Haarlem for Digital Nomads: The Ultimate Guide

Why Haarlem is a Digital Nomad Hotspot

Digital Nomads

Haarlem, a picturesque city in the Netherlands, has become a magnet for digital nomads from around the world. Why? Because it offers a vibrant and supportive community that understands the unique needs of remote workers. Imagine having a network of like-minded individuals who share your passion for travel, work, and adventure. That's exactly what you'll find in Haarlem.

The city regularly hosts meetups, workshops, and events tailored to digital nomads. These gatherings provide excellent opportunities to collaborate, learn, and build lasting friendships. Whether you're a seasoned nomad or just starting your remote work journey, Haarlem's thriving digital nomad community will make you feel right at home.

Affordable Cost of Living

One of the most significant advantages of choosing Haarlem as your digital nomad base is its affordable cost of living compared to other Dutch cities. While nearby Amsterdam may be more well-known, it comes with a hefty price tag. Haarlem, on the other hand, offers a more budget-friendly alternative without compromising on quality of life.

To give you a better idea, here's a table comparing the average monthly expenses in Haarlem and Amsterdam:

Expense Haarlem Amsterdam
Accommodation (1-bedroom apartment) €1,000 - €1,500 €1,500 - €2,500 Coworking Space Membership €150 - €250 €200 - €400 Meal at a Local Restaurant €15 - €25 €20 - €35 Public Transportation (Monthly Pass) €50 - €75 €90 - €120

As you can see, living in Haarlem allows you to stretch your budget further without sacrificing your standard of living. This affordability is a huge draw for digital nomads looking to make the most of their time abroad.

Vibrant Culture and History

Haarlem is a city that seamlessly blends its rich history with a vibrant modern culture. As you wander through the charming cobblestone streets, you'll be surrounded by stunning medieval architecture, including the iconic Grote Markt (central market square) and the impressive Sint-Bavokerk (St. Bavo Church). These historical landmarks serve as a constant reminder of the city's fascinating past. But Haarlem isn't stuck in the past. The city boasts a thriving art scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and cultural events throughout the year. From the modern art exhibits at the Frans Hals Museum to the annual Haarlem Jazz & More festival, there's always something exciting happening in the city.

Foodies will also find plenty to love in Haarlem. The city is home to a diverse array of restaurants, cafes, and markets, offering everything from traditional Dutch cuisine to international flavors. Don't miss the opportunity to sample local specialties like stroopwafel, poffertjes, and the famous Jopen beer, brewed right in the heart of Haarlem.

Easy Access to Amsterdam and Other Cities

While Haarlem itself has plenty to offer, its strategic location makes it an ideal base for exploring the rest of the Netherlands and beyond. The city is just a short train ride away from Amsterdam, allowing you to enjoy all the benefits of the Dutch capital without the high costs and crowds.

But why stop at Amsterdam? Haarlem is also well-connected to other Dutch cities and even international destinations. Here are a few examples of the easy access you'll enjoy:

  • Amsterdam: 15 minutes by train
  • Schiphol Airport: 20 minutes by train
  • Rotterdam: 45 minutes by train
  • The Hague: 50 minutes by train
  • Brussels, Belgium: 2 hours by train
  • Paris, France: 3.5 hours by train

With such convenient access to transportation hubs, you can easily plan weekend getaways or attend business meetings in other cities without the hassle of long commutes. This connectivity is a huge asset for digital nomads who value the ability to explore new places while maintaining their work commitments.

Finding Accommodation in Haarlem

Short-Term Rentals

When you first arrive in Haarlem, short-term rentals are an excellent option to help you get settled and explore the city. There are numerous websites and platforms that offer short-term accommodation, such as Airbnb, Booking.com, and Expedia. These rentals can range from cozy studio apartments to spacious houses, catering to various preferences and budgets. One of the benefits of short-term rentals is the flexibility they offer. You can book a place for a few days, weeks, or months, depending on your needs. This is particularly useful if you're unsure about how long you'll be staying in Haarlem or if you want to test out different neighborhoods before committing to a longer-term arrangement.

When searching for short-term rentals, be sure to read reviews from previous guests and carefully examine the photos and descriptions provided by the hosts. This will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises and ensure that you find a place that meets your expectations.

Long-Term Rentals

If you plan on staying in Haarlem for an extended period, long-term rentals are the way to go. Not only do they offer more stability and comfort, but they also tend to be more cost-effective than short-term options. In Haarlem, you can find a variety of long-term rental properties, including apartments, houses, and even houseboats along the picturesque canals. To find long-term rentals, you can use websites like Pararius, Funda, and Holland2Stay. These platforms specialize in connecting tenants with landlords and offer a wide range of properties to suit different needs and budgets. It's also worth joining local Facebook groups and expat communities, as they often have listings for long-term rentals and can provide valuable insights into the rental market.

When signing a long-term rental agreement, be sure to carefully review the contract and ask any questions you may have before committing. It's also a good idea to have a native Dutch speaker or a legal professional look over the contract to ensure that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

Coworking Spaces and Cafes for Digital Nomads

TOP 5 Coworking Spaces in Haarlem

Are you looking for the perfect coworking space in Haarlem? Look no further! I've compiled a list of the top 5 coworking spaces that cater to the needs of digital nomads like you and me. These spaces offer a productive environment, reliable Wi-Fi, and a community of like-minded professionals.

  1. The Haarlem Office: Located in the heart of the city, this modern coworking space offers flexible desk options, private offices, and meeting rooms. Plus, they have a fantastic rooftop terrace where you can work or relax.
  2. Forza Business Center: With its sleek design and state-of-the-art facilities, Forza Business Center is a top choice for digital nomads. They offer a range of membership options and host regular networking events.
  3. BizSpace Haarlem: This coworking space is known for its friendly atmosphere and collaborative community. They have a variety of workspaces, from open desks to private offices, and offer free coffee and tea.
  4. Spaces Haarlem: Part of the international Spaces chain, this coworking space offers a professional environment with a creative twist. They have a mix of open and private workspaces, as well as a café and outdoor terrace.
  5. Werkplaats 45: Located in a former factory building, Werkplaats 45 has a unique industrial charm. They offer flexible desk options and private studios, as well as a kitchen and lounge area for breaks.

