Haarlem

Haarlem is a city and municipality in Holland. It is the capital of the North Holland province and lies in the north of one of the biggest metropolitan areas in Europe – Randstad.  According to statistics in the year 2011 Haarlem’s population was 151,853.

Picturesquely located on the Spaarne River Haarlem is the city of tulips and is very often called a flower city. Another thing for which Haarlem is extremely popular is beer brewing

Being a major beer producer in the country the place first had about fifty brewing companies and their amount was growing gradually till the 1657 epidemic of Black Death when their number became to decrease. And finally by 1820 there were no breweries left in the whole province. But in 1990s the Stichting Haarlems Biergenootschap managed to revive old recipes and started to produce “Haarlem beer”. Later a brewery was opened in an old church and started to produce this delicious beer called Jopen. In 2008 it won a silver medal in World Beer Championship.

The interesting fact about beer brewing in this area is that until the 16th century water from canals has been used for brewing beer but the water was getting dirtier and dirtier and it became unsuitable for these aims. And beer breweries had to find a solution to this problem and soon the water started to be transported from Santvaert Canal. This place is now being called Brouwersvaart what means Brewer’s Canal.

Besides the brewing history the city has a lot to tell about its own history and culture. Haarlem is home to the oldest Teylers Museum. It exhibits works of such great artists as Rembrandt and Michelangelo. Another famous museum is Frans Hals which is great for fine arts lovers. Apart from museums the city also has theatres and cinemas. Stadsschowburg and Toneelschuur are great theaters undoubtedly worth visiting. Among famous cinemas are Pathe Haarlem, Cinema Palace and Brinkmann cinema. One of the best night spots is the Patronaat music hall.

Being a major trading center for tulips Haarlem is known for its extremely beautiful blooming bulb fields stretching between Leiden and Haarlem which are among top 10 attractions in Holland. Each year in April you may enjoy a flower parade and a funfair.

Music lovers will enjoy annual jazz festival called “Haarlem Jazzstad”. Haarlem is also a home to many different sport clubs: professional and amateur football clubs, tennis, basketball and baseball.

To the majority of Haarlem is also associated with New York. Why is it so and how are these two names connected? The answer is that the Director-General of Dutch colony of New Netherland was the one who founded New Haarlem on Manhattan Island in 1658. The spelling has been changed to Harlem and is now being used as the name of the district in New York. The district has grown extremely and is now a so called center of African American culture in the USA. 

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