Haarlem, NL

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Teyler’s Museum of Wonder in Haarlem, opened in 1784, is the oldest museum in the Netherlands. It was funded to foster an interest in arts and sciences both through research and sharing discoveries with the public. Much of the museum has been preserved intact and entering feels a bit like stepping back into the 18th century.

Haarlem itself, a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam, is a beautiful city to visit with other attractions including the Frans Hals museum devoted to the Dutch Golden Age painter and Bavo Church with its spectacular 5,086-pipe organ that stands 98 ft (30m) high. And just outside town is the Cruquius Museum, housing the world’s largest steam engine.

Local journalist Laurens van Zijp felt the Teyler’s and Cruquius museums would particularly appeal to us, and he was right. We very much enjoyed our trip to Haarlem and had a great time visiting the various museums and taking in the sights.

Below are trip highlights from January 15th in Haarlem, NL. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

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IJ River
View to the IJ River from the marina complex as we head out to Amsterdam Central station to catch a morning train to Haarlem.
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Amsterdam Central
On the platform at Amsterdam Central waiting for our train to Haarlem. This is our first high-speed Intercity train—the 12-mile (20km) run will take only 15 minutes with just one stop.
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Intercity Train
On the upper deck of the double-decker Intercity train to Haarlem. The train felt modern and new, and was very quiet.
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Haarlem Station
We felt like we’d hardly gotten on the train before we arrived at Haarlem. This is our train at Haarlem station—it has at least a half-dozen double-decker cars.
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Town Hall
Looking west across Grote Markt, Haarlem’s central square, to the city’s ornate 14th-century town hall.
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Spaarne River
A bridge across the Spaarne River. The partially canalized river connects the ring canal around the Haarlemmermeer polder (reclaimed land) to the North Sea Canal.
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Jennifer looking down from the second floor of spectacular entrance hall to Teyler’s Museum of Wonder. The museum, opened in 1784, is the oldest in the Netherlands. It was funded to foster an interest in arts and sciences both through research and sharing discoveries with the public.
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Reproduction of a twin-horned Arsinoitherium skull in Teyler’s large fossil collection. When the fossil wing opened in 1885, it was an ultra-modern gallery in an age when the origin of the species was being researched and hotly debated.
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Oval Room
The Oval Room was the first gallery in the museum to open in 1784 and has been preserved largely intact. It feels a bit like stepping back into the 18th century.
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Mont Blanc
Europe’s highest peak, 15,781-ft (4,808 m) Mont Blanc, got slightly lower in 1787 after Swiss geologist Horace Benedict De Saussure chiseled off the tip, shown at upper left of this display case. Haarlem, at only 2 meters above sea level, was an unexpected location to get a view down onto the top of Mont Blanc.
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Electrostatic Generator
The pride of Teyler’s Museum Of Wonder is this electrostatic generator, originally on display in the oval room when it opened in 1784. The machine can generate 300,000 volts—Teyler’s museum director, Martin van Marum, designed the machine to explore the properties and uses of high-voltate electricity.
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Da Vinci
Facsimiles of human anatomy drawings by Leonardo da Vinci on display at Teyler’s Museum of Wonder.
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Bavo Church
The massive Bavo Church, built between 1370 and 1538, dominates the eastern side of Grote Markt opposite the town hall.
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This photograph inside the Bavo Church shows how the structure, with it’s 164-ft-high (50m) steeple, towers over the buildings in the area.
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The spectacular organ in Bavo Church has 5,086 pipes and stands 98 ft (30m) high.
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The copper choir screen in Bavo Church dates from 1517 and is considered a masterpiece of medieval craftsmanship. The entire floor of the church is gravestones, around 1,500, some dating back to the 15th century. Dutch painter Frans Hals is buried just inside the choir screen.
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A delicious lunch at Restaurant ML in Haarlem with a view to Bavo Church through the window.
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The Vleeshal (meat hall), dating from 1603, was the only place in Haarlem until the 18th-century where fresh meat was sold.
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On the city bus to visit the Cruquius Museum south of Haarlem. The 4.5m (7.3km) ride takes less than a half-hour, with buses running roughly every eight minutes.
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Cruquius Museum
The Cruquius Museum houses the world’s largest steam engine, and was one of three pumphouse built in the 1840s to drain Haarlem Lake. The lake had been progressively growing in size over the centuries and was a flood danger to major cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Visible on the left of the pumphouse is the Ringvaart (Ring Canal) built to carry the drained water away and provide a means of navigation for traffic that previously used the lake. The canal is 38m long (61km) and enclosed over 69 sq mi (180 sq km). On the right is the Spaarne River, 30 ft (9m) below the Ringvaart. Over the course of three years, the pumphouses raised eight million tons of water up to the Ringvaart and completely drained Haarlem Lake.

