Home Moving to the Netherlands Location Where to live in Haarlem
Last update on December 05, 2018

Haarlem is a beautiful old city, close to the beach, and only 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station.

Haarlem, the capital of the province of Noord Holland , has a population of over 150,000 inhabitants and is the thirteenth largest city in the Netherlands. Within the greater Haarlem area referred to as Kennemerland and including the neighbourhoods of Bloemendaal, Aerdenhout, Bentveld, Heemstede, Overveen, Sant-poort, and Schalkwijk, the population count increases to about 215,000.

Beautiful and vibrant old city

Haarlem, as the historical centre of the tulip bulb growing district, is also known as the Bloemenstad, translated as flower city.  The Spaarne River winds its way through the city, which was once a port town exporting local chocolate, beer, linen and silk.

For the past 700 years, weekly markets have been held in the Grote Markt, in the foregrounds of the impressive cathedral, the Grote Kerk.  Ten streets converge onto this central market place, and each street is worth wandering along just to look at the beautiful facades – often a mix of local homes, quaint shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The Grote Markt hosts an assortment of music concerts and fairs throughout the year, and on any day is just a great place to relax over a drink and watch the world go by.


On a sunny day, cycling the 25 minutes to the beach at Zandvoort or Bloemendaal aan Zee is popular.  Walking, running and cycling in the dunes and local parklands are yearlong favourites.  Haarlem hosts many sporting clubs with something for everyone including climbing walls, cricket, outside swimming pools and honkball.  Both hockey and football fans are well catered for, with numerous clubs located within the area.

Arts and culture

For art and culture lovers, the Teylers museum is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands with art, science and natural history exhibitions.  Painting by the Dutch masters can be found at the Frans Hals museum, with more modern work located in De Hallen. Definitely worth a visit is Het Dolhuys – a museum for psychiatry, close to Central Station.   Haarlem also hosts many music events including the annual Haarlem Jazzstad (jazz music festival), Haarlemhoutfestival (music and theatre) and Bevrijdingspop (May 5).

Getting around

Haarlem is relatively small for a Dutch city and is easy to navigate on foot or bicycle. To access the surrounding areas there are regular Connexxion bus services.  Similarly taking the bus to Schipol and Amsterdam is generally faster and cheaper than going by car.  The train service to Amsterdam leaves around every 10 minutes and will get you there in 15 minutes.  There is a direct train service to Den Haag, Rotterdam, Leiden and Dordrecht.  Local trains to Bloemendaal, Zandvoort, Heemstede-Aerdenhout leave regularly.

Where to live in and around Haarlem

Haarlem offers varied accommodation and is more costly in the city centre. Living in the old city centre is popular, although houses tend to be smaller and less viable for families. Popular areas for families due to space and location of schools include Kleverparkbuurt, Leidesbuurt, Garenkokerskwartier, Bosch en Vaart, and Koninginnebuurt.  The surrounding towns of Bloemendaal, Heemstede and Aerdenhout are also popular, although usually more pricey choices.

If you’re looking to buy a home or apartment in Haarlem, note that you’ll need to be a registered resident of the city for two years to buy accommodation that costs EUR 136,135 or less.  Due to the cost of Haarlem properties, this is generally not a problem.  Average rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre is EUR 1450 per month, and median monthly disposable salary after tax is EUR 1800.

Haarlem facts and links


Ana McGinley / Expatica