There has been a defended gateway into Amsterdam in this area since 1481 but the current Haarlemerpoort is the third to be built. The neo-classical building, dates from 1840 and has never had a defensive function, but was used as tax offices. Squatted in the 1970s it has now been converted into flats.
Always a busy traffic junction, the Haarlemmerpoort still marks the beginning of the road to Haarlem. Even in 1785 there were hourly departures of horse-drawn barges (trekschuiten) travelling between the two cities. Now the city council keeps coming up with grand plans to build multiplex cinemas and the like on the square behind the gateway, but nothing ever happens.