Eindhoven is a municipality and a city located in the province of Noord-Brabant in the south of the Netherlands, originally at the confluence of the Dommel and Gender brooks. The Gender was dammed off in the post-war years, but the Dommel still runs through the city.
Neighbouring cities and towns include Son en Breugel, Nuenen, Geldrop-Mierlo, Waalre, Veldhoven, Oirschot and Best. The metropolitan area (which includes Helmond) has over 725,000 inhabitants.
Eindhoven - Claire and Peter - our hosts
The city of Eindhoven
The written history of Eindhoven started in 1232, when Duke Hendrik I of Brabant granted city rights to Endehoven, then a small town right on the confluence of the Dommel and Gender streams. The city's name translates literally as "End Yards", reflecting its position at the southern end of Woensel. At the time of granting of its charter, Eindhoven had approximately 170 houses enclosed by a rampart. Just outside of the city walls stood a small castle. The city was also granted the right to organize a weekly market and the farmers in nearby villages were obliged to come to Eindhoven to sell their produce. Another factor in its establishment was its location on the trade route from Holland to Liège.
Around 1388 the city's fortifications were strengthened further. And between 1413 and 1420, a new castle was built within the city walls. In 1486, Eindhoven was plundered and burned by troops from Gelderland. The reconstruction was finished in 1502, with a stronger rampart and a new castle. However, in 1543 Eindhoven falls again: its defense works were neglected due to poverty.
A big fire in 1554 destroyed 75% of the houses but by 1560 these had been rebuilt with the help of William I of Orange. During the Dutch Revolt, Eindhoven changed hands between the Dutch and the Spanish several times, until finally in 1583 it was captured by Spanish troops and its city walls demolished. Eindhoven did not become part of the Netherlands until 1629.
The industrial revolution of the Nineteenth Century provided a major growth impulse. Canals, roads and railroads were constructed. Eindhoven was connected to the major Zuid-Willemsvaart canal through the Eindhovens Kanaal branch in 1843 and was connected by rail to Tilburg, 's-Hertogenbosch, Venlo and Belgium between 1866 and 1870. Industrial activities initially centred around tobacco and textile and boomed with the rise of lighting and electronics giant Philips, which was founded as a light bulb manufacturing company in Eindhoven in 1891.
The explosive growth of industry in the region and the subsequent housing needs of workers called for radical changes in administration, as the City of Eindhoven was still confined to its medieval moat city limits. In 1920, the five neighbouring municipalities of Woensel (to the north), Tongelre (northeast and east), Stratum (southeast), Gestel en Blaarthem (southwest) and Strijp (west), which already bore the brunt of the housing needs and related problems, were incorporated into the new Groot-Eindhoven ("Greater Eindhoven") municipality. The prefix "Groot-" was later dropped.
The early twentieth Century saw additions in technical industry with the advent of car and truck manufacturing company Van Doorne's Automobiel Fabriek (DAF) and the subsequent shift towards electronics and engineering, with the traditional tobacco and textile industries waning and finally disappearing in the Seventies.
Large-scale air raids in World War II (including the preliminary bombing during Operation Market Garden to aid the paratroopers in securing the bridges in and around the town) destroyed large parts of the city. The reconstruction that followed left very little historical remains and the post-war reconstruction period saw drastic renovation plans in highrise style, some of which were implemented. At the time, there was little regard for historical heritage; in the Sixties, a new city hall was built and its neo-gothic predecessor (1867) demolished to make way for a planned arterial road that never materialised.
The Seventies, Eighties and Nineties saw large-scale housing developments in the districts of Woensel-Zuid and Woensel-Noord, making Eindhoven the fifth-largest city in the Netherlands.
The villages and city that make up modern Eindhoven were originally built on sandy elevations between the Dommel, Gender and Tongelreep streams. Starting from the Nineteenth Century, the basins of the streams themselves have also been used as housing grounds, leading to occasional floodings in the city centre. Partly to reduce flooding, the Gender stream, which flowed straight through the city centre, was dammed off and filled up after the War, and the course of the Dommel was regulated. New ecologial and socio-historical insights have led to parts of the Dommel's course being restored to their original states, and plans to have the Gender flow through the centre once again (link to article in Dutch).
The large-scale housing developments of the Twentieth Century saw residential areas being built on former agricultural lands and woods, former heaths that had been turned into cultivable lands in the Nineteenth Century.
Eindhoven has grown from a little village in 1232 to one of the largest cities in the Netherlands with over 209.179 inhabitants in 2006. Much of its growth is due to Philips and DAF Trucks.