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Cruquius Diagram
Diagram inside the Cruquius Museum showing how the water was lifted 30 ft (9m) from the Spaarne River up to the Ringvaart. Pump buckets are suspended from chains at the end of balance beams (rocker arms). During the upstroke, the bucket valve (piston) is closed and all the water from the pump barrel is lifted up to the Ringvaart. During this time, the foot valve at the bottom is open, allowing the pump barrel to refill. At the start of the downstroke, the foot valve closes, the bucket valve opens, and the bucket moves to the bottom of the pump barrel, ready to life another load.
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Steam Engine In Action
The pride of the Cruquius museum is the working pump machinery. Once powered by steam boilers, the pump now is electricity driven for demonstration purposes. The engine is an amazing feat of engineering for the time and we loved seeing it in action. The video Cruquius Pump shows how the engine moved the balance beams up and down, while the valves are opened and closed with each stroke.
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Groot Heiligland
Back in Haarlem along historic Groot Heiligland street to visit the Frans Hals museum. The street contains 18 entries in the national monuments register.
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Frans Hals Museum
16th-century Dutch Golden Age painter Frans Hals, known for his broad brush strokes and lively images, lived and worked in Haarlem. The Frans Hals Museum was running an exhibit describing how the painter had been “re-discovered” by 19th-century painters such as Van Gogh and Monet, who had flocked to Haarlem to view Hals’ work. We too appreciated Hals’ paintings, made more interesting through the exhibit comparing styles and attitudes between the 16th-century painter and his 19th-century admirers.
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An eighteenth-century dollhouse, containing 997 items of furniture and household effects at a 1:10 scale, on display at the Frans Hals museum. Such dollhouses were not children’s toys, rather they were the expensive hobbies of wealthy women who designed them as an art cabinet or miniature museum.
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Grote Houtstraat
The Haarlem winter lights coming to life at dusk along Grote Houtstraat. The displays farther down the street include an outline of the town with Bavo Church steeple prominent.
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Dirona Security Cameras
All of Dirona‘s monitoring, alerting and video cameras are also available remotely. Here you can see the six video cameras in use on Dirona in Amsterdam, viewed from Tierney’s Irish Pub in Haarlem.
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El Pincho
We finished off our Haarlem visit with an excellent meal at El Pincho tapas restaurant, center in distance, with a view to Klokhuisplein street and Bavo Church.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.


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3 comments on “Haarlem, NL
  1. jan-kees says:

    Having a Dutch Barge and flying the US flag, we are always very welcomed, anywhere in Holland, Belgium or France. As James mentioned, they do not hold the it against us, plus they only seem to grasp a bit of what is really going on. There is just bewilderment about leaving the Paris accord, the Iran Deal, the gun violence etc. As example it was brought up that in 2030 NO gas powered cars are allowed to be sold in Holland. While in Norway they have that rule in 2025 !!

  2. Jeremy Kales says:

    With our current administration in office what’s been the interaction with the local’s like?. Have you had any issues being an American tourist?

    • It’s been noticeable. Previous years, there was never much discussion of politics whereas now, it comes up frequently. People don’t seem to hold it against us but it’s definitely become a topic of conversation where it previously wasn’t.

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