The past days I have been back in the UK, but I still have not fully grasped the fact that my Erasmus is over and that I will not be back in the Netherlands (at least for a while). But as promised in my previous post, I will continue to write about my experience there for a while, since I feel there are a couple of other aspects of it and moments that I would like to share with you.
So today, I thought it might be nice to go back to my “Discover Holland” series and take you, as readers, on a walk in yet another beautiful Dutch city. Haarlem is a small town in the province of North Holland, and it is one of the tiny, hidden jewelries of the Dutch lands. The city is similar in looks with other Dutch towns, but maintains a note of uniqueness through its liveliness (it is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe!!) and through the imposing, yet cozy aspect of its historic center.
The latter is dominated by the Grote Kerk, a Gothic-style (huge) cathedral, which overlooks the local panorama ever since the 15th century. Surrounding the Grote Kerk, there is the Grote Markt, which is probably one of the most full-of-life city squares that I have ever visited. If you happen to be in Haarlem on a Saturday, like I was, you will see a Markt full of stands with books, materials, antiques, different types of food and sweets – anything that you can think of. As you get lost on the narrow streets that lead to the main square, you will also see lots of tiny, ‘chiquely’ decorated shops that you just cannot resist to and enter even if you have no intention of buying anything.
In order to finish the day in the same grandiose style, a boat tour down the Haarlem canals is highly recommended! The tour offers you the chance to enjoy an amazing view of the canal houses, churches and the famous De Adriaan windmill. And since there are few sights more quintessentially Dutch than that of a windmill looming over a river, I would definitely suggest not missing out on visiting this town. 🙂