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Haarlem gets my vote as the most livable Dutch city

This 15th century Gothic church took more than 150 years to build; St Bavo Church, right in the center of the city, is visible for miles around

This 15th century Gothic church took more than 150 years to build; St Bavo Church, right in the center of the city, is visible for miles around

I had the hottest day all year here for my day of sightseeing; there were tons of boats on the water as locals tried to cool off

I had the hottest day all year here for my day of sightseeing; there were tons of boats on the water as locals tried to cool off

Of the original 12 city gates, this is the only one remaining; built in 1355, it stands where the road from Amsterdam enters the city

Of the original 12 city gates, this is the only one remaining; built in 1355, it stands where the road from Amsterdam enters the city

The Teylers Museum is the oldest in the Netherlands (1778) and has a hodgepodge of art, minerals, scientific instruments, coins and a beautiful oval room

The Teylers Museum is the oldest in the Netherlands (1778) and has a hodgepodge of art, minerals, scientific instruments, coins and a beautiful oval room

In 1632 a tow canal between Haarlem and Amsterdam, the Haarlemmertrekvaart was opened, the first tow canal in the country; the city is also on the first rail line built in the Netherlands

In 1632 a tow canal between Haarlem and Amsterdam, the Haarlemmertrekvaart was opened, the first tow canal in the country; the city is also on the first rail line built in the Netherlands

In the 14th century Haarlem was a major city; it was the second largest city in historical Holland after Dordrecht and before Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam and Rotterdam

In the 14th century Haarlem was a major city; it was the second largest city in historical Holland after Dordrecht and before Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam and Rotterdam

The Frans Hals Museum, founded in 1862, is located in an old almshouse; the collection includes great paintings from Hals as well as others from artists of the Dutch Golden Age

The Frans Hals Museum, founded in 1862, is located in an old almshouse; the collection includes great paintings from Hals as well as others from artists of the Dutch Golden Age

When Amsterdam became the major trading city in the country Haarlem became a quiet bedroom community, and for this reason Haarlem still has many of its medieval buildings intact

When Amsterdam became the major trading city in the country Haarlem became a quiet bedroom community, and for this reason Haarlem still has many of its medieval buildings intact

The Netherlands' greatest pipe organ in St. Bavo Church dates from 1738; it's 100 feet high with 5000 pipes and has been played by Handel and Mozart (at age 10)

The Netherlands' greatest pipe organ in St. Bavo Church dates from 1738; it's 100 feet high with 5000 pipes and has been played by Handel and Mozart (at age 10)

The Grote Markt (Market Square) is the town's delightful centerpiece where 10 streets come together; it has been here for 700 years and, since the 1990s, entirely car free

The Grote Markt (Market Square) is the town's delightful centerpiece where 10 streets come together; it has been here for 700 years and, since the 1990s, entirely car free

This is the oldest safe in Haarlem dating from the 15th century and now in St. Bavo Church; it contained, among other things, the city charter of Haarlem

This is the oldest safe in Haarlem dating from the 15th century and now in St. Bavo Church; it contained, among other things, the city charter of Haarlem

The Botermarkt is typical of spaces used for weekly neighborhood markets; it's also where locals can gather to socialize most evenings

The Botermarkt is typical of spaces used for weekly neighborhood markets; it's also where locals can gather to socialize most evenings

The Corrie ten Boom House was interesting but tours in English are few so I attended a Dutch tour; each tour is limited to 20 people and there aren't many tours each day

The Corrie ten Boom House was interesting but tours in English are few so I attended a Dutch tour; each tour is limited to 20 people and there aren't many tours each day

The Corrie ten Boom Museum is a smaller version of the Anne Frank House which focuses on Corrie's family that hid Jews in their house during World War II

The Corrie ten Boom Museum is a smaller version of the Anne Frank House which focuses on Corrie's family that hid Jews in their house during World War II

The Haarlem City Hall started as a royal hunting lodge in the mid-1200s; rebuilt after a fire in 1351, this building has served as city hall since about 1400

