Although rarely included in tourist itineraries, Eindhoven is a modern city worth visiting for its lively climate, numerous museums and its special history. The origins of Eindhoven seem to date back to 1232, when Duke Henry I of Brabant granted it the rights of a city that over the years developed into a strategic stop along the trade route from Holland to Liège in Belgium.
For a long time, Eindhoven was known as ‘Lichtstad’ (Dutch for ‘the city of light’) since it was here that the Philips company was born, which started its business in the late 19th century trading in incandescent light bulbs. The history of Eindhoven in the 20th century was largely marked by industrial development, not only due to the rapid progress of the Philips electronics company, but also due to the growth of the automotive sector. In particular, several factories were established in Eindhoven, including the truck, car and military vehicle manufacturing company known as Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagenfabriek (DAF).
Nowadays, even though many industries have disappeared, Eindhoven remains a very important technology hub that is home to a prestigious university and many other cutting-edge companies. Moreover, since the end of the 20th century, due to the closure of many factories, the city has reinvented itself as the capital of Dutch design.
Although Eindhoven is a city thousands of years old, very little of its older history has remained due to the bombings during World War II that affected many neighbourhoods. Post-war reconstruction was largely characterised by modern urban plans and architectural designs that took little account of the destroyed historical heritage.
The heart of city life is the Markt Square, i.e. ‘market square’, where numerous cafés and restaurants are also considered a meeting point for many locals. From this square start the central streets of Stratumseind, Dommelstraat and Wilhelminaplein, which are full of shops, boutiques and modern buildings. The city can easily be explored on foot as the main points of interest are all within walking distance.
The Van Abbemuseum is a museum of modern and contemporary art built in 1936 by architect A.J. Kropholler to house works of contemporary Dutch art (Hedendaagsche Nederlandse Kunst) and to promote these creations to the local population. The name of the site comes from the cigar manufacturer H.J. Van Abbe who initially financed the building and provided a sum for the running of the museum. In 2003, the Van Abbemuseum was expanded by building a more modern wing that allowed for the exhibition of many more works.
Today, a collection boasting 1000 sculptures, 700 paintings and numerous other creations on paper can be admired inside. Among the most famous artists here are Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger and Piet Mondrian as well as post-war artists such as Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Rebecca Horn and Sigmar Polke. But one of the most important sections of the museum is undoubtedly the one housing the extensive collection of creations by the Russian avant-garde exponent El Lissitzky.
Near Markt Square is the Sint Catharinakerk (St Catherine’s Church) built in Gothic style in the mid-20th century to replace an earlier church of medieval origin. Named after St Catherine of Alexandria, the building has an elegant façade surrounded by two 73-metre high towers; one of these is called the male tower and is dedicated to David while the other is called the female tower and is dedicated to Mary.
Numerous rose windows and other interior decorations echo the ‘wheel’ that recalls the passion of Saint Catherine, who died after being tortured tied to a wheel. Also very beautiful is the original carillon donated in the 1960s by Philips whose chimes still mark the hours during the day.
While discovering Eindhoven, you absolutely cannot miss a visit to the Philips Museum, which was opened in a former factory of the famous company. Here you can discover not only the history of the brand founded by the brothers Gerard and Anton Philips, but also its indissoluble relationship with the city both now and in past centuries.
The museum is not very large, but it boasts an itinerary that traces the salient stages of Philips: from its birth to its transformation into a multinational electronics company. Specifically, here you can discover how it grew from a small light bulb factory to a manufacturer of technological and innovative items exported all over the world. Among the most famous artefacts put on the market by Philips, the evolution of products such as radios, televisions, shavers, CDs, MRI machines and many others are covered here.
In addition to a traditional discovery tour, the museum areas are designed to entertain visitors of all ages with interactive activities, games and educational questions.
Strijp-S is a former industrial park in Eindhoven where in the early 20th century Anton Philips built the first factory to produce glass for incandescent light bulbs. Over the years, the company also opened other factories here, first producing radios, then televisions and finally many other devices.
In the 2000s, after Philips decided to leave the area, the former industrial buildings were converted into workshops, leisure centres, cultural spaces, galleries and residences. Renowned events such as Dutch Design Week and many other music and art festivals are also organised at Strijp-S.
DAF stands for Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagenfabriek, a manufacturer of trucks, tractors, tanks and military vehicles founded in 1928 in Eindhoven by the Van Doren brothers. The museum presents the history of the company, its most famous products and their evolution over the years.
On the ground floor, there is also a reconstruction of what this area looked like in the 1930s with the reproduction not only of the factory and the office of the Van Doren brothers, but also of the small square, the neighbouring shops, the pub and the vintage garage. Going upstairs you can admire an extraordinary collection of cars, including some prototypes that never went into production.
The famous Philips Stadion was opened in 1913 and later renovated in 1995 to host matches of the local PSV Eindhoven team. It has a seating capacity of over 35,000 and is equipped with modern facilities and services, including a football museum, an official club shop and numerous bars and restaurants.
Football fans visiting the PSV stadium can take part in guided tours that allow them to explore the players’ areas, such as the changing rooms and the tunnel leading to the pitch, as well as admire the panoramic view of the stadium from the grandstand seats.
Completed in 2006, the 105-metre-high De Admirant is the tallest building in Eindhoven and stands directly opposite the Witte Dame (White Lady), the former headquarters of Philips.
De Admirant is the central point of a new area called ‘Around the Admirant’, which was completed in 2010 and includes not only a shopping area (Admirant Shooping), where numerous shops and restaurants are located, but also residential flats and modern buildings housing offices and other activities.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Eindhoven is a cosy and human-friendly city, so the best area to stay is in the centre (Binnenstad) from where you can walk or cycle to the main attractions. Here you will find a large number of establishments in different price ranges but also many restaurants, clubs and shops.
Eindhoven can be easily reached by car from Amsterdam in just over ninety minutes by travelling along the A2. Alternatively, the city is well connected to other locations in the Netherlands both by train and by AirExpressBus.
Eindhoven also boasts an international airport located 7 km from the city centre and is the nation’s second busiest airport after Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Served by several low-cost airlines, Eindhoven Airport has a modern terminal and is used as a hub by the airlines Ryanair and Transavia. A shuttle bus makes it possible to get from the airport to the city centre in 20 minutes.
What's the weather at Eindhoven? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Eindhoven for the next few days.
Eindhoven is a Dutch city located in the Brabant region in the southern part of the Netherlands, not too far from the Belgian border. The city is 120 km from Amsterdam and 110 km from Rotterdam.