Erik de Jong serves as the Head of Marketing at Holland Movers, where he focuses on aiding expats in their relocation to the Netherlands. His primary goal is to provide expats with a hassle-free moving experience and excellent service, recognizing that they often have limited knowledge of the country. Erik's goal as marketeer is to offer comprehensive, end-to-end relocation services tailored to the unique needs of expatriates, making Holland Movers a trusted choice for expats seeking a seamless transition to life in the Netherlands.
Nestled in the heart of North Holland, this charming city offers a perfect blend of historical charm, cultural richness, and a high quality of life. But what does living in Haarlem look like? And what activities should you not miss during your stay in Haarlem? In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore why Haarlem is such a delightful city.
Why choose Haarlem?
If you are still unsure about where to move to, here are some characteristics of the city. Haarlem, often referred to as “Little Amsterdam,” with its 160.000 inhabitants, Haarlem is a city that strikes the perfect balance between the bustling capital and a quiet, provincial town. Here are some reasons why Haarlem is an excellent choice for expats:
The history of Haarlem
Haarlem's rich history, dating back to the Middle Ages, graces the city with picturesque cobblestone streets, meticulously preserved architecture, and a network of enchanting canals.
Culturally, Haarlem shines as a true gem. It boasts a wide range of museums, art galleries, and theaters. The Frans Hals Museum, in particular, is renowned for its collection. Additionally, Haarlem's arts scene thrives, and the city hosts annual events such as the Haarlem Jazz & More Festival.
Quality of life
In terms of quality of life, Haarlem offers a compelling package. A low crime rate, an excellent healthcare system, and a strong sense of community consistently place Haarlem among the best places to live in the Netherlands. Besides the good quality of life, Haarlem facilitates fantastic schooling options. From primary schools to higher education institutions, there are options for every age.
What to do in Haarlem:
If you’ve just moved in and want to get to know the city as soon as possible, here are some must see and leisure activities. If you want to immerse yourself in the city’s history you should visit the Grote Kerk (St. Bavo's Church), the Teylers Museum, and the Corrie ten Boom House.
Haarlem is surrounded by natural beauty, making it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. Take a bike ride to the nearby dunes, relax in the Haarlemmerhout Park, or stroll along the beaches of Bloemendaal and Zandvoort which are easily available from the city centre.
The city centre is brimming with boutique shops, cosy cafés, and international restaurants. Be sure to try some Dutch delicacies, like bitterballen, stroopwafels and poffertjes in your first few weeks! Haarlem also hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Haarlem Beer Festival (TAP) and Haarlem Culinair.
To get to these Haarlem activities, understanding the city's transportation options is crucial. In this chapter, we'll delve into the public transportation system, offer tips for cycling in Haarlem, and provide information about car ownership and driving in the city.
Overview of the public transportation system
Haarlem boasts an efficient and well-connected public transportation system that makes it easy to travel within the city and beyond. Here's what you need to know:
Trains: Haarlem's central train station, Haarlem Centraal, is a major transportation hub with frequent services to Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport, and other Dutch cities. Trains are reliable, comfortable, and a popular choice for daily commuting. Cities in the randstad are all available within one hour of travelling time.
Buses: Local buses operated by Connexxion provide convenient transportation within Haarlem and the surrounding areas. Bus routes cover both the city centre and suburbs, making it easy to access various neighbourhoods.
OV-chipkaart: To use public transportation, you'll need an OV-chipkaart, a contactless smart card that can be loaded with credit. You can purchase these cards at train stations or various sales points. Remember to check in and out when boarding and exiting public transportation. For a few months, you can also pay your OV-trips via your (Dutch) debit-card.
Pricing: Public transportation costs vary based on the distance travelled. Monthly or yearly subscriptions may be more cost-effective for regular commuters.
Tips for personal transport in Haarlem
In Haarlem, navigating the city efficiently requires some knowledge of personal transportation options, with cycling being a notable highlight. Here are tips for making the most of personal transportation in Haarlem:
Cycling as a convenient option
Biking is a popular and eco-friendly means of getting around Haarlem. Whether you rent a bicycle for short-term use or invest in one for a longer stay, cycling offers flexibility and ease of access to the city's attractions.
While Haarlem is a bike-friendly city, some expats prefer car ownership for added mobility. If you choose this option, be aware of parking challenges and costs, and familiarize yourself with Dutch driving regulations.
Haarlem's compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets make it enjoyable for strolling. Many attractions, shops, and restaurants are within walking distance, so don't underestimate the pleasure of exploring on foot.
Because the city layout is focused on walking and biking, the streets are relatively small. This (amongst others) can be a reason to hire a moving company Haarlem. Holland Movers is a Dutch moving company specialized in facilitating (international) transitions. The company knows the city and is very experienced with moving expats. Holland Movers helps to realize a carefree moving solution.
The cost of living in Haarlem is generally a little lower than in Amsterdam.
To help you plan your budget, here's a rough breakdown of monthly expenses:
Rent and utilities
For a one-bedroom flat located in the city centre of Haarlem, you can anticipate monthly rental costs ranging from €1,200 to €2,000. Prices may vary depending on the specific location and the size of the flat. Monthly utility expenses, covering water, electricity, heating, and internet, typically add up to approximately €150-€200. This cost may fluctuate based on your consumption and chosen service providers.
Groceries or dining out
When it comes to groceries, a monthly shopping bill for a single person typically falls in the range of €250-€350. Keep in mind that this estimate can vary based on your dietary preferences and eating habits. Exploring Haarlem's culinary scene by dining out at mid-range restaurants can cost roughly €20-€40 per person, excluding beverages.
To navigate Haarlem and its neighbouring areas using local public transportation, you can obtain a monthly travel card for approximately €80. This card allows you to access buses, trams, and trains conveniently.
Haarlem is a welcoming city that offers expats a taste of Dutch culture, history, and a high quality of life. With its picturesque streets, cultural vibrancy, and convenient living, it's no wonder that Haarlem has become a sought-after destination for expats from around the world. We hope this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights for your journey to Haarlem, making your transition smoother and more enjoyable.