My favourite place to hang out in Haarlem is the Dolhuys Café, tucked in behind the Dolhuys Museum (National Museum for Psychiatry) on Schotersingel. In the three years I have been haunting this café, there have been many changes: renovations, management, staff, hours, menus. The current version works well for me.
Light, airy space with lots of windows and pale-coloured wood, and inoffensive background music. The area facing the outside of the building is covered almost completely by glass – giving the feeling of sitting in an english conservatory. A small children’s area suitably occupies most kids for the length of time it takes to sip a coffee at a relaxed pace. The appearance of sunshine means that most patrons can be found sitting under the trees that partially cover the terrace yet still allow for suntans.
In its current state, the menu is restricted to lunch foods, sandwiches and soups, and coffee accompaniments like Dutch appeltaart and muffins. While very acceptable, the food is not the reason to come to the Dolhuys café. Instead come in the late afternoon with a book or a friend, order a tea, or better still, a glass of wine – and relax.
The staff are relaxed to the point of sometimes taking ages to serve you – but this is forgivable and causes little stress. With free wifi, freelancers (hand up) often set up and work for an hour or two without being asked to move on.
It is all very easy. And lovely.
Open: Tuesday-Friday 10-5, Saturday-Sunday 11-5. Special events listed on website: http://www.hetdolhuys.nl/bezoeker/museumcafe