Haarlem härˈləm [key], city, capital of North Holland prov., W Netherlands, on the Spaarne River, near the North Sea. Although an industrial center with shipyards, machinery plants, and textile mills, Haarlem is chiefly noted as the center of a famous flower-growing district and the export point for bulbs (especially tulips). Haarlem was chartered in 1245. In 1573 it was sacked by the Spanish during the revolt of the Netherlands. During the 16th and 17th cent., Haarlem was a center of Dutch painting; Frans Hals, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Adriaen van Ostade worked there. Since that period the city has been the center of tulip raising. Among Haarlem's numerous historic buildings are the Church of St. Bavo, or Groote Kerk (15th cent.), which has a world-famous organ; the Stadhuis [city hall], formerly a palace of the counts of Holland, begun in 1250; and many medieval gabled houses. The city also has a number of museums. Nearby is a monument commemorating the legendary boy of Haarlem who stopped a leak in the dike with his finger.

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