Situated around 5km northeast of Hilversum sits Laren, one the oldest and the most appealing villages within the het Gooi. Today Laren is one of the most affluent locations* within the Netherlands along with its neighbor Blaricum , like its neighbour Hilversum it is surrounded by some of the most scenic heathland woods which is delightful for exploring or walking the dog!
Laren has a population of approximately 3900 residents, and includes many Dutch media personalities, retirees and people who struck it rich during the internet boom in the 1990s who moved due to its natural beauty and location near both Hilversum and Amsterdam.
In terms of facilities Laren has has a number of fitness center’s, a swimming pool and it is also home to Larensche Mixed Hockey Club, football club SV Laren ’99 and two Tennis clubs.
An interesting feature of Laren is that it still has the traditional village green in the centre, called a "brink" in Dutch. The “brink” is easily recognizable as it has beautiful duck pond with fountain and contributes to the Gezelligheid feeling of Laren. The shopping in Laren is renowned throughout the Gooi as it has some of the best boutiques, designer fashion labels in the area, added with the excellent cafes and restaurants it is easy to see why it attracts some the most affluent people in the Netherlands.
The History of Laren
The first Laren residents predominately consisted of farmers and it was considered a peasant village due to this. However in the nineteenth century it grew popular with artists and celebrities like Anton Mauve (master Vincent van Gogh), Jan Sluyters and Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig and the village developed into a vibrant area with many large villa’s and cosy thatched properties being introduced.
The last decades of the nineteenth century saw the introduction of the railway and tram which made the area became more accessible. Wealthy urbanites started visiting the village for days out and as a residence Laren became increasingly popular.
In 1911 the American painter William Singer (1868-1943) was attracted to Laren due to its popularity amongst the artist colony and after his passing In 1954 Singer's widow founded the Singer Memorial Foundation, and in 1956 the museum was opened in their home on the Oude Drift with a new concert hall attached. The museum hosts the Singer collection of paintings, sculptures and artifacts and is well worth a visit http://www.singerlaren.nl
* CBS richest municipalities