Danube River in Austria

Haarlem's Secret Gardens

Submitted by mag on Sun, 09/02/2018 - 05:52

One thing I always wanted to do was explore Haarlem's  "Secret Gardens" - the Hofjes or Almshouses - tiny houses around a hidden central courtyard - that were orginally, starting in the 13th century, built by wealthy benefactors to house poor women but are now a social living facility centered around a lovely shared courtyard.  A model worth studying and emulating.  Many of the courtyards are open to the public at certain hours.   

"Although most courtyards are centuries old, the courtyard as a community is still current. Living in a courtyard house is very popular. Not only because of the beautiful location and the beautiful characteristic houses, but especially because of the solidarity in the courtyards. The residents live individually, but offer each other cosiness and help when needed. They live alone and together at the same time. Each courtyard has its own character. In some courtyards there are joint activities and the residents, together with the regents, maintain the ancient traditions of the courtyard."