Museums and Windmills

It's a dry and mild day in Haarlem in the Netherlands.   Right after breakfast we visited the Grote Kerk.   We thought they might be having a Sunday service, but when we went inside, we heard the sounds of clanking coffee cups and noticed it must be fellowship hour for church members.  The Grote Kerk  was built between 1390-1540 . There's a magnificent pipe organ made of mahogany wood with tin pipes that's three stories tall. Mozart played here when he was only 10 years old.  Outside the church are tiny shops tucked into the walls. These were placed here to bring in money for the church.

The V&D department store is known for its panoramic view from the cafe on the top floor. We decided to check it out and discovered a market style cafe with farm fresh salads, fruits, and appealing fruit juices in glass containers with fresh fruit inside.

Our first museum of the day was the Frans Hals Museum. We learned there are not a lot of historic records about his early life, but it is believed that he was born the 16th century in Antwerp. Frans Hals painted three types of portraits: groups, individual dignitaries, and less fortunates. We saw restoration in progress of one large painting. A woman was meticulously removing varnish with two inch by two inch squares.  They believe that earlier attempts to restore the paintings caused damage to the colors. Lunch was in the outdoor garden. I couldn't read the Dutch  menu so took a chance and ordered Hippy veggie toasty. It was a toasted sandwich with grilled zucchini and eggplant layered on top of humus. It was delicious.

Our second museum of the day was Teylers Museum. It is a museum of Mr. Teylers' personal collection which included gemstones, fossils, cave bear skeletons, scientific instruments,  paintings, shells, and coins all labeled by hand in perfect calligraphy. A special exhibit featured the history of music players from phonographs to CD players. At the end, they pointed out that even though people no longer need their music recorded and played on an actual music player, music is everywhere in the Internet world. 

Our map showed a windmill museum just down the road along the canal. We got there just as public tours were closing, but a kind woman agreed to give us a private tour. We learned about the technology behind windmills as well as their purpose in the Netherlands today.  Dave asked our guide if she has heard of Rick Steves, Much to our surprise she said, " Yes. A Rick Steves' tour will be here in 15 minutes."  Rick's tours often start here in Haarlem and we both agreed that if you are planning a European tour, Haarlem is a great place to begin your journey.


CoachSparky said…
That's wild to know that Mozart played in the church you visited.

Nice job ordering lunch!

Did you take any pictures of the perfect calligraphy?

As soon as I saw the name of the town (Haarlem), I was wondering if there was any relation to Harlem, New York. Sure enough, there is!
Explorer Bear said…
that's so interesting about Harlaam. Thanks for looking that up. As for lunch, I always just want to make sure there's no goat cheese which they seem to love here!

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