While it was founded in the 13th century, Eindhoven’s real history is intricately entwined with the rise of electronics giant Philips – so much so that it is informally known as the City of Light, in reference to the bulbs that the company once produced here in vast quantities. The Netherlands’ fifth-largest settlement may lack the old-world charm of other Dutch cities, but modern Eindhoven is a hub of innovation, technology and cutting-edge design, and many of its fascinating sights reflect this.
Eindhoven’s most striking building, the Evoluon, is in the shape of a flying saucer; formerly a technology museum, it’s now an events venue. The central Vesteda Toren stands out on the skyline as it resembles New York’s Flatiron Building, while De Admirant, at 105m (344ft), is the city’s tallest building. Nearby is the bizarrely amorphous structure known as De Blob, while across the street is the distinctive former Philips lightbulb factory, the White Lady. At one end, the top floors of its heptagonal Light Tower once shone like a permanent beacon, as this is where the company tested its light bulbs for endurance.
Philips may grab the headlines as the company that built Eindhoven, but the city is also home to another global company, DAF Trucks. The DAF Museum explores its history with a re-creation of the original DAF garage. There are hundreds of cars, trucks and other utility vehicles on display, including some heavy-duty survivors from the gruelling Paris-Dakar Rally. There are driving simulators and other themed hands-on games for the kids, plus you can climb into a trucker’s cabin or simply take a look at some whacky prototypes that never quite made it into production.
Thanks to its relatively recent development, Eindhoven has benefitted from sympathetic town planning and is one of the greenest cities in the Netherlands. It’s possible to follow the banks of the River Dommel from one side of the centre to the other along a leafy corridor virtually the whole way. Perfect for an evening stroll, Stadswandelpark (City Walking Park) is home to numerous modern sculptures that turn it into an outdoor art gallery. Also worth exploring is the expansive parkland surrounding the Karpendonkse Plas, a lake that’s home to a large population of geese as well as one of the city’s finest restaurants.
Eindhoven is proud of its sporting heritage, and nothing has given the city more reason to cheer than its men’s football team, PSV, which has won the Dutch league more than 20 times. A tour of PSV’s home ground, Philips Stadium, is a must for any fan. The visit takes in behind-the-scenes areas, such as the changing rooms and the directors’ box, and gives a glimpse into the pitch-side dugouts. The adjoining museum is packed with memorabilia from the club’s history, including a replica of the European Cup, a trophy the club won in 1988.
The biggest annual event in Eindhoven is Glow, a week-long spectacular celebration of light art that highlights the city’s design innovation and attracts more than 750,000 visitors. Each November the organisers create a different walking route around the city centre, peppered with around 30 art installations. They range from small and quirky fun pieces to the grand-scale illumination of the exterior of entire buildings, such as the Van Abbemuseum and the façade of the central St Catherine’s Church.
Northwest of central Eindhoven, the Strijp-S district was once the manufacturing hub of global electronics giant Philips. It was known as the Forbidden City, as the site was off limits to everyone except company employees. Today, it has taken on a new lease of life that’s accessible to all. Factories have transformed into a wealth of designer stores, art ateliers, creative spaces and fun activities ranging from a virtual reality experience to an arthouse cinema. It’s even home to one of Europe’s largest indoor skateparks. You’ll also find a growing selection of bars and restaurants, including a food hall and a brewpub.
Headed to Eindhoven? Read our guide and discover the best coffee shops in this Dutch city.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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