Top Historic Sights in Haarlem, Netherlands

Explore the historic highlights of Haarlem

Grote Kerk

The Grote Kerk or St. Bavokerk is a former Catholic cathedral located on the central market square in the Dutch city of Haarlem. This church is an important landmark for the city of Haarlem and has dominated the city skyline for centuries. It is built in the Gothic style of architecture, and it became the main church of Haarlem after renovations in the 15th century made it significantly larger than the Janskerk. First men ...
Founded: 1479 | Location: Haarlem, Netherlands

Haarlem City Hall

Around 1100 a wooden building was constructed on the location of the current Gravenzaal of the City Hall. Traces of this building were found in 1955. After large fires in 1347 and 1351, William II, Count of Holland donated the remains of the Gravenzaal to the city"s municipality. A new building was built there. The central square building dates from the Middle Ages, but the distinctive façade of the building w ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Haarlem, Netherlands

Villa Welgelegen

Villa Welgelegen was built by Henry Hope of the famous family banking company Hope & Co. of Amsterdam, from 1785 to 1789 as a summer home to replace the already quite impressive structure that he purchased there in 1769. It is an example of neoclassical architecture, unusual for its style in the Netherlands. Henry Hope was so influential that he persuaded the Haarlem local government to redesign the public park Frede ...
Founded: 1785-1789 | Location: Haarlem, Netherlands

Kleef castle Ruins

The Huis ter Kleef castle was probably built in the late 13th century. In 1403 it was given to Margaret of Cleves (c.1375-1411), and has since retained that name. During the Siege of Haarlem in 1572 it was the headquarters of the Spanish army, under the leadership of the duke of Alva. It was blown up in 1573 and badly damaged, the rubble was used for city expansion. The house nearby with a tower called the 'Kaatsbaan ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Haarlem, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.