From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Haarlem, in the past usually Harlem in English, is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is also the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic.
Haarlem had a total population 148 885 in 2009. The municipality of Haarlem also comprises part of the village of Spaarndam, a newer housing estate of this village forms part of the neighbouring municipality of Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude.
The city is located on the river Spaarne, about 20 km west of Amsterdam and near the coastal dunes. It has been the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears the nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city), for this reason.