At Kruisstraat 44, Van Oorschot Hofje is one of the most recognizable almshouses in Haarlem with its open courtyard view.
‘Back in the days, hofjes were built as charitable almshouses bequeathed by a rich person or a church who offered these accommodation for free to support the aged elderly woman. Most of the hofjes were named after their founder whose name would thus live on as a legacy.’
From Haarlem train station, most commuters would walk or cycle along Kruisweg follow by Kruisstraat towards Grote Markt. Van Oorschot almshouses are located at a busy junction, end of Kruisstraat across Hema department store.
The van Oorschot almshouses were established in 1768 after the death of its founder, Wouter van Oorschot. Wouter wanted to secure a residential facility for poor elderly woman at least 50 years of age from the Reformed Church. In addition, he stipulated that his staffs and their descendants to be given priority in the allocation of housing and two homes were to be reserved for Van Oorschot own relatives. However, due to conflict of interest with the neighbor across the road (the big fancy house) this construction plan was nearly abandoned. The neighbor across who were two city officials demanded a beautiful garden with a fence in rococo style if such almshouses were to be built. The budget of 20,000 guilders proved insufficient to realize the plan. That was probably the intention of these city authorities. The city council decided to step in and made all possible. Van Oorschot almshouses were built in 1770. The court consists of two wings, each with eight apartments and a main building with home on each side. (Source: http://www.hofjesinhaarlem.nl/hofjes-…/hofje-van-oorschot-2/)
The view of the courtyard is clearly visible through the large steel gate at the front. It is a beautiful garden! Take a moment to admire the architecture, the shield of benefactor at main building, the statue, the manicured garden or the detailed gate.
Did you know? The bronze statue of Eve by Johann Limpers (1915-1944) in the middle of this courtyard was stolen in 1987. A replica was made and replaced.
Opens to visitors Mondays-Fridays from 10am to 5pm. Please show your utmost respect for privacy when visiting.
Video (Dutch): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufpU4SIvP9k