Hi there, I'm Amy! I moved to Haarlem from the U.S just about a year ago with my husband, Joe, and my son, also named Joe (it's easier that way- I just have to scream out "JOE!" and they both come running).
Little Joe just turned five, so we're always on the lookout for fun things to do as a family. Between the Museumkaart and of the amazing natural beauty in this area, there never seems to be a shortage of really interesting things to do. Despite this, we were a little bit sad to say goodbye to some of our favourite American pastimes when we moved. Coming from Chicago, and having long family history as Cubs fans, we were particularly sad to say goodbye to baseball.
Well, being the researcher that I am, I googled “baseball in the Netherlands” before we moved. I was surprised when something called “Honkbal” popped up as a result. I thought it might be some kind of goose competition? With a little more clicking around, I found that honkbal literally translates to baseball- and hooray!- it’s somewhat popular. Not like, Ajax Football popular, but still, it exists! We were even more pleased to find that Haarlem itself has a pretty active honkbal scene. It even hosts an international Honkbal Week, every other year at a stadium just blocks from our home. Pim Mulier Stadium isn’t quite Wrigley Field, but it’s comforting to still see stadium lights from our living room windows during baseball season.
It took some time to get around to it, but the Joe’s finally went to their first honkbal game last weekend. They were accompanied by our very kind neighbour, who also happens to be an enthusiastic honkbal fan and coach. If you’re wondering, I stayed home enjoying some wine while cleaning out the shed (cause that qualifies as “fun” in your 30s).
Believe it or not, there are actually a few different honkbal leagues and teams to choose from, even right here in Haarlem. I really have no clue as to the differences, and I won’t pretend I do. In this case, the Joe’s saw the Kinheim team play. They actually managed to stay the entire game, and even though Haarlem lost (Cubs fans aren’t known to bring good luck), fun was had by all.
If you’re interested in going to a game yourself, particularly if you’re an American looking to fill the baseball void, check it out! Important things to know:
· What/Where: Kinheim Honkbal, Pim Mulier Stadium Jaap Edenlaan 6, 2024 BW Haarlem
· How much will it cost? Free entrance! Really, it’s €0 to see a game.
· Is there food? Will my kid(s) eat it? Yes! There is an inexpensive cafe with snacks, ice cream, and beer. Also, unlike MLB parks, you can BYO everything. So really, it can be a €0 day out with the family.
· What can kids do? Maybe your kid will watch the game? Joe watched a few innings. Then he ate ice cream, watched the NS train pass by, explored the entire stadium, played FREE foosball in the cafe, and even got to go out on the field and in the dugout after the game.
· What can parents do? Watch the game! Drink beer! Enjoy spending €0!
So there you have it! The first of my “Things to do with your kid” recommendations. If you do decide to go, let me know what you think! Actually, let me know before you go and I’ll go with you. It’s probably better than staying at home to clean out my shed.
Amy Lawrence is an expat mom and teacher originally from the U.S. She enjoys reading, gardening, and exploring everything the Netherlands has to offer. She also enjoys blogging about these things! Check her out at This Place is Nice.