Located in the southern Netherlands province of North Brabant, Eindhoven is a city known as a technology and design hub that is home to a wide variety of museum and cultural attractions.
The name Eindhoven is derived from the regional dialect words eind, which means “last,” and hoeve, which describes a parcel of land leased to private farmers or workers by local lords. As such, the city’s name is believed to have originally translated as “last hoves on the land of Wosenel.” Written records of the city date back to 1232, when the region was officially granted city rights and weekly market rights by Duke Hendrik I of Brabant. In 1388, fortifications were added to the city, though they were penetrated by Guelders soldiers in 1486 and much of the town was burned. Following rebuilding, the city was again burned in 1543, and in 1554, a fire destroyed more than three-quarters of the region’s homes. Though many buildings were rebuilt with the help of William I of Orange, the city was again captured and burned in 1583 by Spanish soldiers and soon fell under French control. Following the city’s incorporation into the Netherlands, it remained a small village until the Industrial Revolution, when it became more accessible for trade due to the construction of railroads and canals. Though the city originally earned a reputation as a major tobacco and textile center, it gained international fame as the home of Philips electronics, which was established in 1891. A large number of historical buildings in the city were destroyed during World War II, which facilitated the construction of modern-style architecture throughout the city.
Today, Eindhoven is the fifth-largest city in the Netherlands and is home to a metropolitan area population of more than 750,000. It is located at the confluence of the Gender and Dommel streams and is the largest region within the Netherlands’ North Brabant province. The city is known as a technology and design hub for its connection to the Philips electronics company and is known as the “City of Light” due to the company’s projects related to lighting city buildings.
A large number of museums are showcased throughout the city, including the Van Abbemuseum, one of the top modern art museums within the region, which displays works by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall. The Eindhoven Museum presents open-air exhibits related to the region’s civic and cultural life, including a recreation of farm life within an Iron Age village, while the De Ontdekfabriek children’s museum presents a variety of educational exhibits for families and the Inkijkmuseum converts a former linen factory facility into a micro-museum showcasing rotating cultural exhibits. The city’s industrial heritage is documented at the DAF Museum, which highlights the car maker of the same name, and the Philips First Incandescent Lamp Factory of 1891, which explores the early history of the lightbulb industry. Until the 1980s, the city was the home of the Philips-sponsored Evoluon Science Museum, a spaceship-themed building which has now been converted into a conference center facility.
The city is known for its unique modern open-air art, which is highly concentrated within outdoor areas such as the Stadswandelpark. Notable works of art on public display include Coosje van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg’s Flying Pins and statues of public figures such as Jan van Hooff and Frits and Anton Philips. The Berenkuil is noted as a free zone for local graffiti artists, and the Strijp-S showcases a variety of LED light art experimentation projects, including Har Hollands’ Fakkel and Daan Roosegaarde’s Crystal.
Performing arts and cultural attractions within the city include the Effenaar music venue, the Muziekcentrum Frits Philips concert hall, the Parktheater Eindhoven stage, and the Plaza Futura cinema. A variety of sporting events are presented at Philips Stadium, including home games for the city’s PSV Eindhoven soccer team. Shopping districts within the city include the De Heuvelgalerie shopping center and the Kruisstraat district, which offers international food and boutique shops and a large weekly market. Several areas offer nightlife options, including the Stratumseind, the largest pub street in the country. A number of open-air parks are offered, including Genneper Parken, the Philips de Jongh Wandelpark, and the Karpendonske Plas water and green area.
Ongoing Programs and Events
A wide variety of cultural and entertainment-focused festivals are offered throughout the year in the city, including the ABlive pop music festival, the Virus Festival alternative music festival, and the Muziek op de Dommel classical music festival. The Dutch Design Week international educational arts festival and the Eindhoven Marathon are held in October, while the GLOW Festival brings light and color artistic exhibits to the region in November. Other annual events include a February Carnaval, the STRP Art and Technology Festival in November, and the September Lichtjesroute, which commemorates the city’s liberation with a 15-mile parade of light ornaments.