History of Haarlem

Archaeological research shows that 1600 years before our era there was already occupancy in the vicinity of the Spaarne. The place Haarlem emerged as a spirit settlement on a shoreline, over which a country road connected the north of Holland with the south.

The former name of Haarlem was Haarloheim, a residence on a higher sandbar in the forest. Haarlem only became a 'real' city in 1245 when it received the city rights of count Willem II of Holland. 

From that moment Haarlem grew into one of the most important cities in Holland. During the Eighty Years' War, Haarlem fiercely opposed Spanish rule. Once in the hands of William of Orange many Flemings moved to the city, whose influences are still visible today. In the Golden Age, Haarlem was a popular home and residence for the rich and powerful.

Anno Haarlem - A spin around Haarlem

A step across the threshold of the Haarlem City Hall at visitor center 'Anno Haarlem', is a step in the history of Haarlem. Here you can view the animation 'A Spin Around Haarlem'. In image and sound you fly past the earliest inhabitants of the area to the river Spaarne, the construction of the St. Bavokerk, the glory days of the Golden Age and the first Dutch railway between Amsterdam and Haarlem.

Bezoekruimte in bezoekerscentrum Anno Haarlem Bezoekers van bezoekerscentrum Anno Haarlem bekijken de film Haarlem in vogelvlucht

Openinghours Anno Haarlem

Anno Haarlem is closed until June 5th.

The name 'Haarlem'

Archaeological research shows that 1500 years before our era people lived in the vicinity of the Spaarne. From spirit settlement on a beachside, 'Haralem' grew into the seat of the counts of Holland. Thanks to the favorable location on the river Spaarne, the city developed rapidly.

The name Haarlem is possibly a corruption of the word 'Haarloheim', which means 'residence (heim) located on a high sandy soil (haar) in the forest (lo)'. However, it is not certain whether this is the real origin of the name.

Peter Stuyvesant founded 'Nieuw Haarlem' on the east coast of the USA in 1658. In 1664 the English took over the colony and gave the place the name 'Harlem'. Today, Harlem is part of the city of New York in northern Manhattan.

Haarlem mosquitoes
Inhabitants of the city of Haarlem are also often called 'mosquitoes'. It is not clear exactly where this comes from, but 'mosquito' was used as an abuse in the 14th and 15th century. It may have arisen from the fact that there used to be many mosquitoes in Haarlem. Other explanations are the 'mosquito sieves' of the Haarlemmers and a saga about a witch who would turn the inhabitants of the city into mosquitoes if they would not listen.



  • Kenau and Ripperda

    Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer and Wigbolt Ripperda are two famous resistance heroes during the Eighty Years' War. They protected Haarlem for more than seven months against the Spanish army. In July 1573, the exhausted population surrendered. The story has now been filmed, with leading roles for Monic Hendrickx and Barry Atsma (in the picture).

    Barry Atsma en Monic Hendrickx poseren bij het standbeeld van Ripperda en Kenau op het Stationsplein in Haarlem.
  • Laurens Janszoon Coster

    The statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster on the Grote Markt refers to the inventor of the printing press.

    Het standbeeld van Laurens Janszoon Coster, volgens Haarlemmers de uitvinder van de boekdrukkunst, staat voor de Grote of Sint Bavokerk in Haarlem.
  • First railway

    The first railway line in the Netherlands ran from Amsterdam to Haarlem.

  • Anthony Fokker

    Anthony Fokker flew around the Grote or St. Bavokerk with his first plane, the Fokker Spin.

    Anthony Fokker vliegt met zijn Spin een rondje rond de toren van de Grote of Sint Bavokerk in Haarlem
  • Haarlems Dagblad

    The oldest still-appearing newspaper in the world is Haarlems Dagblad or the Opregte Haerlemse Courant


Visit Haarlem is bereikbaar via info@haarlemmarketing.nl of laat een telefoonnotitie achter via 023 531 7325

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