Tuesday, 8 March 2011
ABC Wednesday, H for Haarlem
Haarlem, Harlem in English, is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of Noord Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic. Haarlem lies in the northern part of the Randstad, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Europe.
Haarlem has a rich history dating back to pre-medieval times, as it lies on a thin strip of land above sea level known as the strandwal (beach ridge), which connects Leiden to Alkmaar. The people on this narrow strip of land struggled against the waters of the North Sea from the west, and the waters of the IJ and the Haarlem Lake from the east. Haarlem was able to become wealthy with toll revenues that it collected from ships and travellers moving on this busy North-South route. However, as shipping became increasingly important economically, the city of Amsterdam became the main Dutch city of North Holland during the Dutch Golden Age. Haarlem became a quiet bedroom community, and for this reason, Haarlem still has many of its central medieval buildings intact. Today many of them are on the Dutch Heritage register known as Rijksmonuments. The list of Rijksmonuments in Haarlem gives an overview of these per neighborhood, with the majority in the old city center.
The oldest mentioning of Haarlem dates from the 10th century. By the 12th century it was a fortified town, and Haarlem became the residence of the Counts of Holland.
Illustrations by Anton Pieck
With thanks to Denise Nesbitt, who created ABC.For more interesting ABC posts click on the logo in the sidebar or
Here. This week we are looking for words beginning with H.