered the Egyptian port of Damietta (or Damiate in Dutch, present-day Dimyat) 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 judiciary system, more suited to the needs of the growing city.
After a siege by the Kennemer people in 1270 a defensive wall was built around the city. Most likely this was an earthen wall, 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 proved not to be sufficiently strong for the expanded city, and at the end of the 14th century a 16½-metre high wall was built, complete with a 15-metre wide canal circling the city.
All the city's buildings were made of wood, and fire was a great risk. In 1328 nearly the whole city burnt down. The Sint-Bavokerk was severely damaged, and rebuilding it 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 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 ancient Jerusalem. After every fire the city was rebuilt quickly, an indication of the wealth of the city in those years.
In the 14th century Haarlem was a major city. It was the second largest city in historical Holland after Dordrecht and before Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam, Gouda and Rotterdam. In 1429 the city gained the right to collect tolls, including ships passing the city on the Spaarne river. At the end of the Middle Ages Haarlem was a flourishing city with a large textile industry, shipyards and beer breweries.
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 of Bavaria. The entire Haarlemmerhout wood was burnt down by the enemy.
When the city of Brielle was conquered by the Geuzen revolutionary army, the municipality of Haarlem started supporting the Geuzen. King Philip II of Spain was not pleased, and sent an army north under the command of Don Fadrique (Don Frederick in Dutch), son of the Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba. On November 17 1572 all citizens of the city of Zutphen were murdered by the Spanish army, and on December 1 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-governor Wigbolt Ripperda. Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer, a very powerful woman, helped defend the city.
During 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 dug 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, controlled Haarlemmermeer lake, effectively blocking Haarlem from the outside world. 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 during the fighting.
In the beginning of July the Prince of Orange assembled an army of 5,000 soldiers near Leiden to free Haarlem. 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. Governor Ripperda and his lieutenant were beheaded. The citizens were allowed to buy freedom for themselves and the city for 240,000 guilders and the city was required to host a Spanish garrison. Don Fadrique thanked God for his victory in the Sint-Bavo Church.
The combined result of the siege and the fire was that about a third of the city was destroyed.
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. The new citizens 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 one point, in 1621, over 50% of the population was Flemish-born. 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, the Haarlemmertrekvaart was opened, the first tow canal in the country. The empty areas in the city that were a result of 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 to the city administration. Not only because these buildings would be vulnerable in case of an attack on the city, but there was also 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 abandoned.
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; while 45 years later in 1620 the city numbered in the vicinity of 100 breweries.
There was another epidemic of the Black Death in 1657, which 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. In the 1990s the Stichting Haarlems Biergenootschap revived some of the old recipes under the new Jopen beer brand, that is marketed as a "Haarlem bier".
As the center of trade gravitated towards Amsterdam, Haarlem declined in the 18th century. The Golden age had created a large upper middle class of merchants and well-to-do small business owners. With the dependability of the trekschuit traffic between Amsterdam and Haarlem, many people had business addresses in Amsterdam and weekend or summer homes in Haarlem. Haarlem became more and more a bedroom community as the increasingly dense population of Amsterdam caused the canals to stink in the summer. Many well-to-do gentlemen moved their families to summer homes in the Spring and commuted between addresses. Popular places for summer homes were along the Spaarne in southern Haarlem. Pieter Teyler van der Hulst and Henry Hope built summer homes there, as well as many Amsterdam merchants and councilmen. Today, it is still possible to travel by boat along the Spaarne and has turned into a popular form of tourism in the summer months.
At the end of the 18th century a number of anti-Orange commissions were founded.
On January 18, 1795 the "Staatse" army was defeated near Woerden. During the night preceding 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 bloodless 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 then proclaimed.
The French army entered the liberated city two days later, on the January 20. An army of 1,500 soldiers was provided with 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 at war with England. The strong English presence at sea severely reduced the trading opportunities, and the Dutch economy suffered accordingly.
In 1815 the city's population was about 17,000 people, a large percentage of whom were 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 mend again, and that export-oriented economic activities such as the textile industry would recover. However, this hoped turned out to be idle -- the Dutch economy remained stuck. The Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij (NHM or Dutch Trade Company) was founded by King Willem I to create employment opportunities.
In Haarlem, then one of the cities in the western part of the Netherlands with the worst economical situation, cotton factories were created under the NHM-program. These cotton factories produced goods for the Dutch East Indies, and because the Dutch government levied heavy taxes on foreign cotton producers this was a good market for the NHM-factories. The programme 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 protectionism measures for the East Indian 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 Noord Holland province in the early 19th century. In the mid 19th century the city's economy slowly started to improve. New factories were opened, and a number of large companies were founded in Haarlem.
