Haarlem’s strategic location between Amsterdam and Leiden made it easy to explore the small canal city.  Though it is overshadowed in population and number of landmarks by its neighbors, Haarlem still has many interesting stories to tell.  Haarlem, of course, was the namesake for New York City’s Harlem (when NYC was the “New Amsterdam”) for Dutch settlers.  The Sint Bavokerk cathedral has the largest pipe organ in the world, with pipes over 10 meters long (over 32 feet), and was played by Mozart when he was a young boy.  Haarlem is the home of Dutch master painter Franz Hals, and the Franz Hals Museum is currently housed in the painter’s home/studio.  The city’s town square displays a large statue of Laurens Coster, whom the Dutch claim is the original inventor of the printing press (although Mainz would disagree in favor of Gutenberg).

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