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“Small but superb quality” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Frans Hals Museum

Frans Hals Museum
Groot Heiligland 62, Haarlem, The Netherlands (Centrum)
023-5115775
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Ranked #1 of 14 Attractions in Haarlem
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Activities: City walk sightseeing
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Attraction details
Owner description: This small museum focuses on the works of Frans Hals, 17th-century portrait painter.
Voorschoten, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
28 attraction reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
“Small but superb quality”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2014

The museum consists of ~20 rooms, each with a small number of high quality paintings. There is also a lovely knot garden in the centre of the buildings, and a lovely grand dining hall, with furniture contemporaneous to the Golden Age. There is also a fabulous dolls house and bed hangings in a separate room (no disabled access for this).
Main problem is lack of parking. I dropped off my wheelchair user, and left her alone whilst I parked the car 500m away and walked back. Then repeated the exercise at the end.

Visited January 2014
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254 reviews from our community

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Trondheim, Norway
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“A very nice museum”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

We didn't know much about this museum in advance, and it was a really great positive surprise. Great artwork and interesting collections.

Visited January 2014
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Washington DC
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“A Great & Engaging Experience of an Important Artist”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014


I spent 3+ hours there (and this is not the Louvre!). Visitor can focus, go through slow or fast -- and during my visit, things were pretty quiet there (this is January).

Visitor enters historic building on a quiet cross-street (purpose-built orphanage then pensioner home in early years) . The building alone is fascinating and you can see elements of both histories during your trip through 20-some spaces where the art is displayed: floors, dining room, windows, fireplaces, detailing, artifacts.

Museum visit is well-arranged and quite informative. You learn a lot about Frans Hals, as well as his era and the (largely Haarlem-based) artists who built on his work. You'll see a smattering of paintings by Hals and scattered paintings by others in all sorts of museums -- but not the focused display you see here. And the paintings are in a very helpful context that lets you really understand Hals a lot more deeply.

I will never look at a Frans Hals painting the same way I did before (cheerful, captures emotions, splashy for the era). Based on today's visit, in a smallish museum dedicated to this artist, I have reframed (!). Here you have a genius of a painter (a long-lived one and productive at that!) woven deeply into his community, taking on the task of documenting the various companies responsible for civic safety in Haarlem (through his paintings) -- and also doing portraits of his various sponsors, family members (he had 14 children), and others. He had a tremendous following of very prominent artists, some of whose work is also shown there.

The exhibits are accessibly organized and informative: the Dutch descriptions of the art have English translations right next to the paintings -- and there is a lot attention to allegory, historical information, contemporary response, etc.

Admittedly, I occasionally get drowsy in an art museum; not the case here.

There is a pleasant little cafe there tho not the gourmet level that you'd try build into your day if you didn't stop by there for convenience. The ancient building is on a quite charming side street and has a beautiful courtyard such as you'd find in a monastery.

To avoid being upended: Make sure you keep an eye out for the bicycle traffic on the narrow street!

Visited January 2014
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The Hague, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
188 reviews 188 reviews
129 attraction reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
250 helpful votes 250 helpful votes
“A very nice museum”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2014

This museum will show you a lot of paintings from Frans Hals and other painters from the "Golden Age", further more it shows you furniture and other stuff that give you a very good idea what it must have been like at the time of Frans Hals.

It's not huge, but it is big enough to entertain yourself for one or two hours and it's relatively quiet not as packed as when you go to the Van Gogh or the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Visited July 2013
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Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“One of the Big Three of Dutch 17th century painting”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

Rembrandt van Rijn is without doubt the most famous Dutch painter of the 17th century. Maybe Vermeer is second. But that should at least be a shared second place with Haarlem painter Frans Hals (born in Flanders).
Frans Hals had an exceptionally vivid, "rough" style - the speed with which he could paint was amazing, viewing the results. Many of his works you'll find in the Frans Hals museum in an old building in Haarlem, formerly a home for old men.

Most spectacular are his festive portraits of local militia officers and NCO's.

Visited October 2013
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