Is Eindhoven the coolest city in The Netherlands?

Toronto, Sydney, Wellington, Eindhoven, – you’d be forgiven for assuming that the latter city doesn’t belong in such company, but then again, you’d be wrong. What causes me to group these four cities together has nothing to do with size, climate, or geographical location, but rather that all four of these awesome cities share the same hip and cool vibe, mixed perfectly with a dash of style and the arts and finished off with a healthy dollop of creativity and innovation. Eindhoven really does hold its own on the world stage, and is suited perfectly to the type of accolades that come along with other progressive cities around the globe.

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An epic shot of Eindhoven city centre, courtesy of the Eindhoven365 website. 

When the average person thinks of The Netherlands their mind almost instantly lands on Amsterdam, with a few also perhaps picturing Rotterdam too – at a push. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who’s first thoughts of The Netherlands centre around Eindhoven; but all that is surely soon to change!

I was lucky enough to be invited to visit Eindhoven a few weeks ago and upon arriving, I was instantly impressed by the undiscovered beauty that this amazing city has to offer.

Reinvention

Eindhoven oozes creativity and reinvention, with the city that was once a hub for all things Philips now finding its own voice and putting the vast majority of old factory spaces to brilliant use.

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One of the many amazing Cafe’s that have made excellent use of old Philips warehouses.

Unlike other industrial towns that may have otherwise fell into derelict disrepair, Eindhoven has well and truly risen like a phoenix from the ashes and you only have to take a wander around Strijp S to see what a sprinkle of imagination can do for a place. Pop up stores, boutique cafes out of the back of old factories, giant food halls erected in old warehouses and even the odd hotel built inside an old light tower – Eindhoven really has stayed true to its roots and reused every last piece of space they can get their hands on.

Hipster

With so much choice in Eindhoven for everything from accommodation to where you’re going to eat dinner that night – it’s easy to see why this awesome city is far from conformative. Perhaps using the term ‘hipster’ is the wrong way of describing the general vibe that the people of Eindhoven give off, but what’s true to say is that folks in this city aren’t afraid to express themselves, in whatever way that might manifest itself. Oh, and another thing – for all you vegans out there, you’re sure to find plenty to eat and drink in Eindhoven, with almost all of the cafes and restaurant I visited having at least one or two completely vegan options on their menu!

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The Coffee Lab is right outside Eindhoven Central Station and offers some of the best coffee in town!!! Their Vegan Sandwiches and Cakes are also delicious. 

Steampunk

When walking through certain sections of Eindhoven, it felt like I was rolling through the set of a Mad Max film, with so much of the industrial feel that Eindhoven was synonymous for throughout the years, still being used to full affect today. The idea of steampunk is not lost on the eye when taking in all that Eindhoven has to offer, with this once bustling industrial town now home to some of the finest eateries and art cafes you’ll find in The Netherlands – and all built with expressionism and through a willingness to keep close ties with the cities humble beginnings.

Art

Art and design are strong pillars in the foundations that make up Eindhoven, with the cities resurgence centring largely on style, elegance, ingenuity, and sleekness.

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Piet Hein Eek at Strijp R infuses a fine mix of art decor and great snacks. 

Whether its immersing yourself in the culinary & sensory mashup that is Kazerne, perusing the magnificent craft and woodwork on display in Strijp R or relaxing and unwinding in Eindhoven’s fantastic Inntel Hotels Art Eindhoven (the artsy clue is in the name) – you’re sure in for a wonderful treat.  Needless to say, you will have had your fair share of daily art even before heading to the likes of the Van Abbemuseumwhich, if I may say so, is well worth paying a visit!

Architecture

Given the great uniqueness that surrounds Eindhoven and its regeneration, the architecture within the city is like no other. The inspiration that can be gained from Eindhoven’s buildings is so great that thousands of stylists, designers, and architects flock to the city each year to get a first-hand glimpse at the cities design. From train stations shaped like radio transmitters, to underground bike stalls that look like Metro entrances, to there even being a tunnel named the tunnel of silly walks which was opened by the legendary John Cleese, star of Monty Python.

Places to eat and drink

You’ll never be short of options for food and drink when spending time in Eindhoven – with at least 28 Michelin Star eateries scattered throughout. On my tour of the city I was fortunate enough to dine at both Kazerne and Calypso. The former offers a dining experience with a difference, as you indulge is absolutely sublime food, surrounded by art installations all around you in what looks to be an old warehouse of some sort. Calypso, on the other hand, is a much more intimate affair – but the food is no less exquisite and the throng of rather cool locals will leave you revelling in the ambiance.

