Thursday, May 31, 2012

Eindhoven, the city of lights, the Netherlands

Set in the province of North Brabant, Eindhoven is perhaps best well know outside of the Netherlands as home of PSV Eindhoven, the football team that regularly challenges at the top of the Dutch Erdedivisie. During the 19th century the old market town of Eindhoven was merged with the villages of Strijp, Woensel, Tongelre and Gestel. In the last century the growth of the city was stimulated when Philips, the electronics company, sited its factory there, giving Eindhoven it's name as the "city of lights".

the Philips Witte Dame
Perhaps the best know of the Philips buildings is the Witte Dame, built in 1922 by architect L. Scheffer, it has now been sold and converted into a design college, library, centre for artists and apartments. It is set right in the city centre just a short walk from the PSV stadium.

the Markt

Icerink on the Markt, December 2012
Eindhoven is a relatively small city with around 200,000 inhabitants. The Markt in the city centre seems to attract many of them, on a sunny day when the square is crowded with people enjoying the sun and a biertje (small beer). There are plenty of bars to chose from most of which serve food as well.

Piazza shopping 

The Blob
The main shopping area in Eindhoven, like the city is fairly compact. The Heuvel Galerie and the Piazza are the two shopping centers with plenty of other shops in the surrounding streets. The Blob, seen above is the latest addition to Eindhoven's shopping landscape. Best cup of coffee to be found is in the Selxyz book store, close by to the Blob, there you'll also find free wi-fi access.

Kleine Berg

De Baron on Kleine Berg
You'll find more shops and bars on Kleine Berg which is set in the area called the Bergen. Here you'll find an area of Eindhoven which is older than the rest of the generally modern city centre. Its a very relaxed area, home to many artists and over the last few years has attracted a lot of new designer stores.

Van Abbemuseum, original building

Inside the Van Abbemuseum

Van Abbemuseum, new building
From a tourists perspective, Eindhoven does not have as much to offer as the likes of Maastrich, Delft or Leiden. Yes, it has plenty of stores, restaurants, bars etc but it lacks the beauty of some of the other Dutch cities I've mentioned. It's worth spending some time, an overnight stop should be enough. The Van Abbemuseum and the Philips Light Museum are worth a visit. If you visit the Van abbemuseum of modern art, be sure and take the lift from the top floor to the ground floor. Why? You'll just have to wait and see....

For some great food, you can try Auberge Nassau which also has its own B&B, as well as Restaurant 1910. Both are fairly central on the picturesque Wilhelmina Plein. If you choose either of these restaurants, have a drink before or after in the Gaper which is close by.

Eindhoven Marathon startline
If you're a keen runner with ambitions to run a marathon or to set your personal best time, the Eindhoven Marathon is worth considering. Why? Simply because like the rest of the country Eindhoven is flat, very flat, no hills to tire you out. The event is held annually around the middle of October.

Queens Day Market in Eindhoven
Koninginnedag or Queens Day, celebrated on  April 30th (or the 29th if the 30th falls on a Sunday), it is Queen Beatrix's official birthday. Although the current Queen was born on 31 January, the holiday is observed on 30 April as it was the birthday of her mother, Juliana. If you find yourself in Eindhoven or anywhere in the Netherlands on this day, you'll come across a blaze of Orange, market stalls, bands and generally a great party, something the Dutch do very well.

Throughout the Netherlands cycling is a way of life, so be aware and look before you step onto the cycle paths as cyclists have right of way and tend to take no prisoners. The whole country is criscrossed by cycle paths which are a great way to escape the cities and explore some of the flat but still beautiful countryside.

Eimdhoven, Glow.

Every year during the month of November, Eindhoven lights up in an event called Glow, through a forum of interventions, installations, performances and events based on the phenomena of artifical light. Its a major event in the city which attracts large crowds who walk the Glow route.  For some photos of the 2012 event, enter Eindhoven Glow 2012 into the Search Box.