Haarlem, Holland

June 23:

We decided to take a quick day trip to Haarlem, just west of Amsterdam. It’s a quick €4 15 minute hop from Amsterdam Centraal to Haarlem via a direct train.

Espresso in center-city Haarlem!
Crepes in Haarlem

One of the things that Haarlem is known for is its flowers. The city sits just north of the famed tulip fields in Holland that you may have seen pictures of! Unfortunately, we were told that it was a little too late in the season to check out those fields as most of the flowers had already been harvested. Regardless, we loved walking around Haarlem and seeing the flowers and the flower markets all over the city. It smelled amazing!

Flower markets like this were everywhere
An old church built in the 1600s
Flowers in the city
Flowers in the city
More open-air flower markets

One of our favorite things that we have learned about The Netherlands so far is that the Dutch are ingenious when it comes to land reclamation. Over the past several hundred years, the Dutch have invented ways to extend their land deeper into the sea – and as such, it’s one of the only countries that continues to grow in size. First, they build a dam (or “dyke”) in the ocean or in a bay, and once the powerful ocean is sealed off, they pump the water out of the sealed off area until there’s nothing but land beneath. Historically, they used windmills for this kind of thing – which is one of the reasons why you see so many windmills here!

The reclaimed land is often full of good nutrients and historically has been turned into farming land. Just below-sea-level-farming-land! Fascinating.

An old windmill
A beautiful cathedral in Haarlem
Haarlem city streets
Haarlem city streets
Haarlem city streets

Corrie Ten Boom’s historic home is also in Haarlem. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, Corrie Ten Boom is often considered a hero of the 20th century. She helped a large number of Jews escape from the Nazis during the Holocaust by hiding them in her home shown in the pictures below. The home where this occurred has been turned into a museum about her fascinating life. Unfortunately, the museum was closed when we walked by and we weren’t able to go in. Still, having read her book “The Hiding Place” as a child, I found it to be an honor to even stand near the home where such an extraordinary woman lived.

Corrie Ten Boom’s home (now a museum)
Corrie Ten Boom’s home
Some info on the side of Corrie Ten Boom’s house

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