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Kazerne really is something quite special, and the food is just simply amazing. (picture courtesy of Moderne Hippies)

In terms of something a little more café-esque, why not check out Piet Hein Eek, situated in the heart of artsy Strijp R and offering some rather divine cakes, cheese spreads and soft drinks, as well as the obligatory good coffee. The settings in which the café is housed aren’t half bad either. If coffee is your thing though and you happen to be nearby the train station, then you’d be a fool not to call by the Coffee Lab and try what is quite simply put – the best coffee in town – lovingly prepared by some of the greatest coffee Barista’s in the whole of Europe. Quite an accolade, I’m sure you’ll agree.

In terms of options for bars, you’ll seriously be spoilt for choice when looking for a place to drink in Eindhoven. To list all the amazing watering holes that you could possibly frequent would lead to a rather exhaustive list, so instead, allow me to wholeheartedly recommend three of my favourite bars. The Secret Garden leaves you feeling like you’ve stepped into another world, with so much going on around you it’s almost like a bit of a sensory overload. New York fire-escape style iron staircases trail off to the ceiling from behind the main bar and it’s simply fascinating just watching members of staff run up and down carrying plates of hot food or retrieving yet another bottle of prized red wine. Usine was another epic bar and was the one that I visited most, given its dangerously close proximity to the hotel where I was staying. It may be my poor judgement when it comes to style, or it might have been the several beers I’d had before entering, but there was something about Usine that reminded me of being in a 1950’s style American Diner, with a French renaissance twist added in there – either way it was very much like stepping back in time, which is probably why I loved it so much!

If you fancy yourself as a bit of beer connoisseur then the Stadbrouwerij (City Brewery) is definitely worth a shout. When I visited the kind folks that work there were awesome enough to allow me to have a couple of testers – and once you’ve tasted finely brewed beers, it does make you wonder why you’ve been wasting your time drinking generic Pilsners for so long. Seriously refreshing and delicious and with Stadbrouwerij being so close to Eindhoven’s longest and busiest bar streets, it’s the perfect place to start off your day/night of drinking (if you’re into that sort of thing!).

Where to stay?

I’ve mentioned already the Inntel Hotel Arts Eindhoven, which is smack bang in the middle of the city and not too far away from the main train station. Inntel Hotel Arts is definitely a spot of luxury, but prices aren’t too astronomical, so you can afford to treat yourself and indulge. Stay tuned on my blog for an upcoming post dedicated entirely to the Arts Hotel – as it’s certainly worth a honourary mention all by itself.

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Each of the rooms at the Inntel Hotel Arts Eindhoven is individually designed. 

Alternatively, you may wish to check out the incredible Student Hotel which is similarly situated in the heart of the city, just spitting distance from the train station. The tall building dominates the Eindhoven Skyline and you’ll find rooms there to suit every need – from short stay business trips, to long-term stays for students and young professionals. The design of the hotel is extremely modern, with all the popular amenities that you would generally expect to find in a hotel, plus many more – such as a communal kitchen, a fully kitted gym and an auditorium where – if you fancy – you can give a talk to, well… whoever will listen, basically.

The Student Hotel Lobby
The Student Hotel Eindhoven is the right mix of essential and modern; perfect for those on a budget.

What to do?

Generally speaking, Eindhoven is just a wonderful city to look around and soak up the sights – but if you’re looking for something a little more specific, then why not visit one of the cities many awesome museums?

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For a real sense of what Eindhoven is all about, make sure you pay the Philips Museum a visit.

For example, the visiting the Philips Museum in the centre of the city, really helps to give you a better understanding of what Eindhoven is all about and how the city came about to be founded in the first place. Eindhoven itself was built to house all of the employees of Philips and their families, with a real Marxist feel and existence emanating from the city walls – as Eindhoven, in its creation, housed everything Philips Electronics employees could ever want, need or desire – from hospitals, to even a football team, with the grand PSV stadium still standing proud to this day.

Accessibility

Given the modern designs and feel of Eindhoven, it comes as no surprise that you’ll often find excellent accessibility within the city. For an accessible accommodation choice, the aforementioned Student Hotel Eindhoven has some brilliant rooms, with disabled friendly bathrooms that will match the needs and requirements of just about everyone. Unfortunately, the Inntel Hotel Arts doesn’t have a stand-alone ‘accessible’ room, but the suites are very spacious and if you’re able to get around without the aid of your wheelchair, then it’s certainly roomy enough to be deemed as reasonably accessible – I was able to fit my wheelchair into the separated toilet, for example, and if you were travelling with a portable hoist, then there’s stacks of space to squeeze this in there for usage with the bath etc, especially if you opt for one of the hotels beautifully spacious open-plan suites.

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Is Eindhoven the coolest city in The Netherlands?

