On 23 November, in the year 1245, Haarlem received city rights from Count Willem II. That means that this month marks exactly 775 years since Haarlem could call itself a city. The festivities that were planned had to be curtailed due to the current circumstances – though, we can still join together to commemorate the 775th birthday of Haarlem!

Historic Haarlem

Haarlem in the Middle Ages (15th century)

It is a great milestone for Haarlem: celebrating its city status for 775 years – and its beginnings go back a lot longer than that, to pre-medieval times.

Read our popular article about the city’s history here and you’ll discover everything you need to know; like this interesting morsel of information: “Count Willem II granted Haarlem the city rights in 1245 – that is 55 years before Amsterdam was allowed to call itself a city and 95 years before Rotterdam! All throughout the Middle Ages, Haarlem was a major economic hub, richer and more important than Amsterdam, and the second largest city in Holland after Dordrecht.”

Raise a glass to historic Haarlem on 23 November

To commemorate the birthday of Haarlem, the municipality is inviting all Haarlemmers to raise their glasses together on Monday 23 November at 19:00 – from their own home, garden or balcony. Prior to this there will be a speech by Jos Wienen and the children’s mayor Quinten de Lange will announce the recipients of the kinderlintjes – and don’t forget that you have until 16 November to nominate someone for this honour (view our article here).

Mayor Wienen says that a large part of the planned activities and events will be postponed to the spring of 2021 for the time being. “Due to the tightened coronavirus measures, the Haarlem 775 organisation has put together a nice alternative programme. This is so everyone can experience an important historic moment such as Haarlem’s 775th birthday together.”

Toast and take part!

Haarlem city flag

Send in your Haarlem flag photos!

As well as the official toast on 23 November, throughout this month there are a number of other events celebrating Haarlem’s 775 years. This includes exhibitions at Teylers Museum and Sint Bavo church. You can get involved with flying the Haarlem flag and submit a photo to be in with the chance of winning a prize! There is also the chance to take part in ‘Haarlem en ik’ – just pick up a booklet for free (at: Library, Art Center, Hart) and fill it with your own story. Anything is allowed (cutting, pasting, drawing, painting, writing, poetry, pasting photos or other things, embroidering, knitting, crocheting, etc.) and it is hoped all submissions will give an impression of what occupies the residents of Haarlem in the modern city in 2020. Eventually all the booklets will end up in Museum Haarlem and an exhibition is planned.

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    Discover all you need to know at: verjaardaghaarlem.nl
Carmel McNamara
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