Eindhoven is the Netherlands’ fifth biggest city, with just over 220,000 people as at the last quarter of 2013. From afar, Eindhoven looks like a modern city – and it is indeed a modern city, given the amenities in it, and the comfort it gives to its residents and visitors. However, a closer examination reveals that Eindhoven also a historical city: one that was certainly in existence in the medieval times, and perhaps even before the said medieval age.
Eindhoven is therefore a city that has been through the medieval times, the age of enlightenment, the agrarian revolution age, the industrial revolution age, and the current age.
It is not hard to see why the location that hosts Eindhoven was selected as a location for what was supposed to be a strategic city: this being, after all, a place where two streams met, namely the Dommel and the Gender streams. As is usually the case where streams meet, elevations made out of silt are bound to come up. Those are the elevations on which Eindhoven was set up. The growth of the city seems to have been spectacular, and it was one of the cities in Netherlands that were regarded as important enough to have castles build in them, as well as protective walls set up to encompass them.
It emerges that Eindhoven is also the place where the now globally-famous electronics company Philips originated. Today, the presence of the company can still be felt in the city, through things like the building lighting projects it has undertaken, which at night give Eindhoven a unique, panoramic appearance.
We need to take note of the fact that Eindhoven has a rather sizeable student population, giving it the characteristic vibrancy expected of a university city.
Getting around Eindhoven
An easy way to get around Eindhoven, if you must really use motorized transport, would be through the bus. The fares are reasonable, and what you need in order to make use of the system is a smart card (known locally as OV-chipkaart) which you then load with fare cash, to take you wherever you want to go. So extensive is Eindhoven’s bus line network that, standing at any point in the city, you will almost certainly find a bus to take you to whichever part of the city you want to head to.
The other easy way to get around Eindhoven is on a two-wheeler: that is, on a bicycle. Acquiring a bicycle to go round Eindhoven on is as easy as ABC: as there are bicycle rental facilities in operation here. You will definitely enjoy cycling in a city where almost every other person seems to be also cycling, and where the shared experience of cycling seems to create a certain inexplicable, unspoken camaraderie.
You can go to the Europcar facility and rent a car to drive yourself around Eindhoven in. Eindhoven is unique from other Netherlands cities in that it doesn’t really discourage vehicular traffic. The car hire costs are surprisingly reasonable, and so are parking costs in the city. That said, touring a city like Eindhoven while driving yourself does, at least in most people’s experience, take quite a bit of the fun out of the whole thing.
Touring Eindhoven by taxi remains as an option, if you are well loaded enough (in terms of wallet contents) to foot the considerable fares.
Then again, you can simply walk around Eindhoven, especially in the car-free center of the city, which is really a joy to tour on foot.
Things to see and do in Eindhoven
In Eindhoven, you can see architectural masterpieces like the Oude Toren (dating as far back as the 14th century), Sint Joriskerk (from the industrial age) and the more modern De Admirant (which is the tallest building here, and which is exquisitely beautiful too). Others include the UFO-like Evoluon, Philips’ light tower (Lichttoren) and the suspended bike roundabout known as Hovenring.
Notable museums in Eindhoven include the DAF Museum (associated with auto maker DAF), Philips Museum, Van Abbemuseum and Museum Kempenland.
While in Eindhoven, you can also have fun at the Genneper Park, Phillips Van Lenneppark and Stadswandelpark.