No matter which coworking space you choose, you'll find a welcoming community and a productive environment to help you thrive as a digital nomad in Haarlem.

Cafes with Reliable Wi-Fi and Power Outlets

Sometimes, you just want to switch things up and work from a cozy café. Luckily, Haarlem has plenty of cafes that cater to digital nomads, offering reliable Wi-Fi and power outlets. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Mogador Café: This charming café has a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of seating options. They offer free Wi-Fi and have power outlets available, making it a great spot to work while enjoying a delicious coffee or lunch.
  • Mica Coffee Bar: Known for its specialty coffee and tasty breakfast options, Mica Coffee Bar is a popular choice among digital nomads. They have fast Wi-Fi and a few power outlets, as well as outdoor seating for sunny days.
  • BY LIMA: This trendy café has a minimalist design and a focus on healthy, organic food. They offer free Wi-Fi and have power outlets available, as well as a quiet back room that's perfect for working.
  • Soothe Coffee Roasters: If you're a coffee lover, you'll appreciate the expertly crafted beverages at Soothe Coffee Roasters. They have a spacious seating area with free Wi-Fi and power outlets, making it a comfortable spot to work.

Remember to be considerate of other patrons and the café staff when working from a café. Try to make a purchase every few hours, and be mindful of how long you stay during busy periods.

Libraries and Public Spaces for Working

If you're looking for a quiet, focused environment to work, consider checking out one of Haarlem's libraries or public spaces. These venues offer free Wi-Fi, plenty of seating options, and a studious atmosphere that's perfect for productivity. The Stadsbibliotheek Haarlem (Haarlem Public Library) is a popular choice among digital nomads. With its modern facilities, ample workspaces, and free Wi-Fi, it's a great spot to hunker down and get some work done. Plus, the library hosts a variety of events and workshops that can help you expand your skills and network with other professionals. Another option is the Haarlem Stadhuis (City Hall). While it may not be the first place that comes to mind for working, the Stadhuis has a spacious atrium with plenty of seating and free Wi-Fi. It's a great spot to work for a few hours, and you can even take a break to explore the historic building.

Finally, don't overlook Haarlem's many parks and green spaces. During the warmer months, parks like the Haarlemmerhout and the Kenaupark offer a peaceful outdoor setting for working. Just be sure to bring a fully charged laptop and a mobile hotspot or tethering plan to stay connected.

Navigating Haarlem as a Digital Nomad

Public Transportation Options

One of the great things about living in Haarlem as a digital nomad is the ease of getting around. The city has a comprehensive public transportation system that includes buses and trains, making it simple to navigate the city and beyond. If you plan on using public transportation regularly, consider getting an OV-chipkaart. This reloadable smart card can be used on all forms of public transport in the Netherlands, including trains, buses, trams, and metros. You can purchase an anonymous OV-chipkaart at most train stations, supermarkets, and convenience stores. Simply load credit onto the card and tap in and out when you board and exit your chosen mode of transport.

For those times when you need to travel outside of Haarlem, the city's train station offers easy connections to major Dutch cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague. With frequent trains and affordable fares, you can easily plan day trips or attend meetings in other cities without the hassle of driving.

To help you navigate the public transportation system, there are several helpful apps and websites to keep in mind:

  • 9292.nl: This website and app provide comprehensive journey planning for all forms of public transport in the Netherlands. Simply enter your starting point and destination, and 9292 will provide you with the best route options.
  • NS.nl: The official website and app of the Dutch national railway, NS.nl allows you to plan train journeys, purchase tickets, and check for any service disruptions.
  • GVB.nl: If you plan on traveling to Amsterdam, the GVB website and app will be your go-to resource for navigating the city's public transportation system, including trams, buses, and metros.

By familiarizing yourself with these resources and the public transportation options available in Haarlem, you'll be able to easily navigate the city and beyond as a digital nomad.

Cycling in Haarlem

One of the best ways to experience Haarlem like a local is by cycling. The city has an extensive network of bike paths and a strong cycling culture, making it a safe and enjoyable way to get around. Plus, cycling is often faster than public transportation for short distances and allows you to explore the city's charming streets and hidden gems at your own pace. If you don't have your own bicycle, there are several options for renting one in Haarlem. Many bike shops offer daily or weekly rentals, and there are also bike-sharing programs like Donkey Republic and OV-fiets that allow you to rent a bike using an app.

When cycling in Haarlem, be sure to follow the local traffic rules and etiquette. Always ride on the right side of the bike path, use hand signals when turning, and yield to pedestrians when crossing sidewalks. It's also a good idea to invest in a sturdy bike lock to keep your rental secure when parked.

If you're new to cycling or feeling a bit rusty, consider taking a guided bike tour of Haarlem. These tours are a great way to familiarize yourself with the city's layout and bike paths while learning about its history and culture from a knowledgeable guide. Some popular options include the Haarlem Highlights Bike Tour and the Haarlem Food and Drink Bike Tour.

Traveling to Other Dutch Cities

One of the perks of being a digital nomad in Haarlem is the easy access to other Dutch cities. Thanks to the Netherlands' extensive rail network, you can quickly and easily travel to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and beyond. This makes it simple to attend meetings, visit clients, or explore new destinations on your days off.

Here's a quick overview of some popular Dutch cities and how long it takes to reach them from Haarlem by train:

Destination Travel Time
Amsterdam 15-20 minutes Rotterdam 50-60 minutes The Hague 50-60 minutes Utrecht 60-70 minutes

To make the most of your travels, consider purchasing a discount rail pass like the NS Flex or Dal Voordeel. These passes offer significant savings on train fares, especially during off-peak hours. You can also use the NS app or website to plan your trips, purchase tickets, and check for any service disruptions.

If you're planning a longer trip or want to explore other parts of the Netherlands, consider taking advantage of the country's extensive intercity bus network. Companies like Flixbus and BlaBlaBus offer affordable fares and comfortable coaches, making it easy to visit destinations like Groningen, Maastricht, or even neighboring countries like Belgium and Germany.

Learning Basic Dutch Phrases

While most Dutch people speak excellent English, learning a few basic Dutch phrases can go a long way in helping you feel more connected to your new home. Not only will locals appreciate your efforts to speak their language, but it can also make everyday interactions like shopping, dining out, or asking for directions much smoother.

