Haarlem

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Haarlem (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈhaːrlɛm]  ( listen)), in the past usually Harlem in English, is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is 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 lies in the northern part of the Randstad, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Europe.

In 2009 Haarlem had a total population of 148,885. The municipality of Haarlem also comprises part of the village of Spaarndam, a newer housing estate of this village forms part of the neighboring 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.

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