The first thing I noticed walking into Haarlem was the impressive gothic St. Bavo's Cathedral which was built in the 14th-15th centuries, in the so-called Kustgotiek ("Coast Gothic") style. A treasure chamber containing religous artifacts is in St Bavo's cathedral's annexe, but we did not visit it.
On my way back to the station I passed by the former catholic Begijnhof-Beguinage of which the church is called since the 16th century the Waalse Kerk or Eglise Wallonne because French is spoken here during the service.
Former catholic churches were given by the Dutch protestant authorities of the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk to Walloon (French speaking) Protestants from the Southern Netherlands (Belgium) on the run for the catholic Spanish occupation.
In the 17th century a second wave of French speaking protestant fugitives, the Huguenots, came from France after the revocation of the freedom of religion, the Edit de Nantes, by the French king Louis XIV.
In this way Haarlem had not only given the hospitality to about 20.000 Flemish fugitives (ref. my tip about "allochtones") but also nearly 2.000 French speaking protestant fugitives from Wallonie or France.
Haarlem was not the only town with such a French speaking community and church.
Presently in the Netherlands you will find 14 protestant churches where French is spoken during the service. I have seen "Waalse Kerken" in Delft and Leiden.
Of course nowadays these religious "fugitives" speak Dutch but French services are still held. In Haarlem once every two weeks on Sunday 10.30 h.
This church, the St. Anna or Nieuwe Kerk is the first church in Haarlem built for the protestant community.
To be able to do so, the Medieval St. Anna church and the adjoining Monastery were demolished in 1644.
Luckily the lovely 45 metres high tower, built by Lieven de Keey in 1613, was saved!
Jacob van Campen had the Nieuwe Kerk built in this space between 1645 - 1649.
This Master also built the Town Hall of Amsterdam on the Dam in Amsterdam.
The Nieuwe Kerk has a groundplan in which the Pulpit has a central place, which is common in Protestant churches.
The massive and austere style of the church is in strong contrast with the very decorative tower.
OPEN: from May to April on Sundays from 11.15AM - 12 (noon)
Every 3rd Sunday of the Month a Service is held and during the winter there several are Organ Concerts on Sundays.
The New Church dates from the 17th century and was designed by Jacob van Campen. It's a rather simple building in Classical style, modelled after the image people had in those days of Jerusalem's temple. Dutch protestants in the 17th century thought of themselves as God's own people and this reference to Jerusalem shows it!
Perhaps the tower is more interesting. It's a bit older, designed by Lieven de Key and executed in Manneristic style.
The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) was built in 1649 from a model of the tempel in Jeruzalem, people thought it looked like in de 17 century.
The church can be visited on Sundays only between 11:15 and 12:00 from October to May.
This church doesn't look very old. But looks can mislead. The front of the building is from 1896, so not very old, but the rest of the church dates back to 1615. So it is old indeed and it is beautiful aswell.
The church was built between 1841 and 1843 and is one of the so called Waterstaat (public Works) Churches. This means that the Department of Public Works had a large finger in the pie while the church was built. The architect was engineer Dansdorp, who also designed the other Waterstaatschurch in Haarlem at the Nieuwe Groenmarkt.
The church doesn't look very interesting on the outside, but inside the church it's beatiful. Especially take a look at the stained windows.
This church us one of the oldest of the city. It dates back from the 15th century. The tower of the church used to have 24 clocks. Unfortunately only 2 of the clocks survived the years. You can see the tower from almost everywhere in the city, because it's so bright and white, with some gold-coloured details.
Go and see the Bakensser Tower in the Bakenessestreet. It is just beautiful! The tower is part of a church. Haarlem has a lot of these, because there are twenty churches here. The best churches to go and see are: 1) The St Bavochurch at the Grote Markt. On Grote Markt you can also admire other buildings and take a look at the statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster, who was said to be the first bookprinter of the world. 2) The big St Bavochurch at the Leidsevaart/Westergracht. The church has a lot of funny shapes at the outside and also is beautiful on the inside 3) Bakenesserchurch, the tower is very pretty as you can see.
In Haarlem you kind all different religions. Originally Haarlem is like the rest of the country Christian, but most people don't have a religion anymore. Other religions that have their churches here: (roman) catholic, muslim/islam, jewish, buddhists, hinduism etc. etc.
The Groenmarkt church was built in 1844. The church has a very characteristic appearance and a beautiful organ. From inside it looks different than most churches.
Earliest buildings from the 14e century and a lot from the 'golden century'. Quiet, peaceful even, especially on a sunday.