Here are a few essential Dutch phrases to get you started:

  • Hello: Hallo
  • Goodbye: Tot ziens
  • Please: Alstublieft
  • Thank you: Dank u wel
  • Yes: Ja
  • No: Nee
  • Excuse me: Pardon
  • I don't speak Dutch: Ik spreek geen Nederlands
  • Do you speak English?: Spreekt u Engels?
  • I'm lost: Ik ben verdwaald

To take your Dutch language skills to the next level, consider enrolling in a language course or using a language-learning app like Duolingo or Babbel. Many Dutch universities and language schools offer courses specifically designed for expats and international students, with flexible schedules to accommodate your work commitments.

Another great way to practice your Dutch is by attending language exchange meetups or joining conversation clubs. These informal gatherings allow you to practice speaking Dutch with native speakers while helping them improve their English or another language you may know. Not only will you improve your language skills, but you'll also have the opportunity to make new friends and expand your social circle in Haarlem.

Socializing and Networking in Haarlem


Meetups and Events for Digital Nomads

One of the best ways to connect with other digital nomads in Haarlem is by attending meetups and events specifically designed for remote workers. These gatherings provide an opportunity to network, share experiences, and learn from others in the community.

Some popular meetup groups for digital nomads in Haarlem include:

  • Haarlem Digital Nomads: This group hosts regular meetups, workshops, and social events for digital nomads and remote workers in the Haarlem area. From coworking days to skill-sharing sessions, there's always something going on.
  • Haarlem Entrepreneurs: While not specifically for digital nomads, this meetup group is a great place to connect with other entrepreneurs and business owners in Haarlem. They host monthly networking events and workshops on topics like marketing, finance, and personal development.
  • Haarlem Tech Society: If you work in the tech industry, this meetup group is a must-join. They host regular talks and workshops on topics like programming, data science, and artificial intelligence, as well as social events for tech enthusiasts.

In addition to meetups, keep an eye out for larger events and conferences geared towards digital nomads and remote workers. Nomad City, for example, is an annual conference that brings together digital nomads from around the world for a week of workshops, talks, and networking events. While it's typically held in Spain, there are plans to expand to other European cities in the future.

To stay up-to-date on the latest events and happenings in the Haarlem digital nomad community, be sure to join relevant Facebook groups and follow local coworking spaces and meetup organizers on social media. You can also check out websites like Eventbrite and Meetup.com for a comprehensive list of upcoming events in the area.

Expat Communities

In addition to the digital nomad community, Haarlem is home to a thriving expat population. Connecting with other expatriates can be a great way to make friends, learn about Dutch culture, and get tips on navigating life in the Netherlands. One of the most active expat groups in Haarlem is the Haarlem Expats Meet Up group on Facebook. With over 5,000 members, this group is a great resource for connecting with other internationals in the area. They host regular social events, including happy hours, game nights, and day trips to other Dutch cities. Another great resource for expats in Haarlem is the Haarlem International Center. This non-profit organization offers a variety of services and resources for internationals, including language courses, legal advice, and cultural events. They also host regular meetups and workshops specifically designed for expats, covering topics like Dutch bureaucracy, healthcare, and employment.

If you're looking to connect with expats from a specific country or region, there are also many nationality-based groups in Haarlem and the surrounding areas. Some popular ones include:

  • Americans in Haarlem
  • Brits in Haarlem
  • Indians in Haarlem
  • Australians in the Netherlands

These groups often host their own social events and meetups, providing an opportunity to connect with others who share your cultural background and experiences.

Language Exchange Groups

If you're looking to practice your Dutch language skills while helping others improve their English, joining a language exchange group is a great option. These groups bring together native speakers of different languages to practice conversation skills and cultural exchange. One popular language exchange group in Haarlem is the Haarlem Language Café. This group meets regularly at local cafes and bars to practice speaking Dutch, English, and other languages in a relaxed, informal setting. It's a great way to make new friends, learn about different cultures, and improve your language skills all at the same time. Another option is the Haarlem Tandem Language Exchange group on Meetup.com. This group pairs native Dutch speakers with native English speakers for one-on-one language exchange sessions. You can meet up with your language partner at a local café, park, or even online via Skype or Zoom.

If you prefer a more structured language exchange experience, consider signing up for a language course that includes a conversation component. Many Dutch language schools offer courses that pair students with native Dutch speakers for regular conversation practice. This can be a great way to improve your speaking skills while also getting feedback and guidance from a qualified language instructor.

Sports and Outdoor Activities

Haarlem is a city that truly embraces outdoor living, with plenty of opportunities for sports and recreation. Joining a sports team or outdoor activity group is a great way to stay active, make new friends, and explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area. One popular outdoor activity in Haarlem is cycling. The city has an extensive network of bike paths and a strong cycling culture, making it easy to get around on two wheels. Consider joining a local cycling club or group, such as the Haarlem Cycling Club or the Haarlem Recreational Cycling Meetup. These groups organize regular rides and events for cyclists of all skill levels, from leisurely tours of the countryside to more challenging road races.

If you prefer team sports, Haarlem has a variety of options to choose from. The city is home to several amateur football (soccer) clubs, including HFC EDO and Koninklijke HFC. There are also clubs for field hockey, cricket, and rugby, as well as a thriving ultimate frisbee scene.

For those who enjoy water sports, Haarlem's proximity to the coast and the Spaarne river provides plenty of opportunities for sailing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Consider joining a local water sports club or renting equipment from one of the many outdoor recreation shops in the city.

Finally, don't forget about the many parks and green spaces in and around Haarlem. The Haarlemmerhout, for example, is a beautiful forested park just outside the city center that's perfect for hiking, jogging, or just enjoying a picnic on a sunny day. The nearby dunes and beaches of Bloemendaal and Zandvoort are also great spots for outdoor recreation, with opportunities for swimming, surfing, and beach volleyball in the summer months.

