We used to visit Haarlem every week during my study in Holland. Me and my Uni Leiden classmates, Ibnu and Ayat, had a Dutch language private course with Mr. Jan (since Mr. Jan speak Indonesian very fluently, we call him Pak Jan). He is very kind and patient in teaching us. He lives in Heemstede, a smaller town near Haarlem. Before we reach Heemstede, we usually stopover in Haarlem, the nearest bigger town. Haarlem used to be an important city in Holland’s history. It is now the capital of Noord Holland. This small cute town has only 151.800 inhabitants (2011). I’ll say haarlem is a medium city, since it has H&M, hahah (I often use H&M as an indicator that a place is a city or merely a town). There are many landmarks in the downtown, which is unusual for a small (err, did I say small?) city like Haarlem.There is (of course) City Hall and its Grote Markt, Saint Bavo church (seen on picture), Vleeshal (Meat Hall), Hoofdwacht, and some important worth to explore. It will only take half day to stroll the city down. Not to miss is to enjoy the evening in the Spaarne riverbank. A rivercruise is another (standard) choice to take since most cities in Holland will offer canal or river cruise. Haarlem is well worth a visit. Only Haarlem is a small place that made me comeback again and again, as if it is a never-ending big city to be explored like New York. And you know what? There is a neighbourhood in New York called Harlem, that is named after this once powerful Dutch city!


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