Corrie ten Boomhuis, Haarlem

By Diane Harrison
This item appears on page 14 of the September 2019 issue.

Grote Kerk in the Grote Markt pedestrian area of Haarlem. Photos by Diane Harrison

My parents and I spent six days in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in May 2019. Before our vacation, we ordered Amsterdam attraction and travel passes and discovered that the I amsterdam City Card (www.iamsterdam.com) includes attractions outside of Amsterdam, most notably in the nearby city of Haarlem.

A 24-hour card costs 60 (near $68) per person, with prices going up from there, depending on the number of hours. We were in the area for six days, so we each purchased one 24-hour card for 60 and one 120-hour card for 115.

The cost for having the cards mailed to us was 39.99. Shipment was via DHL Global Mail, which promised delivery within 10 working days.

In researching the attractions in Haarlem, we learned that the ten Boom family of the World War II Dutch resistance movement had lived in the city. We had seen the movie “The Hiding Place,” documenting the family’s resistance activities during the war, and decided that the Corrie ten Boomhuis was a “must see.”

On the day of our trip to Haarlem, we purchased round-trip rail tickets between Amsterdam and Haarlem for 10 each at Amsterdam Centraal station. The trip from there to Haarlem Centraal station takes 20 minutes, and trains run frequently.

Haarlem’s city center is very walkable, with good signage. At least two tourist information centers provided free walking maps. We walked to the Grote Markt pedestrian area in the center of town to get oriented and to admire the Grote Kerk, a church also known as Sint-Bavokerk.

We used our I amsterdam City Cards to visit both locations of the Frans Hals Museum as well as the Teylers Museum. We also discovered the free Archeological Museum, next to the Frans Hals Museum at the Hal location.

But the highlight of our visit to Haarlem was the Corrie ten Boomhuis (Barteljorisstraat 19; www.corrietenboom.com).

Boats and houses along one of Haarlem's many canals – Netherlands.

The museum can be visited only on a guided tour, which takes about an hour. Tours are given every day except Sundays and Mondays. Space on a morning tour given in English can be reserved on the website. However, due to uncertainty about our travel schedule, we opted for the 1:30 p.m. English tour that is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

We arrived at the house at 11:45 a.m. and were the first in line for the 1:30 tour. Though the group size limit is 20, there ended up being 30 in our group, including quite a few children.

After entering the Corrie ten Boomhuis and sitting down in the family’s living room, our guide talked about the ten Boom family, the Dutch resistance movement and Corrie’s life and work after her release from Ravensbruck concentration camp.

We saw Corrie’s bedroom and the “hiding place” where Jewish people and members of the Dutch resistance hid from the Nazi regime. The experience was very moving, and we highly recommend this site to anyone interested in World War II and/or Jewish history.

Payment for the museum tour is by donation. Photography is not allowed inside the house. There is a small bookshop on site.

We really enjoyed the unique and interesting sites of Haarlem.

DIANE HARRISON
Chesterfield, MO