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There are few sights more quintessentially Dutch than that of a windmill looming over a river, and the Molen (windmill) de Adriaan is one of the finest examples in the region.The imposing wooden tower has been a definitive feature on Haarlem’s skyline since the 18 century, although the existing windmill is actually a reconstruction (the original sadly burnt down in 1932).You might even spot some highland cattle as you meander through the winding cycle paths.In the summer months the beach clubs of Zandvoort and Bloemendaal throb with activity, whilst the winter months offer a serene escape and lovely walking routes. Visitors to the Corrie ten Boomhuis can view the hiding place located behind a fake wall in her bedroom, used to conceal Jewish people in hiding and others on the run from the Nazi occupying forces.With the Noordzee, Bloemendaal’s beaches and the coastal town of Zandvoort easily reachable by bike, the seaside is just a short trip outside of Haarlem and makes for an enjoyable cycle through kilometres of wild dunes.
It is the capital of the province of North Holland and is situated at the northern edge of the Randstad, one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. It is a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam, and many residents commute to the country's capital for work.But don’t miss the chance to explore the smaller streets characteristic of this historic city, such as the Schagchelstraat, Kleine Houtstraat, Anegang, Warmoesstraat, Koningstraat and Gierstraat: all of which feature a selection of unique shops and specialist stores. Haarlem is a city known for its Hofjes (enclosed courtyard gardens), and there are beautiful green spaces tucked away behind many an unassuming street – most dating back to medieval times.The gardens are surrounded by charitable almshouses and were used to house poor, unmarried or widowed women.Haarlem also has a close connection to water, with the Spaarne river meandering through the heart of city and various canals and waterways weaving their way between ancient monuments and sights.It’s a beautifully relaxed way to explore the city, and a great way to get your bearings before setting off to explore the sights in more detail. All that sightseeing and shopping is thirsty work, so be sure to drop by this former church to worship at the altar of beer.