At the end of August we will move from Amsterdam to Haarlem. Why? Mainly because housing prices are so insane in Amsterdam that we would never be able to afford a house/apartment on the ground floor with a small garden and no one living on top of us. We found just that in Haarlem at a price we could afford. We don’t plan to move again until we are too old to walk up stairs anymore and have to move to an old folks home.
That explains why we are leaving Amsterdam, but why Haarlem, as apposed to, say, Alkmaar or Hilversum or Utrecht?
Haarlem is only 15 minutes by train to Amsterdam. Haarlem is only 15 minutes by train to the beach, or 30 minutes by bike. Haarlem has a lovely city center with markets and shops and lots of restaurants to choose from. Haarlem is smaller than Amsterdam and feels a lot more friendly to me. We already have friends who live in Haarlem and we visit there more than any other city outside Amsterdam. There’s a lot to see and do in Haarlem that I haven’t seen or done yet, but when Mom comes to visit in September I will take advantage of that time and do some exploring in my new town.
There’s a very nice Wikipedia entry about Haarlem. The photos you see of paintings made in the 16th and 17th centuries of the Grote Markt look exactly the same as it does today. On the City’s web site there are photos, a movie and a live webcam looking down on the Grote markt. I just looked at it and they are having a Kermis (a kind of fair with rides and games) this weekend.
I don’t have many photos of Haarlem (yet) so I was going to look on Flickr and link to a few on this posting. But there are SO MANY nice photos on Flickr that I just couldn’t choose. So, go to Flickr.com and type “Haarlem” into the search box and see for yourself what a lovely city we are moving to!