Known throughout Europe as an industrial heartland and as the home of electrical powerhouse Philips, Eindhoven hardly has a pretty reputation. More recently, though, the city has established itself as a Dutch design capital, winning the title of World Design Capital for 2012, as well as hosting a number of major Academies.
While it might struggle to compete with the likes of Amsterdam in terms of tourism, Eindhoven’s reputation makes it all but essential for those with strong love of the aesthetic. The Van Abbe Museum is home to the work of Picasso, and widely acclaimed as one of the leading contemporary art museums in the world (and a match for the Tate Modern in London), while due to Philips, plenty of other areas focus on artificial light, and even creating art from it. Philips also plays a strong role with the town’s footballing powerhouse, PSV Eindhoven. An occasional European level force, in some ways PSV represent the soul of the city. If you’re hoping to catch a game, best book well in advance, though there are year round stadium tours to enjoy, too.
Stratumseind, the local nightlife street, has a great claim to fame too. Known for being the Dutch road with the highest concentration of pubs, ‘crawling’ all the way down is a recipe for a hospital stay, but a tamer trip makes for a thrilling night out. In De Bergen and Wilhelminaplein you can explore the winding, old-world backstreets, or sample the hundreds of obscure (and often pricey – you have been warned!) whiskeys on offer at De Gaper.
Art lovers are in for even more treats if they leave the city, with the chance to track down the sights of Van Gogh’s early artistic dabblings, a cultural attraction in amongst the plethora of cycle routes, as well as the short excursion to Belgium (a great chance to drop in on another country and a different outlook on life, should your trip be focusing on the Netherlands).
For lovers of football (PSV) and art, then, Eindhoven may well be the perfect spot. For others it’s easy to dismiss the city as uninspiring, but most will find something to love.
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