If one takes the Markt Square (Grote Markt) of Haarlem, capital of the province as a starting point. A surprising number of prospects will offer culture, history, pedestriated shopping-centres and nightlife can be found round every corner. But before you start painting the town red, just have a look around the square itself, one of the most beautiful of its kind in Holland.
Come face to face with the late-Gothic saint Bavo's church (Bavo-kerk), the 13th century townhall, the magnificent Burchers'hall (Vleeshal) build by Lieven de Key and the Fish auction hall (Vishal) and dream back in time. Give free reinto your fantasy and jump on a creaking horsecar along golden canals and picturesque facades, to one of the museums. The Frans Hals museum for instance, but also under the age-old roof tiles of the Teyler's Museum rests the rich history of a great past. In the heart of the city the Corrie ten Boom House tells the courageous story of a wartime family.
And above all, don't forget to take home in your holiday luggage a bit of the atmosphere of many historic Haarlem courts. The romantic city, situated along the river Spaarne may take pride in a number of qualifications acknowledged throughout the country: City of Flowers, City of Jazz and City of Sports, all rolled into one. Less official perhaps is the title Most appetizing City of Holland, but anyone who is expected to choose from the multitude of restaurants, pubs, bistros and outdoor cafés, will undoubtedly become a champion of the legalization of that culinary title.
Menu-advice: For starters wander a while through the historical city and retrace the path along small curiosity-shops, the shipchandlers on the Spaarne or the workshops of clockmakers, goldsmiths and stained-glass restorers. A delightful city, in more than one respect.