Haarlem Shuffle

Kerkorgel Festival
Date: Usually late July
Frequency: Every TWO years (even years only)
Location: Various venues

This international Church Organ Festival has been held in Haarlem for many years. There are free recitals in the Grote Kerk on the main square every day while the official festival includes an International Organ Improvisation Competition as well as a Summer Academy for professional organists. Organists and amateurs arrive from all over the world for this biennial event.


Haarlemse Stripdagen
Date: first weekend in June
Frequency: every TWO years (even years only)
Location: various venues

This National Comic Book Festival is a major international event, with top cartoon artists from all over the world in attendance. The artists mix informally with their public at workshops, antique comic fairs, signings and of course parties. Up to 30,000 visitors spread over thirty locations are witness to the prestige of this event, which also includes an award for Best Contemporary Cartoon Artist.


Date: 25 April 2015 (varies each year according to when the Keukenhof exhibition closes)
Frequency: annual
Location: Dep. Noordwijk 09:30h, arr. Haarlem approx: 21:00h

This impressive flower parade snakes for 40km through the Bollenstreek, the area where most flower bulbs are grown. An amazing variety of themed floats and luxury cars decorated with brightly coloured flower petals are watched by hundreds of thousands of spectators along the route. Marching bands and majorettes provide extra entertainment along the route.

Date: 27 April 2015
Frequency: annual
Location: Holland

The national holiday of King's day is celebrated in Haarlem with local festivities all over the town. These include live music and get-togethers at local community centres. There are also street markets throughout the town where anyone can bring and sell anything they want, mainly second-hand goods.


Date: 5 May 2015
Frequency: annual
Location: Haarlemmerhout park

There are many free pop concerts throughout Holland on Liberation Day but Haarlem was the first and is the biggest. Crowds of up to 150,000 turn out to watch a variety of international stars and local acts. There is also a children's festival and a variety of stalls and tents selling everything from t-shirts to exotic food.

Date: 22/23 May 2015 (always on first weekend before Whit Monday)
Frequency: annual
Location: all over Haarlem

Meaning 'Lazybones', this local traditional feastday stemmed from the need in mediaeval times to always be ready to guard your city. Children nowadays are allowed to run around the streets in the early hours of the Saturday morning shouting, ringing door bells and smearing windows with candle wax. A more civilised event is the Friday evening through early Saturday morning all-night plant market near the Houtplein.


Haarlemmerhout Festival
Date: 20/21 June 2015
Frequency: annual
Location: Haarlemmerhout park

This free multi-cultural festival was first held back in 1983 and so has been around for more than twenty years. Attractions include many different kinds of music from all over the world, theatre productions and a children's festival. The festival has grown in recent years and is almost a tradition in Haarlem nowadays, drawing in youngsters from all over Holland.


Haarlem Culinair (a.k.a. Haarlem Leeft!, or Lekkerste Dagen)
Date: 5 - 9 August 2015
Frequency: annual
Location: The main square (Grote Markt)

These days are a unique chance for Haarlem restaurants and cafes to promote their specialities together in stalls on the main square. All kinds of snacks and hors d'oeuvres are on offer from spring rolls to Spanish tapas, and sunny cocktails to champagne. Some of the restaurants in the city centre also set up stalls and tables outside making for a busy but enjoyable scene.

Haarlem Jazz & More
Date: 19-22 August 2015
Frequency: annual
Location: Haarlem City Centre, various venues

A host of jazz artists play at a variety of pubs and clubs in Haarlem city centre, meaning many different acts can be heard just by strolling around in a fairly small area. There are also street concerts, weather permitting, and it is not just jazz that is on offer... The town centre becomes a lively place with the many tourists and locals mingling in a convivial atmosphere.


Open Monumentendagen
Date: 12/13 September 2015
Frequency: annual
Location: Holland

These national open days for viewing listed monuments are a good chance to see the inside of the many listed buildings in Haarlem for free. This includes museums and churches - especially the huge St Bavo Cathedral on the main square - and many other buildings normally closed to the public during the rest of the year.


Arrival of Sinterklaas
Date: 15 November 2015
Frequency: annual
Location: along the river Spaarne and centre of town

The Dutch version of Santa Claus traditionally arrives on a boat from Spain, then rides a grey mare in a parade through town accompanied by his little helpers and marching bands. He is greeted by local dignitaries and meets many of the local children. A fine day out for families with toddlers.