In English: Great Church or Sint Bavo Church of Haarlem
Not to be confused with another Cathedral of Saint Bavo situated at the edge of Haarlem city.
Thus, I refer to this church as Grote Kerk.
The Grote Kerk is a Protestant church and a former Catholic cathedral constructed in 1370. It is centrally located on the market square Grote Markt in Haarlem. The church is named after Saint Bavo, the patron saint of Haarlem who died in 653.
Grote Kerk is known for its beautiful wooden ceiling interior and exterior wooden tower that reaches 78 meters into the sky. The floor of the church consists entirely of about 1500 gravestones which date back as far as the 15th century. The famous Dutch golden age portrait painter Frans Hals’ grave lies here since 1666.
The organ of Grote Kerk was built by an Amsterdam organ builder named Christian Müller and it was once the world’s largest organ upon completion in 1738. This organ was played by famous musicians including Mendelssohn, Händel and Mozart when he was 10 years old. Can you imagine the sound of this organ coming out from 5068 pipes?
Visiting Haarlem’s Grote Kerk is a must. The admission fees of €2.50 for adults are affordable. Every visitor will be given a leaflet available in multiple languages as a self-guided walking tour. It has a map with 18 significant references to introduce you to architectural features, fittings and furnishings. Check out the elegant stained glass windows, the 15th century oldest ‘safe’ in Haarlem, the Holy Ghost Bench and more. You can easily spend 30-60 minutes wandering around admiring this monumental basilica.
Grote Kerk is one of the most visited attractions in Haarlem. You can’t miss that colossal church building. But do not miss its small entrance facing the greenish Laurens Janszoon Coster statue. Guided tours are available every Saturday at 1400hrs in Dutch language only. Extra guided tours at 1430hrs only available from 15 May till 1 October. The tour takes about an hour and it costs €5 per person with admission fee included. No reservation required.
Address: Grote Markt 22
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday from 10am -5pm. Opens on Sundays in the month of July and August from 12pm – 5pm with free entry.
Entrance fees: €2.50 (adults), €1.25 (youth 12-16 yrs old)and free for kids age 0-11 years old.
By public transport – 10 minutes walk from Haarlem train station. Or use http://9292.nl/en to plan your public transportation routes.
By car – nearest parking is the Appelaar underground parking garage.
– From May till October the City of Haarlem organizes weekly concerts on the Christian Müller Organ. The concerts at the church are free of charge unless otherwise stated. Check the EVENT page on the website: http://www.bavo.nl/en/musical-events/
– It is possible to arrange (in advance) a private guided tour in other languages such as German, French or English for a €45 minimum price.
– Hear the two small church bells (the ‘Damiaatjes’) ringing everyday between 2100hrs – 2130hrs.
– The greenish statue overseeing Haarlem’s market square Grote Markt – Laurens Janszoon Coster statue: https://www.facebook.com/iBecomingDutch/posts/951897641527026