Heemstede is a small town in Kennemerland, province of North Holland, Netherlands. It is mainly known as a wealthy suburb of Haarlem. However, it has a small historic centre with some good shopping, and its parks and estates are nice to explore, especially when combined with those in the neighbouring municipality of Bloemendaal.
The name Heemstede is already mentioned around the year 1000. In 1245, the counts of Holland gave Haarlem its city charter, and subsequently the area surrounding Haarlem was divided among noblemen who started to develop it and build fortifications. Slot Heemstede was one of these castles built around 1300, but nothing remains of it. In the 17th century the area became popular with the wealthy elite of Amsterdam, who built a number of stately manors all along the inland side of the coastal dunes. The area has remained attractive for the rich, with numerous villas to be found in Heemstede and the neighbouring villages of Aerdenhout, Overveen and Bloemendaal.
Currently, Heemstede has about 30,000 inhabitants.
The N208 is the major access road into the municipality from both Haarlem and Leiden. From Amsterdam, take the A9 motorway and then the N205 in the direction Haarlem-Zuid.
- The trainstation of Heemstede-Aerdenhout is on the intercity line between Amsterdam and Vlissingen, offering direct connections to Haarlem (5 mins), Amsterdam (20 mins), Leiden (20 mins), The Hague (30 mins), Rotterdam (1 hr) and Vlissingen (2hrs 45 mins). It also has a sprinter service to Haarlem and Leiden.
Bus 50 connects Haarlem to Leiden serving Heemstede.
You can cycle from Amsterdam to Heemstede, this will take you about 1 hour and 30 minutes (approx. 25 kms).
The town is not very big and most of it can be explored on foot. However, a bike might come in handy.
- De Hartekamp, Herenweg 5. This beautiful estate on the border of Bennebroek and Heemstede is the place where Carl Linnaeus spent two years as the gardener of the Clifford family. Currently, it is in use as an institute for mentally handicapped, but the grounds are open for visitors, including the woodlands on the other side of the N208 road known as Overplaats. A pleasant place for a stroll. edit
- Huis te Manpad, Herenweg 7-11, . Free guided tours: Feb-mid Oct Sa 10AM; Feb-May Tu 2PM; mid Oct-Feb closed. Next to the Hartekamp estate, Huis te Manpad is an even more grand manor built in beautiful Dutch classicist style. It was the family estate of the Van Lennep family, who were important politicians and writers. The gardens can be visited with guided tours, the buildings are not open to the public. edit
- Cruquius Museum (Cruquius pumping station), Cruquiusdijk 27, Cruquius, . Apr-Oct Mo-Fr 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 11AM-5PM; Nov-Mar Mo-Fr 1-5PM, Sa-Su 11AM-5PM. Although officially located in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, this 19th century pumping station is very easily reached from Heemstede. It was one of three pumping stations used to drain the Haarlemmermeer lake from 1849-1852, and at the time it was the most technologically advanced steam engine pump in the world. The original pump is still there, but it does not operate on steam anymore. You will however see a short demonstration of the pumping. Adults €8, ages 13-17 and over 65 €6, ages 5-12 €4, under 4 free. edit
Walking and cycling
- Buitenplaatsenpad Zuid-Kennemerland (Estates trail), . A 16 km signposted circuit through Aerdenhout, Vogelenzang and Heemstede that leads you along the woodlands and estates of Leyduin, Overplaats and Groenendaal edit
- Linnaeushof, Glipperweg 4c (parking), ☎ +31 23 584 76 24 ([email protected]), . mid Mar - Oct, see website for details. Advertized as Europe's largest playground, this is a good destination to keep children up to 12 occupied for a full day. Especially the water playground is a favourite when the weather is warm enough. €13, parking €6. edit
The Binnenweg is the main shopping street of Heemstede, offering a wide choice of shops. Heemstede being a wealthy place, you should not expect the cheapest wares on sale, but it is not as posh as one might expect.
Surprisingly, the town also has a number of thrift shops that are fun to explore:
- The Vintage Store, Cruquiusweg 37a, ☎ +31 23 760 0477, . Mo-Fr 9AM-6PM Sa 9AM-5PM Su 12AM-5PM. Their apple pie, made by the patients in De Hartekamp, is worth the trip alone (and very cheap). edit
- Dorcas Winkel Heemstede, Herenweg 101, ☎ +31 23 529 41 21, . Tu-Sa 10AM-3PM. The opening hours are a bit limited, unfortunately, but they have a good collection of second hand goods. edit
Heemstede has a decent selection of restaurants, but for more vibrant nightlife you'd better head to Haarlem.
- De Dinkelhoeve, Herenweg 61, . Shop opened Fr 2-6PM. Organic dairy farm, with very good cheese. Opening hours are unfortunately very limited, but they also have an automaat where you can buy milk, eggs and cheese at any time of the week. edit
Heemstede has no hotels or camp sites. However, nearby Haarlem and the coastal resort of Zandvoort have plenty of opportunities to stay overnight.
- Haarlem, the capital of North-Holland, is just around the corner
- Bloemendaal, with its coastal dunes and stately manors is also very easy to reach
- Zandvoort, the major beach resort in the area
- the Bulb Region, of which Heemstede is the northern edge, extends all the way up to Leiden and is the area where you can admire the iconic tulip fields in Spring