When our AirBnB host gave us our orientation to Haarlem, I mentioned that we didn’t have to worry about stores being closed on Sundays since we would not be there on a Sunday. She smiled and said that actually many stores in Holland are open on Sundays.
One tourist complaint here is the lack of opportunity to spend money on Sunday. New expats wonder what might happen if one runs out of bread or milk on a Sunday. Nowadays there’s always a store open in train stations, so it’s rarely a dire condition, although inconvenient.
Now that we’ve gotten used to planning ahead for the Ruhetag (Rest Day), I have to say I really like it. On nice Sundays it’s a pleasure to wander by the lake and see families out with their children in strollers, or people sitting and watching the swans or reading books. The arboretum is also a pleasant place to enjoy a relaxing day.
In Haarlem we did discover, however, that many shops close early on weekdays, which is undoubtedly lovely for the people who work there.
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What I will not miss: the reserved nature of the people on the street. I will be glad to see smiling faces out and about when I am home.