Exploring Haarlem's Food Scene

Traditional Dutch Cuisine

Are you ready to dive into the delicious world of traditional Dutch cuisine? Haarlem is the perfect place to do just that! From savory bitterballen to sweet stroopwafels, there's no shortage of mouth-watering dishes to try. One must-visit spot for traditional Dutch fare is Frietkamer. This cozy restaurant serves up some of the best fries (patat) in town, along with a variety of classic snacks like krokets, frikandellen, and kaassoufflés. Be sure to try their patatje oorlog, which comes loaded with mayonnaise, peanut sauce, and raw onions. Trust me, it's a flavor combination that just works.

Another dish you won't want to miss is stamppot. This hearty meal consists of mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables like kale, carrots, or sauerkraut, often served with a side of smoked sausage (rookworst). You can find delicious stamppot at cozy pubs like Café Briljant and Grand Café Brinkmann.

Restaurant Must-Try Dish
Frietkamer Patatje Oorlog Café Briljant Boerenkool Stamppot Grand Café Brinkmann Zuurkool Stamppot Toujours Bitterballen

Of course, no exploration of Dutch cuisine would be complete without trying some classic desserts. Here are a few sweet treats you won't want to miss:

  • Stroopwafel: Two thin, crispy waffles with a layer of caramel syrup in between. Best enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Poffertjes: Fluffy mini pancakes served with butter and powdered sugar. A popular treat at outdoor markets and festivals.
  • Appeltaart: Dutch apple pie, often made with a buttery crust and a generous filling of cinnamon-spiced apples.

You can find these desserts and more at local bakeries like Bakkerij Schuiteman and Bakkerij Tetteroo, as well as at many cafes and restaurants throughout the city.

International Restaurants

While traditional Dutch cuisine is definitely worth exploring, Haarlem also boasts a diverse array of international restaurants. From Italian pasta to Indian curries, there's something to satisfy every craving. One standout spot for international flavors is Restaurant Fris. This trendy eatery serves up creative, globally-inspired dishes like coconut curry mussels, lamb kebab, and truffle risotto. With its stylish decor and innovative menu, it's no wonder Fris is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

If you're in the mood for some spice, head to Memories of India. This cozy restaurant offers a wide selection of authentic Indian dishes, from creamy butter chicken to fiery vindaloo. Don't miss their garlic naan, which is baked fresh to order in their tandoor oven.

For a taste of the Mediterranean, check out Dakos Greek Deli. This charming spot specializes in fresh, flavorful Greek cuisine, including gyros, souvlaki, and homemade dips like tzatziki and hummus. They also offer a great selection of Greek wines and beers to pair with your meal.

Cuisine Restaurant Must-Try Dish
International Restaurant Fris Coconut Curry Mussels Indian Memories of India Butter Chicken Greek Dakos Greek Deli Gyros Pita Italian Trattoria La Preferita Cacio e Pepe

Other noteworthy international restaurants in Haarlem include:

  • Spaarne66: A Michelin-starred restaurant serving innovative, globally-inspired cuisine.
  • Pizzeria Vesuvio: Authentic Neapolitan pizza baked in a wood-fired oven.
  • Sanur: Flavorful Indonesian rijsttafel and other specialties.
  • Woodstone Pizza: Gourmet wood-fired pizza with creative toppings.

No matter what type of cuisine you're craving, Haarlem's diverse food scene has something to offer.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

Gone are the days when vegetarians and vegans struggled to find decent dining options. In Haarlem, there's a growing number of restaurants and cafes catering to plant-based diets, so you can enjoy delicious meals without compromising your values. One standout spot for veggie-friendly fare is By Lima. This stylish cafe offers a completely vegetarian menu, with plenty of vegan options as well. From their vegan "bacon" and avocado toast to their spicy lentil soup, everything on the menu is fresh, flavorful, and satisfying.

Another great option is Vegabond West, a vegan deli and grocery store. Here, you can stock up on plant-based pantry staples or grab a quick bite from their deli counter. Their vegan sausage rolls and "tuna" salad sandwiches are particular crowd-pleasers.

For a sit-down meal, check out Slurp Ramen. While not exclusively vegetarian, this trendy ramen joint offers a delicious vegan ramen bowl topped with tofu, mushrooms, and plenty of veggies. They also have a great selection of vegan appetizers and sides.

Restaurant Must-Try Dish Vegetarian/Vegan
By Lima Vegan "Bacon" Avocado Toast Both Vegabond West Vegan Sausage Roll Vegan Slurp Ramen Vegan Ramen Bowl Vegan option Popocatepetl Vegetarian Burrito Vegetarian option

Other veggie-friendly spots in Haarlem include:

  • Mica Coffee Bar: Offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan breakfast and lunch options.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Watson: A fully vegan restaurant serving up innovative, plant-based cuisine.
  • SLA: A salad bar with plenty of vegetarian and vegan toppings to choose from.
  • Bagels & Beans: Has several vegetarian and vegan bagel sandwich options.

With so many delicious plant-based options available, it's easier than ever to maintain a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle in Haarlem.

Markets and Food Festivals

Want to experience Haarlem's food scene like a local? Then you won't want to miss the city's vibrant markets and food festivals. These events showcase the best of local and regional cuisine, from fresh produce to artisanal cheeses and baked goods. The star of Haarlem's market scene is undoubtedly the Saturday Grote Markt. Held every Saturday from 9 AM to 4 PM in the heart of the city, this bustling market features over 50 stalls selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to clothing and home goods. Be sure to arrive early to beat the crowds and snag the best deals. For a more specialized food market, check out the monthly Haarlem Artisanal Food Market. Held on the first Sunday of every month at the Klooster, this market features over 40 local and regional producers showcasing their handmade cheeses, jams, baked goods, and more. It's the perfect place to stock up on gourmet goodies or grab a bite from one of the many food trucks.

If you're visiting Haarlem in the summer, don't miss the annual Haarlem Culinair food festival. Held over three days in August, this event brings together top local chefs and restaurants for a celebration of all things delicious. Visitors can sample small plates from dozens of restaurants, attend cooking demos and workshops, and enjoy live music and entertainment.

Other notable food festivals and events in Haarlem include:

  • Haarlem Coffee Festival (April): A celebration of specialty coffee culture, with tastings, workshops, and more.
  • Haarlem Wine Festival (June): A showcase of local and international wines, with tastings and food pairings.
  • Boerenmarkt Haarlem (every Friday): A weekly farmers market featuring fresh, locally-grown produce and artisanal products.
  • Chocoladefestival Haarlem (October): A chocolate lover's paradise, with tastings, demonstrations, and workshops.

