"Vleeshal" means meat-hall; it was the only place in Haarlem where meat was allowed to be sold. The ox-heads on the front of the building indicate the function of the hall. The building was used for selling fresh meat, salted meat was sold in the Warmoesstraat, the street next to the building.

It was designed in renaissance style by Lieven de Key. It was built from 1602 to 1604. Before that there was already a small Vleeshal on the crossing of the Spekstraat and the Warmoesstraat, but around 1600 it had become too small, and the meat had to be sold outside.

The new building was a prestigious project; expensive materials and a beautiful design were used. It opened on November 1st, 1604. There was place for 40 different meat merchants in the building.

The building has been in use as meat-hall until 1840. Afterwards it was used by the National Archive ("Rijksarchief") and the city's library.

Since 1950 the building houses a dependence of the Frans Hals Museum (Museum De Hallen) and in the cellar the Haarlem Archeological Museum is located.

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