Haarlem, Netherlands - Shopping with my sister in the great city of Haarlem nearby Amsterdam. Haarlem has one of the best shopping streets in the Netherlands.
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.
The town of Halfweg became a suburb, and 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.