Whether you're a foodie looking to sample the latest culinary trends or a bargain hunter in search of the freshest local produce, Haarlem's markets and food festivals have something for everyone.

Leisure Activities and Attractions in Haarlem

Museums and Galleries

Haarlem is a city steeped in history and culture, with a thriving arts scene that's sure to impress. From world-renowned museums to cutting-edge galleries, there's no shortage of inspiring spaces to explore. The crown jewel of Haarlem's museum scene is the Frans Hals Museum. Housed in a stunning 17th-century building, this museum is dedicated to the works of Frans Hals, one of the most famous painters of the Dutch Golden Age. In addition to an extensive collection of Hals' portraits, the museum also features works by other notable Dutch artists such as Jan Steen and Jacob van Ruisdael.

Another must-visit museum is the Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands. Founded in 1778, this museum is a true cabinet of curiosities, with exhibits spanning everything from natural history to fine art. Highlights include the stunning Oval Room, a soaring space filled with scientific instruments and fossils, and the Painting Gallery, which features works by masters like Rembrandt and Michelangelo.

For a more contemporary art experience, check out the De Hallen Haarlem. This cutting-edge exhibition space is housed in a former industrial complex and features rotating exhibitions of modern and contemporary art from around the world. Recent shows have included everything from immersive video installations to large-scale sculptures.

Museum/Gallery Must-See Exhibit/Artwork
Frans Hals Museum Portrait of Isaak Abrahamsz Massa by Frans Hals Teylers Museum The Oval Room De Hallen Haarlem Rotating contemporary art exhibitions Galerie Année Cutting-edge contemporary art by emerging artists

Other noteworthy museums and galleries in Haarlem include:

  • The Corrie Ten Boom House: A museum dedicated to the life and work of Corrie Ten Boom, who helped hide Jews during World War II.
  • The Haarlem Historical Museum: Offers a fascinating look at the city's history, from the Middle Ages to the present day.
  • Galerie Ramakers: A contemporary art gallery showcasing the work of established and emerging Dutch artists.
  • Gallery 37: Features a diverse selection of contemporary art, from paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media.

Whether you're a history buff, an art aficionado, or simply looking for a dose of culture and inspiration, Haarlem's museums and galleries have something to offer.

Parks and Green Spaces

One of the best things about Haarlem is its abundance of parks and green spaces. From lush gardens to sprawling forests, there are plenty of opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and connect with nature. The star of Haarlem's park scene is undoubtedly the Haarlemmerhout. Located just outside the city center, this expansive forest park covers over 100 hectares and features a variety of walking and cycling trails, as well as plenty of spots for picnicking and relaxing. In the spring, the park is particularly beautiful, with a carpet of colorful wildflowers and blooming trees.

Another popular spot is the Kennemer Duinen National Park. Located just west of Haarlem, this sprawling park features miles of sandy dunes, forest trails, and pristine beaches. Visitors can explore the park on foot, by bike, or even on horseback, and there are plenty of opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting along the way.

For a more manicured green space, check out the Haarlem City Garden (Stadskweektuin Haarlem). This charming community garden features a variety of themed gardens, from a butterfly garden to a medicinal herb garden, as well as a cozy tea house and plenty of spots for picnicking and relaxing.

Park/Green Space Must-Do Activity
Haarlemmerhout Picnicking under the blooming cherry trees in spring Kennemer Duinen National Park Exploring the sandy dunes and pristine beaches Haarlem City Garden Relaxing with a cup of tea in the cozy tea house Bolwerken Park Admiring the historic city walls and fortifications

Other noteworthy parks and green spaces in Haarlem include:

  • Bolwerken Park: A peaceful park built around the historic city walls and fortifications.
  • Frederikspark: A charming neighborhood park with plenty of spots for picnicking and relaxing.
  • Haarlemmer Kweektuin: A historic botanical garden with a variety of exotic plants and trees.
  • Molenplas: A scenic lake surrounded by walking and cycling trails, perfect for a leisurely stroll or bike ride.

Whether you're looking for a peaceful spot to read a book, a scenic trail for hiking or cycling, or simply a place to soak up some sunshine and fresh air, Haarlem's parks and green spaces have something to offer.

Beaches and Coastal Areas

One of the best things about living in Haarlem is its proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches and coastal areas in the Netherlands. Whether you're looking to soak up some sun, take a refreshing dip in the North Sea, or simply enjoy a scenic walk along the shore, there are plenty of options to choose from. The most popular beach destination for Haarlem locals is undoubtedly Zandvoort aan Zee. Located just a short train ride from the city center, this wide, sandy beach is the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. The beach is also lined with plenty of cafes, restaurants, and beach clubs, so you can easily spend a full day here.

Another great option is Bloemendaal aan Zee. This upscale beach resort is known for its stylish beach clubs and high-end restaurants, as well as its wide, sandy beach and excellent water quality. It's a popular spot for young professionals and families alike.

For a more laid-back beach experience, head to IJmuiden aan Zee. This unspoiled stretch of coastline is located just north of Haarlem and is known for its rugged natural beauty. The beach here is wide and sandy, with plenty of space to spread out and relax, and there are also several nature reserves and hiking trails nearby.

Beach/Coastal Area Must-Do Activity
Zandvoort aan Zee Taking a surfing lesson at one of the many surf schools Bloemendaal aan Zee Enjoying a gourmet meal at one of the stylish beach clubs IJmuiden aan Zee Hiking through the nearby nature reserves and sand dunes Wijk aan Zee Exploring the charming historic village and scenic harbor

Other noteworthy beaches and coastal areas near Haarlem include:

  • Scheveningen: A popular beach resort near The Hague, known for its pier, Ferris wheel, and lively boardwalk.
  • Noordwijk aan Zee: A wide, sandy beach with plenty of space for swimming, sunbathing, and beach sports.
  • Castricum aan Zee: A quieter, more unspoiled beach with excellent water quality and nearby nature reserves.
  • Egmond aan Zee: A historic fishing village with a wide, sandy beach and charming town center.