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 newly established Belgium if they would construct a train track between Antwerp and other cities. Dutch parliament balked at the high level of investment needed, but a group of private investors started the Hollandsche IJzeren Spoorweg Maatschappij on June 1 1836. It took three years to build the first track, between Haarlem and Amsterdam along the old tow canal called the Haarlemmertrekvaart. The ground there was wet and muddy. On September 20 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 old trekschuits were quickly taken out of service for passengers. Today it is still possible to travel by boat from Amsterdam to Haarlem, and pleasure boating has made Haarlem a popular place to stay.
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 filled in to create a new street.
In 1878 a horse tram started servicing passenger from the railway station to Haarlemmerhout woodland park, 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 was expanding rapidly too. The Leidsebuurt district was incorporated into Haarlem in the 1880s. A small part of (the now defunct) municipality of Schoten was incorporated in 1884 because the council of Haarlem wanted to have the hospital (het dolhuys) inside the municipal borders. This hospital was situated at "het bolwerk" on Schoten's territory.
In the beginning of the 20th century the city expanded north. 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 may 1, 1927 the municipality of Schoten became part of Haarlem, as well as part of Spaarndam, Bloemendaal and Heemstede. The population increased at once with 31,184 citizens.
In 1908, a renewed railway station was opened. The station was elevated, so traffic in the city was no longer hampered by railway crossings. In 1911, Anthony Fokker showed his plane, de Spin to the audience in Haarlem by flying around the Sint-Bavokerk on Queen's Day.
Later the expansion of the city went southwards (Schalkwijk) and eastwards (Waarderpolder). In 1932, Vroom & Dreesmann, a Dutch retailer built a department store at Verwulft. Many buildings were demolished, except one small chemist's shop on the corner, "Van der Pigge", who refused to be bought out and which is now encapsulated by the V&D building.
The city went through rough times during the Great Depression of 1930s.
During World War II Hannie Schaft worked for a Dutch resistance group; she was captured by the Germans and executed just before the end of the war in 1945. From September 17 to September 21, 1944, parts of Haarlem-Noord (above Jan Gijzenvaart) were evacuated by the Germans to make place for a defensive line. The stadium of HFC Haarlem, the soccer club, was demolished. Hundreds of people had to leave their houses and were forced to stay with other citizens.
From September 22 there was gas available only two hours per day. Electricity stopped on October 9. 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 banknote printing firm of Joh. Enschedé.
In 1963 a large number of houses was built in Schalkwijk.
The Roman Catholic diocese of Haarlem has been a Diocese since 1559 (Dioecesis Harlemensis). The original cathedral, 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 6, 1561. In 1569 he was advised to resign by the Duke of Alva, because of his reputation for drinking (Dronken Klaasje).
Van Nieuwland was succeeded by Godfried van Mierlo, who would be the last bishop in communion with Rome Haarlem would know for 300 years.
Just before the siege of Haarlem by the Spaniards, symbols and statues linked to the Roman Catholic faith were removed from the cathedral, however, after the siege, the Spanish army restored Roman Catholic iconography. The guilds had to restore their old altars, at great expense.
On Sacrament day (May 29) in 1578 Saint Bavo's 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 later converted it along the tenants of the Evangelical Reformed Church. The new (and current) name of the Cathedral became Sint-Bavokerk.
It wasn't until 1853 that a new Roman Catholic bishop was installed. A new cathedral, again called the Cathedral of Saint Bavo, was built at the Leidsevaart (canal to Leiden) in 1898. The Bishop of Haarlem nowadays has a formal residence on the Nieuwe Gracht canal.
There is also an Old Catholic bishop of Haarlem.
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.
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 bock beer and a light beer ("spring beer"). 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 they are brewed at De Koningshoeven, the brewery of La Trappe, in Tilburg. A local chess-club is called "De Haarlemse Jopen".
Profile: Holland's biannual Haarlem Comics Festival features work by comic strip artists and graphic novelists from around the world [DP]
Jun 18, 2004; ALEX CHADWICK NPR Special 06-18-2004 Profile: Holland's biannual Haarlem Comics Festival features work by comic strip...
Riches in Haarlem: Dennis P. Weller welcomes a mighty--and perhaps overambitious--catalogue of the greatest public collection of the art of Haarlem, at the Frans Hals Museum.(Painting in Haarlem 1500-1850: The Collection of the Frans Hals Museum; essay)(Critical essay)
Jun 01, 2007; Painting in Haarlem 1500-1850: The Collection of the Frans Hals Museum NEELTJE KOHLER, KOOS LEVY-VAN HALM, EPCO RUNIA,...
Travel: The Netherlands - Haarlem Steps out of the Shadows ; Adrian Mourby on the Dutch City with an Undeserved History of Coming Second
Jul 16, 2000; Haarlem. The very sound of its name conjures up images of the long-legged Globetrotters and black jazz greats. But this...