In 1891, brothers Gerard and Anton Philips founded the small light bulb factory that would grow into one of the largest electronics firms in the world. Philips' presence is probably the largest single contributing factor to the major growth of Eindhoven in the 20th century. It attracted and spun off many hi-tech companies, making Eindhoven a major technology and industrial hub. In 2005, a full third of the total amount of money spent on research in the Netherlands was spent in or around Eindhoven. A quarter of the jobs in the region are in technology and ICT, with companies such as NXP Semiconductors, ASML, Toolex, Simac, Neways, Atos Origin and the aforementioned Philips and DAF.
Prime examples of industrial heritage in Eindhoven are the renovated Witte Dame ("White Lady") complex, a former Philips lamp factory; and the Admirant building (informally known as Bruine Heer or "Brown Gentleman" in reference to the Witte Dame across the street), the former Philips main offices. The Witte Dame currently houses the municipal library, the Design Academy and a selection of shops. The Admirant is has been renovated into an office building for small companies. Across the street from the Witte Dame and next to the Admirant is Philips' first light bulb factory. The small building now houses the Philips company museum.
Administration and population
After the incorporation of 1920, the five former municipalities became districts of the Municipality of Eindhoven, with Eindhoven-Centrum (the City proper) forming the sixth. Since then, an additional seventh district has been formed by dividing the largest district, that of Woensel, into Woensel-Zuid and Woensel-Noord.
At the turn of the century, a whole new housing development called Meerhoven was constructed at the site of the old airport of Welschap, west of Eindhoven. The airport itself, now called Eindhoven Airport, had moved earlier to a new location, paving the way for much needed new houses. Meerhoven is part of the Strijp district and partially lies on lands annexed from the municipality of Veldhoven.
Of all Eindhoven districts, the historical centre is by far the smallest in size and population, numbering only 5,419 in 2006.
According to the Eindhoven City Council, the city will reach the maximum population of 230,000 inhabitants around the year 2025.
Population figures for all districts, as of January 1, 2006, ranked by size:
On January 1th 2006 the population of Eindhoven consisted of 209,179 persons. Of these, 26,5% or some 55,400 people are of foreign descent. People are classified as being of foreign descent when they were born outside of the Netherlands, or when at least one of their parents was born outside of the Netherlands.
Large (so-called "visible") minority groups include:
Other large minority groups are Germans and Indonesians.
The students from the Eindhoven University of Technology and a number of undergraduate schools give Eindhoven a young population.
Eindhoven has a lively cultural scene. For going out, there are numerous bars on the Market square, Stratumseind (Stratum's End), Dommelstraat, Wilhelmina square and throughout the rest of the city.
The biggest festivals in Eindhoven are:
The Van Abbemuseum has a collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Picasso and Chagall.
The Effenaar is a popular music venue and cultural center in Eindhoven, it's located at the Dommelstraat. 
Eindhoven was home to the Evoluon science museum, sponsored by Philips. The Evoluon building is currently used as a conference centre.
In 1992 the Muziekcentrum Frits Philips was opened as a stage for classical and popular music in Eindhoven, received by critics as a concert hall with acoustics that rival the best halls in Europe.
Parktheater Eindhoven is Eindhoven's stage for opera, cabaret, ballet etc. Opening its doors in 1964, it has received over 250,000 visitors every year. With its 1000 m2 it has one of the largest stages in the Netherlands. With a major renovation ending in 2007, the new Parktheater will receive an estimated 300,000 visitors a year.
During Carnival, Eindhoven is rechristened Lampegat (Lamp Hole).
Eindhoven's Plaza Futura is a cinema featuring cultural movies, lectures and special cultural events.
Up until World War II, a train service connected Amsterdam to Liège via Eindhoven and Valkenswaard, but the service was discontinued and the line broken up. Recently, talks have resumed to have a service to Neerpelt, Belgium via Weert.
Eindhoven Airport is closest airport nearby. There are flights with KLM Cityhopper to London Heathrow, and Ryanair serves London Stansted airport, Dublin, Rome, Milan, Pisa, Marseille and Barcelona. Air France also has 3 return from Paris to Eindhoven on weekdays. In the near future, Reykjavík will be included as well as one of the travel destinations.
The A2 national highway from Amsterdam to Maastricht passes Eindhoven to the west and south of the city. The A2 connects here with the A58 to Tilburg and Breda and to the A67/E34 to Antwerp. In 2006, the A50 was completed connecting Eindhoven to Nijmegen and Zwolle.
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