No matter what type of beach experience you're looking for, you're sure to find it within easy reach of Haarlem.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Haarlem may be a historic city, but that doesn't mean it's short on nightlife and entertainment options. From cozy pubs and trendy bars to live music venues and comedy clubs, there's something for everyone after the sun goes down. One of the most popular spots for a night out in Haarlem is the Grote Markt. This historic square is lined with plenty of bars and restaurants, many of which have outdoor seating areas that are perfect for people-watching and soaking up the lively atmosphere. Be sure to check out Tierney's Irish Pub for a pint of Guinness and some live music, or Bruxelles Biercafé for an extensive selection of Belgian beers.

For a more intimate, speakeasy-style experience, head to The Wolfhound Bar. This cozy spot is located in the basement of a historic building and serves up creative cocktails and tasty bar snacks in a stylish, vintage-inspired setting. It's the perfect place for a date night or a low-key evening with friends.

If live music is more your scene, check out Patronaat. This popular music venue hosts a diverse lineup of local and international acts, from indie rock bands to electronic DJs. With its excellent sound system and intimate atmosphere, it's a great spot for discovering new music or dancing the night away.

| Bar/Venue | Must-

Try Drink/Experience | | --- | --- | | Tierney's Irish Pub | A pint of Guinness and some live Irish music | | Bruxelles Biercafé | One of the many Belgian beers on tap | | The Wolfhound Bar | A creative cocktail in the speakeasy-style atmosphere | | Patronaat | Catching a live show by an up-and-coming indie band |

Other noteworthy nightlife and entertainment options in Haarlem include:

  • Jopenkerk: A unique brewery and bar housed in a former church, serving up house-brewed beers and tasty pub fare.
  • Teylers Café: A cozy café by day that transforms into a lively bar with live music and DJs at night.
  • Philharmonie Haarlem: A stunning concert hall that hosts classical music performances, jazz concerts, and more.
  • Schuur Theater: A historic theater that presents a variety of plays, musicals, and comedy shows.
  • Club Ruis: A popular dance club with multiple rooms playing different genres of music, from house to hip-hop.

Whether you're in the mood for a quiet drink with friends, a night of dancing and live music, or a cultural experience like a theater show or classical concert, Haarlem has plenty to offer after dark. Just be sure to pace yourself - with so many great options to choose from, you'll want to save some energy for exploring the city's daytime attractions as well!

Practical Information for Digital Nomads

Visa Requirements and Registration

If you're planning to stay in the Netherlands for an extended period as a digital nomad, it's important to familiarize yourself with the country's visa requirements and registration procedures. The specific requirements will vary depending on your nationality and the length of your stay. For most EU/EEA citizens, no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days. However, if you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you'll need to register with the local municipality and obtain a BSN (Burgerservicenummer), which is a unique identification number used for taxes, healthcare, and other official purposes.

For non-EU/EEA citizens, the requirements are a bit more complex. Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a Schengen visa for stays of up to 90 days. For longer stays, you'll need to apply for a residence permit, which can be done through the IND (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst). The specific type of residence permit you'll need will depend on your situation, such as whether you're self-employed or working for a Dutch company.

Here's a quick overview of the different types of residence permits that may be relevant for digital nomads:

Permit Type Description
Highly Skilled Migrant For employees of Dutch companies who meet certain salary and education requirements Entrepreneur For self-employed individuals who plan to start a business in the Netherlands Startup For entrepreneurs who plan to launch an innovative business with scalable potential European Blue Card For highly skilled non-EU/EEA citizens who meet certain salary and education requirements

Regardless of your specific situation, it's important to start the visa and registration process well in advance of your planned arrival date. The application process can take several weeks or even months, and you'll need to provide a variety of documents, such as proof of income, health insurance, and accommodation.

If you're unsure about the specific requirements for your situation, it's a good idea to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer or visit the IND website for more information. The Dutch government also offers a useful online tool called the "Residence Wizard" that can help you determine which permit type is right for you based on your individual circumstances.

Healthcare and Insurance

One of the great things about living in the Netherlands as a digital nomad is the country's high-quality healthcare system. However, it's important to understand how the system works and what your options are for insurance coverage. The Dutch healthcare system is based on a mandatory insurance scheme, which means that everyone who lives or works in the Netherlands is required to have basic health insurance coverage. This coverage is provided by private insurance companies, but the government sets the minimum level of coverage that must be provided.

If you're working for a Dutch company, your employer will typically arrange your health insurance coverage as part of your benefits package. However, if you're self-employed or working remotely for a foreign company, you'll need to arrange your own coverage.

There are a variety of health insurance options available for digital nomads in the Netherlands, including:

  • Dutch public health insurance: If you're planning to stay in the Netherlands for more than a year, you may be eligible for the Dutch public health insurance system. This system provides comprehensive coverage for a wide range of medical services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription medications.
  • International health insurance: If you're planning to travel frequently or split your time between the Netherlands and other countries, an international health insurance plan may be a good option. These plans provide coverage for medical emergencies and routine care both in the Netherlands and abroad.
  • Travel insurance: If you're only planning to stay in the Netherlands for a short period (less than a year), a travel insurance policy may be sufficient. These policies typically provide coverage for emergency medical care and evacuation, but may not cover routine care or pre-existing conditions.

Regardless of which option you choose, it's important to carefully review the details of your coverage and make sure you understand what is and isn't covered. Some key things to look for include:

  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions
  • Prescription medication coverage
  • Dental and vision coverage
  • Coverage for mental health services
  • Coverage for alternative and complementary therapies

In addition to health insurance, it's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Dutch healthcare system and how to access care when you need it. The Netherlands has a network of general practitioners (GPs) who serve as the first point of contact for most medical needs, as well as a system of specialized clinics and hospitals for more advanced care. If you have a non-emergency medical issue, your first step should be to contact your GP or visit a local walk-in clinic (huisartsenpost). For emergency care, you can visit the emergency department (spoedeisende hulp) at your nearest hospital. In case of a life-threatening emergency, you can call 112 for an ambulance.

Overall, the Dutch healthcare system is known for its high quality and accessibility, and with the right insurance coverage and a bit of knowledge about how the system works, you can feel confident that you'll be well taken care of during your time in the Netherlands as a digital nomad.

