We take a look at the most popular neighborhoods and what they have to offer, for expats considering where to live in Haarlem.
With its beautiful cobblestone streets, quaint gabled houses, numerous cultural attractions, and thriving shopping scene, Haarlem is one of the most attractive cities in the Netherlands to call home.
The capital of the province of North Holland, Haarlem is in a prime location, too. The city is only a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam and 10 minutes from Zandvoort Beach. This makes it increasingly popular among expats looking for quality of life outside the buzz of Amsterdam.
However, with increasing appeal and a growing population comes inevitably high rents. Prices have sky-rocketed across the city in recent years. In fact, the rent per square meter increased by 11.2% to $18.89 per month in the first quarter of 2019. That said, expats looking to move to the city have plenty of options in the surrounding neighborhoods; each of which offer their own unique charm.
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The neighborhoods of Haarlem
It goes without saying that your individual preferences, requirements, and financial budget will ultimately determine where you live in Haarlem. With this in mind, here is an overview of the most popular neighborhoods and what they have to offer.
Haarlem City Center
Unsurprisingly, accommodation is more costly in the old city center of Haarlem. While living in the heart of the action has its obvious benefits, properties tend to be smaller and less viable for families. For instance, the average rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the center is $1,450 per month; while median monthly disposable salary – after tax – is $1,800.
One thing to consider, especially when buying a home in the center, is that many buildings in this area are classified by the government as being of historical and cultural value. As a result, they often come with strict building restrictions which limit how much you can alter the exterior. If location is your top priority, however, and you crave a vibrant social life, this is the ideal spot.
Located to the east of the city, Oude Amsterdamsebuurt is a popular residential area among locals and expats alike. It is home to the Amsterdamse Poort city gate, which marks the end of the old route from Amsterdam to Haarlem. The neighborhood is made up of quiet streets lined with quaint houses and the occasional cafe. It is particularly popular among the 25 to 45 age group, and 55% of residents are single. Due to its close proximity to the city center, which is just a 10-minute walk, rent remains high. However, if location is important to you, this could be an attractive option.
If living close to nature is high on your checklist, then Kleine Hout is a great option. Only a 15-minute walk south of the city center, this leafy neighborhood is home to Frederikspark and Haarlemmerhout woodlands. The latter boasts mature oak trees, sprawling lawns, and a children’s petting farm, Kinderboerderij de Houthoeve. Although still pricy in rent, this is a great location for families and dog owners looking to relax and enjoy having a huge, public back garden on their doorstep.
From small to large houses and apartments, there are plenty of renting options in this peaceful neighborhood. Popular among families with children, the area has many facilities including a football club, childcare, and the impressive Bavo Basilica. The nearby Plaza West shopping center includes an Albert Heijn, Action, Etos, and Gall & Gall. With development projects in the pipeline, the area will soon welcome new apartments and shops, too. This will likely add to the appeal of the neighborhood among house hunters in Haarlem.
Also known as Queens, Koninginnebuurt is beautifully situated along the Leidsevaart canal and lies within walking distance of Haarlem city center. Most of the homes in this neighborhood are large and stately, and come with a high price tag. Properties in this area are generally for sale, making it a more suitable option for home buyers with a generous budget. The nearby district of Bosch en Vaart boasts beautiful old streets nestled among green surroundings and Haarlemmerhout. And within walking distance, Plaza West has an Aldi, Action, and Albert Heijn.
Primarily an area for high income residents, Klever Park is incredibly spacious and offers plenty of greenery. This makes it extremely popular with families. Many stately 1930s houses can be found here, as well as a wide selection of shops; including Klever Park Shopping Center on the Klever Parkweg. The neighborhood is north of the city and within walking distance from the center and Haarlem train station. This makes it a popular choice for commuters. If budget allows, this is undoubtedly one of the most desirable locations to live in Haarlem.
The suburbs of Haarlem
The surrounding towns of Bloemendaal, Heemstede, and Overveen are also popular locations among expats. The main appeal of these suburban neighborhoods is increased space and close proximity to the coast. Many locals and expats looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city find a good balance here. Although usually more pricey choices, these neighborhoods have their own distinct characteristics and are definitely worth exploring if you crave a slower pace of life.