Laren is a village in the Gooi and Vecht region of North Holland. It is mainly known for its association with Laren School of painting, that flourished in the late 19th and early 20th century. It is beautifully located among the forests and heathlands of Het Gooi. Laren has approximately 11,000 inhabitants and is one of the richest municipalities in the Netherlands.
The area around Laren was already settled in the Late Neolithic Period, around 2,500 BC. Some grave mounds from that era can still be found on the nearby heathlands. Current Laren however was founded in the Middle Ages around the Sint Janskapel (Chapel of Saint John). Since this chapel was the main cemetery for the Gooi region, so-called doodwegen (funeral roads)were running straight to it from all directions. Some of these are still visible in the heathlands.
Laren is a typical example of a 'brink' village, with farms grouped around a central square, from where the farmers cultivated their lands and herded their sheep. Because of the predominance of sheep farming, Laren also had a substantial weaving industry.
In the late 19th century, a number of influential painters settled in Laren, and started to paint the surrounding area. Among them was Anton Mauve (1838-1888), the tutor of Vincent van Gogh.
'Return of the Flock', by Anton Mauve
- Geological Museum Hofland (Geologisch Museum Hofland). edit
- Singer Museum. edit
- Poffertjeskraam Cornelis de Haan, Brink 16A (right at the Brink square), ☎ +31 35 538-0458, . Apr-mid Sep Tu-Sa 11:00-21:15, Su 12:00-21:00, mid Sep-Mar closed. This old Dutch restaurant is a must-try, as they serve authentically Dutch "poffertjes" in an authentic Dutch atmosphere. They also serve waffles and drinks. The generations of the De Haan family have been running this restaurant for more than 100 years. It is only open during summertime as they cater to many of the cyclists that cycle around the towns and forests of the Gooi area. €5-€10. edit
- Snackbar Beo, Brinklaantje 14 (near the Brink square), ☎ +31 35 531-4858, . Su-Th 10:00-02:00 F-Sa 10:00-03:00. Snackbar Beo is a real family business. It's quite a simple snackbar, but a good place to try some typical Dutch snacks. Their specialities are the famous dutch kroketten (croquettes), satay, ice cream, filet sandwich, "broodje warm vlees saté" (sandwich filled with warm meat and satay) and hamburgers. edit
- Het Bonte Paard, Naarderstraat 1 (in front of the Brink, at the intersection with the road to Hilversum), ☎ +31 35 538-2092, . M-W 09:00-00:00, Th-Sa 09:00-01:00, Su 11:00-00:00. This old bar has been in existence for more than four centuries. Napoleon is said to have passed this bar on his way to Leusden (and thereby missing a "warm welcome", according to the bar's website). Before the motorway was built in 1921, travellers passed this bar on their way to the south. Nowadays everyone in Laren and its surroundings know this place, as it is a favourite among the rich and famous for networking and socializing. You might spot some Dutch celebrities while having a beer. edit
- Hotel De Witte Bergen, Rijksweg 2, Eemnes/Laren (motorway A1 between exit 9 and 10), ☎ +31 35 539-5800, . This is the only hotel in Laren and it is right on the boundary with neighboring village Eemnes. It is located close to the A1 motorway where it intersects with the A27 motorway. It is part of the Van Der Valk chain of motorway hotels. It could be considered a mid-range hotel with decent rooms, but a lack of character and authenticity. €113. edit