Banking and Finance

As a digital nomad in the Netherlands, you'll need a reliable way to manage your money and pay for day-to-day expenses. Fortunately, the Dutch banking system is well-developed and user-friendly, with a variety of options for international visitors. One of the most popular banking options for digital nomads in the Netherlands is to open a local bank account. This can be a good choice if you're planning to stay in the country for an extended period and want to avoid international transaction fees and exchange rate fluctuations.

Some of the largest and most reputable banks in the Netherlands include:

  • ING Bank: One of the largest banks in the Netherlands, with a wide network of branches and ATMs and a user-friendly mobile app.
  • Rabobank: A cooperative bank with a focus on sustainability and social responsibility, as well as a range of digital banking services.
  • ABN AMRO: A major Dutch bank with a full range of personal and business banking services, including options for international clients.
  • bunq: A fully digital bank with a focus on mobile banking and innovative features like shared accounts and budgeting tools.

To open a bank account in the Netherlands, you'll typically need to provide proof of identification, proof of address, and evidence of your legal status in the country (such as a residence permit or registration with the local municipality). Some banks may also require a minimum deposit or charge fees for certain services, so be sure to shop around and compare your options before making a decision.

If you prefer not to open a local bank account, another option is to use a digital banking service like Wise (formerly TransferWise) or Revolut. These services allow you to hold and exchange multiple currencies, make international transfers, and pay with a debit card in local currency. They can be a good choice for digital nomads who need flexibility and low fees, but may not have all the same features and protections as a traditional bank account.

Banking Option Pros Cons
Local bank account Access to full range of banking services, no international transaction fees May require proof of long-term residence, minimum balance or fees Digital banking service Flexibility, low fees, multi-currency support May not have all the same features and protections as a traditional bank International bank account Familiarity, access to funds in home country International transaction fees, limited local support

Regardless of which banking option you choose, it's also a good idea to have a plan for managing your finances and budgeting as a digital nomad. This may include setting aside money for taxes, tracking your expenses, and having an emergency fund for unexpected costs. There are a variety of budgeting and expense tracking apps available, such as Mint, YNAB, and Personal Capital, that can help you stay on top of your finances while living and working abroad.

Another important consideration for digital nomads in the Netherlands is taxes. If you're working for a Dutch company or have a Dutch bank account, you may be subject to Dutch income tax and other taxes. However, if you're working remotely for a foreign company or clients, your tax situation may be more complex. It's a good idea to consult with a qualified tax professional or financial advisor to understand your tax obligations and ensure that you're complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

Staying Connected (Mobile Plans and Internet)

As a digital nomad in Haarlem, staying connected is essential for both work and personal life. Whether you need to join a video conference call, upload files to the cloud, or simply keep in touch with friends and family back home, having reliable internet and mobile service is key.

Fortunately, the Netherlands has a well-developed and affordable telecommunications infrastructure, with a variety of options for mobile plans and internet service. Here's what you need to know to stay connected during your time in Haarlem:

Mobile Plans:

The Netherlands has a competitive mobile market, with several major providers offering a range of plans and packages for international visitors. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Vodafone: Offers a variety of prepaid and postpaid plans with data, calling, and texting, as well as international roaming options.
  • T-Mobile: Has a range of plans for both short-term and long-term visitors, with options for data, calling, and texting within the Netherlands and the EU.
  • KPN: The largest mobile provider in the Netherlands, with a variety of plans and packages for both local and international use.
  • Lebara: A popular choice for international visitors, with affordable prepaid plans and international calling options.

When choosing a mobile plan, be sure to consider your specific needs and usage habits. If you'll be making a lot of international calls or traveling frequently within the EU, look for plans with generous international allowances. If you mainly need data for work and browsing, prioritize plans with high data caps and fast speeds.

Internet Service:

The Netherlands has a highly developed broadband internet infrastructure, with some of the fastest speeds and most affordable prices in Europe. The most common options for home internet service are:

  • Cable: Offered by providers like Ziggo and Caiway, cable internet uses the same network as cable television and can offer speeds up to 1 Gbps.
  • DSL: Provided by companies like KPN, DSL internet uses phone lines to deliver internet service. Speeds can vary depending on the quality of the lines and the distance from the provider's exchange.
  • Fiber: The fastest and most reliable option, fiber internet uses fiber-optic cables to deliver speeds up to 1 Gbps or even faster. However, availability can be limited depending on the area.

When choosing an internet provider, be sure to compare prices, speeds, and contract terms. Some providers may offer discounts for bundling internet with other services like TV or mobile, while others may have more flexible contract options for short-term stays.

Internet Option Pros Cons
Cable Fast speeds, widely available Can be more expensive than DSL DSL Affordable, good for basic browsing and email Slower speeds, reliability can vary Fiber Fastest speeds, most reliable Limited availability, can be more expensive

In addition to home internet service, there are also plenty of options for staying connected on the go in Haarlem. Many cafes, libraries, and public spaces offer free Wi-Fi, and there are also several coworking spaces and internet cafes that cater specifically to digital nomads and remote workers.

Ultimately, the best mobile and internet options for you will depend on your specific needs, budget, and length of stay in Haarlem. By doing your research and comparing options, you can find the right combination of services to keep you connected and productive during your time in this charming Dutch city.

Seasonal Guide for Digital Nomads in Haarlem

Spring in Haarlem

Spring is a wonderful time to be a digital nomad in Haarlem. As the weather starts to warm up and the days grow longer, the city comes alive with a variety of outdoor events and activities. Here are some of the highlights of spring in Haarlem:

Tulip Season: The Netherlands is famous for its tulips, and spring is the best time to see them in all their colorful glory. From mid-March to early May, you can visit the nearby Keukenhof Gardens to see over 7 million tulips, daffodils, and other spring flowers in bloom. You can also take a bike ride through the surrounding tulip fields for a truly unforgettable experience.

King's Day: Celebrated on April 27th (or April 26th if the 27th falls on a Sunday), King's Day is a national holiday in the Netherlands that honors the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. The streets of Haarlem come alive with orange-clad revelers, live music, and street markets selling everything from secondhand goods to food and drinks. It's a festive and fun-filled day that's not to be missed.

