Haarlem Shuffle


Schalkwijk shopping mall

A 'cheeky' display in Haarlem

Haarlem has award-winning shopping facilities which draw many people from the surrounding areas as well as tourists. The numerous, picturesque side streets in the city centre contain all kinds of small shops selling everything from antiques to new age products. Exploring these streets is a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

Haarlem has been the main market town for the region for centuries. Nowadays, there is a street market every Monday and Saturday on the main square with food, clothing and a wide range of other articles on offer. The main pedestrianised shopping street is the Grote Houtstraat which runs through the heart of the city, north to south, from the main square to the Houtplein. Many national and international chains can be found here along with a variety of smaller clothes, shoes and sports shops. The shopper in need of refreshment will also find the necessary snack bars and bistros dotted along the way.

The modern suburb of Schalkwijk, to the south-east of town, has a large indoor shopping mall which attracts lots of visitors, especially on rainy days. However, there are none of the more unusual kinds of shops that can be found in the city centre. In the district Haarlem Noord, to the north of the train station, is the Cronjestraat, a long, straight street containing almost a kilometre of varied shops. It has canopies along the shop fronts so rain never has to interrupt the bargain-hunting.

Historically linked with early printing, Haarlem also has its fair share of bookshops, many of which can be found along the Gedempte Oudegracht, just down from the striking Vroom and Dreesman department store. On offer is everything from modern novels to antiquary volumes at specialist shops. There is also an outdoor book market on the Dreef, not far south of the Grote Houtstraat, every second Saturday of the month from March through September.

Late shopping in Haarlem is on Thursday evenings until 9pm. Most shops are closed on Monday mornings and Sundays. If going by car, there are a number of large, public car parks in the centre of town as well as a couple on the fringes. Prices at these parking garages are not expensive - certainly not compared to the hefty rates of the parking meters on the streets.