Industrial city and capital of the province of North Holland, the Netherlands, 20 km/12 mi west of Amsterdam; population (2003 est) 148,000. At Velsea, to the north, a road and rail tunnel runs under the North Sea Canal, linking North and South Holland. Industries include chemicals, machinery, pharmaceuticals, textiles, paper products, and printing; dairying and livestock-raising (cattle, sheep, and poultry) are also important. Haarlem is in an area of flowering bulbs and has a 15th–16th-century cathedral and a Frans Hals museum.
History Haarlem received its charter in 1245 but lost its privileges in 1492. It took part in the Dutch revolt against Spain in 1572 and was forced to submit to the Duke of Alva's son, Frederick of Toledo, in 1573 (see Haarlem, Battle of). It was recaptured by William of Orange in 1577, who incorporated it in the united Netherlands. It grew in prosperity throughout the 17th century as a refuge for Huguenots and as an artistic centre. The painters Adriaen and Isaack van Ostade, Nicholas Berchem, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Bartholomeus van der Helst were born in Haarlem, and Frans Hals spent most of his life there. Haarlem fell into decline in the 18th century, but developed industries in the 19th century.
Art and architecture Many old buildings are preserved: the Vleeshal (Fleshers' Hall), built in 1603; the Stadsdoelen (town hall), begun in 1250; the 15th-century Grote Kerk (Great Church) of St Bavo, which contains the tomb of painter Frans Hals and a world-famous organ; and several other medieval churches. The statue of the Dutch printer Laurens Janszoon Coster, who shares with Johann Gutenberg the claim to have invented movable printing type, stands in the market place. The Frans Hals museum contains many paintings by Hals and other artists of the Haarlem school. Nearby, at Spaarndam, is a monument commemorating the legendary boy of Haarlem who stopped the leak in a dike with his finger.