The Haarlem City Hall started as a royal hunting lodge in the mid-1200s; rebuilt after a fire in 1351, this building has served as city hall since about 1400

Haarlemmers credit this man with inventing modern printing; he got the idea of making movable type 40 years before Gutenberg

Haarlemmers credit this man with inventing modern printing; he got the idea of making movable type 40 years before Gutenberg

This Flemish Renaissance building is the old meat hall from 1603; today it houses the Archaeology Museum and temporary art exhibits

This Flemish Renaissance building is the old meat hall from 1603; today it houses the Archaeology Museum and temporary art exhibits

The city was destroyed by fire in 1351 and again in 1576; the plague killed 5,000 (about half the population) in 1381

The city was destroyed by fire in 1351 and again in 1576; the plague killed 5,000 (about half the population) in 1381

The New Church dates from 1613; this city of 160,000 is only 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam so many people commute there for work

The New Church dates from 1613; this city of 160,000 is only 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam so many people commute there for work

This ornate copper choir screen at St. Bavo Church is from 1517; just behind it is the grave of the Netherlands' greatest Golden Age portrait painter, Frans Hals

This ornate copper choir screen at St. Bavo Church is from 1517; just behind it is the grave of the Netherlands' greatest Golden Age portrait painter, Frans Hals

Unlike my first visit in 1990, I have not eaten at a McDonald's this trip; the city center locations are typically in attractive, historic buildings

Unlike my first visit in 1990, I have not eaten at a McDonald's this trip; the city center locations are typically in attractive, historic buildings

I had some raisin bread that I couldn't resist sharing with this goose; it got to where it would grab it from my fingers and let out a squawk that obviously told its mate that there was food

I had some raisin bread that I couldn't resist sharing with this goose; it got to where it would grab it from my fingers and let out a squawk that obviously told its mate that there was food

The only windmill in the central city is actually a 2002 reproduction but you can go inside and see the inner workings of a windmill; the original 1779 windmill burned down in 1932

The only windmill in the central city is actually a 2002 reproduction but you can go inside and see the inner workings of a windmill; the original 1779 windmill burned down in 1932

With weimaraners originating in Germany it should be no surprise that they are in the Netherlands; the dogs wanted to get the show on the road and seemed impatient waiting for the skipper to get off the phone

With weimaraners originating in Germany it should be no surprise that they are in the Netherlands; the dogs wanted to get the show on the road and seemed impatient waiting for the skipper to get off the phone

The Haarlem weigh house dates from 1597; Haarlem has been the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears its nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city) for this reason

The Haarlem weigh house dates from 1597; Haarlem has been the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears its nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city) for this reason

In the book The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas, there are several scenes in Haarlem, most notably the ending, and it is the Horticultural Society of Haarlem that offers a reward for a black tulip

In the book The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas, there are several scenes in Haarlem, most notably the ending, and it is the Horticultural Society of Haarlem that offers a reward for a black tulip

This dome is an unusual parking garage; in 1658, Peter Stuyvesant, the Director-General of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, founded the settlement of New Haarlem in the northern part of Manhattan Island as an outpost of New Amsterdam

This dome is an unusual parking garage; in 1658, Peter Stuyvesant, the Director-General of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, founded the settlement of New Haarlem in the northern part of Manhattan Island as an outpost of New Amsterdam

In 1572 there were about 50 brewing companies in the city; while in 1620 the city numbered about one hundred breweries; originally the water was taken from the canals but once it became too polluted fresh water was shipped in

In 1572 there were about 50 brewing companies in the city; while in 1620 the city numbered about one hundred breweries; originally the water was taken from the canals but once it became too polluted fresh water was shipped in

Yes, I've been given this look before; the train station of Haarlem was part of a set during the movie Ocean's Twelve portraying Amsterdam Central Station

Yes, I've been given this look before; the train station of Haarlem was part of a set during the movie Ocean's Twelve portraying Amsterdam Central Station

Posted by VagabondCowboy 09:08

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