Bevrijdingspop Haarlem: Held on May 5th, this free music festival celebrates the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation during World War II. The festival features a variety of local and national acts, as well as food and drink stalls and other activities.

Outdoor Dining: As the weather warms up, Haarlem's many cafes and restaurants start to open their outdoor seating areas, making it the perfect time to enjoy a meal or drink al fresco. Whether you're sipping a coffee in the Grote Markt or enjoying a beer at a canalside bar, spring is a great time to take in the city's lively atmosphere.

Summer in Haarlem

Summer is peak season in Haarlem, with warm weather, long days, and plenty of outdoor events and activities to enjoy. Here are some of the highlights of summer in Haarlem:

Haarlem Culinair: Held in early August, this annual food festival brings together some of the best chefs and restaurants in the region for a weekend of culinary delights. The festival features live cooking demonstrations, tastings, and a variety of food and drink stalls, making it a must-visit for foodies and gourmands.

Haarlem Jazz & More: Also held in August, this annual music festival features a diverse lineup of jazz, blues, soul, and world music acts from around the globe. The festival takes place at various venues throughout the city, including the historic Grote Markt square.

Beach Days: With Haarlem's proximity to the North Sea coast, summer is the perfect time to enjoy a day at the beach. The nearby beaches of Zandvoort and Bloemendaal are popular spots for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, and are easily accessible by bike or public transport from Haarlem.

Outdoor Markets: Summer is the best time to explore Haarlem's many outdoor markets, with the Grote Markt hosting a weekly farmers market on Saturdays and a weekly antiques market on Sundays. You can also find many other smaller markets throughout the city, selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.

Autumn in Haarlem

Autumn is a beautiful time to be a digital nomad in Haarlem, with mild weather, changing leaves, and a variety of cultural events to enjoy. Here are some of the highlights of autumn in Haarlem:

Haarlem Film Festival: Held in early October, this annual film festival features a diverse lineup of independent and international films, as well as workshops, talks, and other events for film enthusiasts.

Boekenmarkt Haarlem: Held on the last Sunday of October, this annual book market is a must-visit for bibliophiles and collectors. The market features over 100 stalls selling a wide variety of new and used books, as well as prints, postcards, and other literary ephemera.

Haarlem Oktoberfest: Held in late September or early October, this annual beer festival brings a taste of Bavaria to Haarlem, with a variety of German beers, food, and live music.

Held on the last weekend of October, this annual autumn market features over 100 stalls selling a variety of seasonal goods, including pumpkins, gourds, and other fall decorations.

Winter in Haarlem

Winter is a magical time to be a digital nomad in Haarlem, with festive markets, cozy cafes, and a variety of cultural events to enjoy. Here are some of the highlights of winter in Haarlem:

Kerstmarkt Haarlem: Held in December, this annual Christmas market transforms the Grote Markt into a winter wonderland, with over 300 stalls selling a variety of holiday gifts, decorations, and treats. The market also features live music, a skating rink, and a variety of food and drink options.

Haarlem Winterbier Festival: Held in late January, this annual beer festival features a variety of winter and holiday-themed beers from local and international breweries, as well as live music and food stalls.

Haarlem Lichtjesparade: Held in December, this annual light parade features a procession of illuminated floats and performers winding through the streets of Haarlem, ending with a festive celebration in the Grote Markt.

Oliebollenkraam: No Dutch winter is complete without a visit to an oliebollenkraam, or a mobile stall selling traditional Dutch oliebollen (fried dough balls) and other sweet treats. You can find these stalls throughout Haarlem during the winter months, particularly around the holidays.

Ice Skating: While Haarlem may not have the same extensive network of canals as Amsterdam, there are still plenty of opportunities for ice skating during the winter months. The city sets up temporary ice rinks in various locations, including the Grote Markt and the Kenaupark.

Overall, winter in Haarlem is a festive and charming time to visit, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the city's cozy cafes, holiday markets, and cultural events. Just be sure to bundle up and embrace the Dutch concept of gezelligheid (coziness and conviviality) to make the most of the season.


Key Takeaways for Digital Nomads Considering Haarlem

As we've seen throughout this guide, Haarlem is an attractive destination for digital nomads looking for a blend of history, culture, and modern amenities. With its proximity to Amsterdam, charming historic center, and thriving community of remote workers and expats, Haarlem offers a unique and rewarding experience for those looking to live and work abroad.

Some of the key takeaways for digital nomads considering Haarlem include:

  • A vibrant and supportive community of remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, with plenty of opportunities for networking and collaboration.
  • A wide range of coworking spaces, cafes, and other work-friendly venues, catering to different needs and preferences.
  • A historic and picturesque city center, with plenty of cultural attractions, parks, and green spaces to explore in your downtime.
  • Easy access to Amsterdam and other major Dutch cities, as well as a variety of convenient transportation options for exploring further afield.
  • A thriving food and drink scene, with a mix of traditional Dutch cuisine and international flavors to suit all tastes and budgets.
  • A range of accommodation options, from short-term rentals to long-term apartments and co-living spaces, to fit different needs and budgets.
  • A relatively affordable cost of living compared to Amsterdam and other major European cities, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious digital nomads.

Of course, Haarlem may not be the right fit for everyone, and it's important to carefully consider your own needs, preferences, and budget before making the move. Some potential drawbacks to keep in mind include:

  • A somewhat smaller and less diverse expat community compared to larger cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam.
  • Limited availability of some services and amenities, particularly in the evening and on weekends, compared to larger cities.
  • A relatively high cost of living compared to some other popular digital nomad destinations, particularly in Asia or Latin America.
  • Potential language barriers and cultural differences, particularly for those who don't speak Dutch or are new to European culture.

Overall, however, Haarlem offers a compelling and attractive option for digital nomads looking for a balance of history, culture, and modern amenities in a charming and livable city. With the right preparation and mindset, it can be a rewarding and enriching place to live and work remotely.

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the vibrant life of Haarlem. For more stories, tips, and local insights, keep exploring HaarlemToday. Don’t forget to share your favorite articles with friends and join the conversation on our social media channels. Until next time, keep discovering the unique flavors and experiences that make our city special