24 Hours in Eindhoven

Eindhoven doesn’t normally spring to mind when someone suggests a weekend away in Holland. The fifth biggest city in the Netherlands, it initially prospered because of its industrial and manufacturing roots with technology companies now providing the city with employment and a very pleasant way of life.  Back in 1891, the Philips brothers, Gerry and Anton opened a small factory making light bulbs.  Today, Philips is one of the biggest electronics companies in the world.  The company’s presence is probably the largest single contributing factor to the major growth of the city, and responsibly for the creation of many hi-tech companies, making Eindhoven a major technology and industrial hub.

More visitors are arriving by air, with Eindhoven airport riding the budget airline wave (just 45 minutes from Stansted) and bringing visitors into the city every ten minutes or so on the 401 bus which costs €3.50 each way.  Trains run frequently to Rotterdam, Schiphol and of course Amsterdam itself, with journey times around an hour – as is everywhere in The Netherlands from Amsterdam.  Don’t forget to grab a quick Smullers Krokette or Frikadelle on the way out!
The city centre is quite compact and walkable, with some strange architecture dotted around, such as the Blob, a glass snail-type structure at the end of the pedestrianised shopping streets.  Assuming you are not only here to visit to watch the current Dutch champions elect, PSV, you may want a few other ideas to fill up your day.  The football club arranges stadium tours on non-match days and has a great museum but if football’s not your thing (really???) then there is the DAF Museum, dedicated to the motor industry as well as the Light Bulb Museum (The Philips Gloeilampenfabriekje) located in Emansingel.  The other big draw is the Van Abbemuseum, on Bilderdijklaan, which has some paintings that whilst they look they have been drawn by kids, are in fact originals from the likes of Picasso and Kandinsky.

Van Moll in Keizersgracht is probably the pick of the bars in the city centre if not in the whole of the damn Netherlands, with a dozen craft beers on tap and around fifty in bottles.  The atmosphere is very laid back with a DJ spinning some mellow yet unobtrusive tunes which is the complete opposite to the bars in Stratumseind which pump out Europop at early splitting volume. With over 40 bars and a number of places to eat, Stratumseind is Eindhoven’s main nightlife area. The best of the bunch are The Bier Professor and The Jack, the latter having the advantage of a dartboard so you can partake in the Dutch’s third most popular past time, football being the first, the second being….well, we’ve all seen the window displays in Amsterdam, and Eindhoven is no different if you head down to Baekelandplein.

Apart from fast food (and of course various outlets similar to the windows of Smullers), there are plenty of places to eat in Dommelstraat (almost directly opposite the train station), the Markt and the Bergen kwartier.  Steak lovers can tuck into some great slabs of beef in Gauchos in Dommelstraat or if Asian cuisine is more your thing then Yokohama serves outstanding teppan yaki just opposite the station.
As with most business cities, hotel rates are cheaper at the weekends.  The Eden Crown, located just a 2 minute walk from the station on Vestdijk, is a good, safe option for the night, whilst the Best Western Premier Arts Hotel on Mathildalen is slap-bang in the middle of the action.

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