  1. I life for almost 17 years now in Eindhoven. I had the honour to wittness this huge transformation from a labour city into a city as described above.
    And I hope that that energy will stay alive! So you are more then welcome 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I grew up a few streets from Strijp-S, in the eighties and nineties. The factories where a ‘forbidden city’, there was not much to do in this neighboorhood. When Philips headquarters moved to Amsterdam (which grieved many Eindhovenaren) it seemed the city was lost. But Philips build the High Tech Campus, where, next to Philips 150 companies reside and 10.000 people work. Eindhoven and it’s region are called a Brainport, and is even by the government acknowledges as it has now an official mainport status being an important economical region in The Netherlands (the other two mainports are the Amsterdam for its airport and Rotterdam for it’s port).
    Though I don’t live in Eindhoven, my parents live still in the same neighboorhood, and I’m regularly there. I love the arise of Strijp-S, wish I grew up there now! There ary many houses build for Philips employees in the 1920’s (my parents live in one) which are restored in their old status (with modern facilities though ;-). I also love the higher buildings in the city centre (one is being build now on Strijp-S, 110m). There are serious plans for a series of buildings up almost 160m next to the central station. It’s going to be awesome!!!

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  3. Eindhoven was actually founded as a medieval city in 1232.

    There is a large archeological centre where you can learn more about the history of the city before Philips.
    In the underground bicycle parking you can see what remains of the old city gate and the church of St. Catherine in the city centre (designed by the same guy who designed the National Museum and Central Station in Amsterdam) has a small permanent exhibition on medieval Eindhoven and you can see some of the old skeletons through the glass in front of the entrance (they became world famous due to a specific genetic mutation important to the medical field).

    The neighbourhoods of Eindhoven as we know them today, like Stratum, Gestel, Tongelre, Woensel, etc. were once villages which were ‘absorbed’ into the greater Eindhoven area.

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  4. Thanks for your wonderful review! I’m proud of it. I live in this – in my opinion – lovely city. Not because of the wonderful architecture from the 17th, 18th or 19th century (althought the city was founded 1232), but because of what happens here, what its people do with it, how industrial buildings and areas are redevelloped into buzzing areas. Eindhoven always has been the “ugly duckling” of Dutch city’s. But during the last decades the city (although small, 225.000 inhabitants in 2016) devellopped into a creative, innovative, buzzing and sparkling city. Even the big brother Amsterdam regognized that this ugly duckling of the family developped into a beautiful city since a few years ago there was a festival in Amsterdam called “The wonder of Eindhoven”! At last the big brother saw that the little, ugly sister grew up to a very nice, beautiful and booming city. Where the rest of the world saw that years ago: smartest city of the world, second in the worlds disign capital, the region that’ll become the next Sillicon Valley in the world ect, etc. Thanks for visiting Eindhoven and maybe you’ll get back here some day.

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  5. This review truly makes my heart sing! I grew up in and around Eindhoven as a daughter of one of Philips’ creative engineers. In 1992 I left the city to study, live and work in an around Amsterdam. In 2010 I came back to Eindhoven to start a family here. I’ve never regretted my return for one day! Eindhoven is creative in a friendly kind of way, both vibrant and relaxed. The city is reinventing itself all the time. A welcoming and inspiring place of which I’m proud to call it home.

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  6. I have been living here for 2 years and a half now… And I’m always amazed by how accessible the city is (at least compared to many places I’ve been). It is not perfect I know, but I enjoy watching people who can live in an autonomous way because they can access most of the roads, restaurants and other public spaces, supermarkets and many others with their wheelchairs. I hope you had a great time here, and thank you for this lovely review that made me reconsider my boring attitude and go out a little more 🙂

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  7. odd hotel, light tower, market place, TQ5-1, Bar Sombrero and PII makes me look back to 1967.
    After the deconstruction was terrible but now again a prospere and beautifull City.
    Fourty years with Philips was not too much because I was 20 traveling through the world of a Big Company
    In Portugal we have a word “saudade”

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  8. I moved to Eindhoven two years ago for college and after Reading this i realized that i havent appreciated the city enough. Dont get me wrong, i love Living here, but i’ve never even been to strijp-s. Im going to check out that part of the city soon!

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  9. Hi Anthony,

    Lovely post . It seems that I have been missing out on some of the newer venues, of the more hipster-esque type. Well, I guess that’s what happens if you frequent the same places. I definitely agree with the vibe and feel. It’s always hard to explain why I like Eindhoven so much, but I think you did a terrific job. Perhaps, being too close to it so long, you don’t appreciate it enough. But it’s probably that very vibe that you describe that I like so much. It is not excessively hipster as some other places and people generally have a very down-to-earth attitude imo. Please tell me this wasn’t your first time visiting Eindhoven though, nor that it will be your last!

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