Haarlem, the Netherlands
Haarlem, a beautiful and family friendly city at only 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam! If you are planning to visit Amsterdam with kids, you should definitely consider to stay in Haarlem, as this beautiful walkable city has it all! Haarlem has plenty of shops, restaurants, museums and even a windmill right in the city center! Haarlem is also very close to the beach, so if you were hoping on a bike ride with kids in the Netherlands, Haarlem would be a better place to do that than in the center of Amsterdam. In about a half an hour on cycle paths, you will be at the beach, or in a beautiful National Park with dunes. Letting the kids run around at the beach in between some days of museum visits in a big city like Amsterdam is always a good idea!
Things to do in Haarlem
Haarlem is a small city with a village feel. It has quite a few good museums, beautiful historical buildings, and all the restaurants and shops you would need.
Corrie ten Boom House, the Hiding Place
The Corrie ten Boom House is a very interesting museum. It tells the history of the Ten Boom family, who lived in the center of Haarlem during World War II and who helped Jewish families and members of the Resistance to hide. The tour and entrance to the museum is free, and you just wait outside until the next tour starts. There are time slots for tours in Dutch and tours in English and a tour lasts for about one hour. Only 20 people can go in at the same time, since the house is not so big. You will be able to see the entrance to the hiding place in Corrie ten Boom’s bedroom closet. There have been several books and films about Corrie ten Boom and her family.
Address of the Corrie ten Boom House: Barteljorisstraat 19, Haarlem. Check out times and opening hours before your visit. Tours are held from 10:00 – 15:30.
Teylers Museum, Museum of Wonder
Teylers Museum in Haarlem is located on the Spaarne river in the center of town and is a very family friendly museum of art and science. They also have a good collection of fossils and often temporary exhibitions. Museum website: https://www.teylersmuseum.nl/en/
Windmill De Adriaan
A lovely windmill in the centre of Haarlem! Windmill De Adriaan is a mill built in 1778. The mill can be visited, but make sure to check the opening hours before you go: https://www.molenadriaan.nl/en/.
Frans Hals Museum
The Frans Hals Museum is one museum in two different buildings at 7 minutes walking distance from each other. There is a collection of the Dutch Golden Age painter Frans Hals who used to live in Haarlem, but there are many other art works from other artists on display as well.
Beer Tasting in an Old Church
Haarlem has its locally brewed beer called Jopen. Adults may appreciate to taste some beers in a beautiful former church building transformed into a brewery, the Jopen Church!
Haarlem is known as a good city to go shopping and it has plenty of small boutique shops. Clothes, home decor shops, you will definitely find something in Haarlem.
Bike rent in Haarlem
We rented bikes at Green Bikes Rent which is located right next to Haarlem Central train station. They had all kinds of bikes, like kids bikes, and also a cargo bike to be able to put a small child in front.
Cycling to the beach or the dunes National Park
It took us about a half an hour to cycle on the cycle paths to the beach. We chose to go to Bloemendaal aan Zee as this is a beach town I like a lot, but you could also go to Zandvoort. The road towards the beach will also have you passing by the entrance of a National Dune Park called ‘Kennemerduinen’ which is also worth it to explore! You can go through the National Park to cycle towards a beach restaurant called ‘Parnassia’ where you can have lunch, or walk through the beautiful dunes.
If you go straight on to Bloemendaal aan Zee, you will have a lot of choices in restaurants on the beach, all with different styles and menus. The beaches in the Netherlands are quite wide and kids love to run around in the wind here!
How to get from Haarlem to Amsterdam
This is very easy and that is what makes Haarlem a great place to stay for families. Haarlem is only at 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station.
Haarlem Amsterdam by train: just buy your tickets at the vending machine right outside the train station, or at the ticket counter.
Train fare Haarlem Amsterdam: about 9 euros for a round trip for an adult.
Since our family lives in Amsterdam, we visit Amsterdam with our kids at least twice a year. You can find all our tips on things to do in Amsterdam with kids here:
There are beautiful hotels right in the center of Haarlem, which makes it easy for families to get out in the evening to one of the many restaurants in the city center.
Hotel Tip! This hotel is right in the center:
An apartment in a historic monumental building that dates from 1625!
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