By now you probably have seen one of the many posters around the city. However, if you missed this news, sit back and prepare yourself as the residents of Haarlem are in for 6 days of apocalypse like transformation and the good kind! This year our great city of Haarlem will host 3FM’s Serious Request Live. From 18th December to 24th December, a predicted 1.5 million visitors will gather in our city over the course of the 6 days. Why? For a good cause.
Every year, 3 DJ’S live in a glass house for 6 days to raise money for charity. They get some pretty cool houseguests too, as big names (and we are talking about international big names!), stop by to perform live. Naturally, this means Haarlem will be transformed to accommodate the influx of visitors who hope to catch a live performance and media who present the event live on television. From meetings to a dedicated website, Gemeente Haarlem has been working hard to ensure everyone has a good time. This does mean, however, locals may need to prepare like there is an upcoming apocalypse.
Already from 1st of December, many places in the centre of Haarlem are cut off for parking as they begin to build the glass house in the Grote Markt to house the 3 DJs. By the time the event starts on 18th December, most streets in the centre will be closed for all traffic. In addition, public transport will be re-routed in and around the centre of Haarlem. You may need to start coming up with plan A and B (maybe C for good measure) of how to get to work. Cycling to the gym is also out of the question as so many people will be walking around the city, most cycling paths will be non-existent.
To accommodate the crazy estimation of visitors to Haarlem. The city has asked stores to remain open until 22.00 every evening and restaurants until 4am, but it is up to the owner to decide. So yes, this is a non-stop 6 day party. Warn your boss now that you may be lacking sleep during these 6 days; but hey, looking like a zombie in the office is for a good cause! Every year the event raises money and awareness for different charities. This year it is to support the Red Cross and their campaign ‘Hands off our girls.’ A campaign to help women of sexual and domestic violence in situations of war and humanitarian crisis. So, I am totally on board for long journeys to work and lack of sleep for the cause.
Focus will not just be on the Grote Markt. Other places such as Patronaat will host an event to highlight up and coming artists. Nieuwe Groenmarkt will host events and Houtplein will host a closing ceremony. Who will perform? The guests are always a surprise, but some artists are already known. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Haarlem event without our local legend VanVelzen (yes, ‘the baby get higher’ guy). The event puts all eyes on Haarlem, as it is not only the most popular radio program of the year, but also gets international recognition. Although selling wine at the corner may be key to paying off my wedding. Let’s leave all business ventures at the door and let local businesses shine. However, if you wish to volunteer, the city is still accepting volunteers. The Gemeente has a great website (go to Haarlem marketing) dedicated to the event with information about the event, how the city is preparing and where to make noise complaints. But noise complaints? C’mon.. let’s not be that expat, after all it is all for charity!
This in the centre of Haarlem living gal is a little scared the supermarket may run out of food, or I will be battling it out in the banana section for the last banana. Not to sound dramatic, but it is looking like a good idea to stock up on some essentials before the flood of people arrive. It may also be wise to beef up my gym routine, to ensure I have strength to get through the crowds to see the live acts. Basically hibernation from 18th December to 24th December is out of the question in Haarlem. So grab your end of the world plan and gear up for 3FM Serious Request. It may seem like the apocalypse is coming, but this is not the Walking Dead kind, it is the good kind!
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