When people think about visiting a European city they often think of old historic buildings, impressive church squares and narrow streets filled with history. That is not Eindhoven.
Now don’t get me wrong, Eindhoven dates back to the 13th century so it has plenty of history. But, more than that it is a city of innovation and modern design.
Eindhoven, located in the south Netherlands is the fifth-largest city in the country. These days it is known as a technology and design hub. Until the industrial revolution however, Eindhoven was a small, unimportant town. That all changed in 1891, when a little lightbulb manufacturing company known as Philips was founded here. During the early 20th century, industry grew exponentially in the city, and with it, the population and importance of Eindhoven.
During the Second World War, parts of the city were destroyed by air raids. The reconstruction that followed replaced many of the destroyed historical buildings with modern structures, including the first high-rises. Since then, the city has embraced modern architecture, and is now known as the capital of Dutch industrial design.
Philips has made Eindhoven into a major technology hub, attracting talent from all over the world. It gives the city a vibe that is different from all other cities in the Netherlands. And if you love innovation, design, and creativity then Eindhoven is a city you want to check out!
Plus with so many cheap airlines (Ryanair, Vueling, Transavia) flying into Eindhoven Airport every day, Eindhoven has become an easy and cheap city break!
What to see and what to do in Eindhoven for the perfect city break
1. Start by visiting Brandstore Eindhoven
Even Eindhoven’s tourist office is more innovative than in most other cities! Brandstore Eindhoven is located right outside Eindhoven’s central train station. And with its bright red roof it’s impossible to miss.
Of course here you can find all the information you need about what to see and do in Eindhoven. But they also sell Eindhoven merchandise, offer group tours and you can rent bicycles to see more of the city. Definitely pop in to chat to the knowledgeable staff or check out their website Thisiseindhoven.com for more information about Eindhoven.
5611 AC Eindhoven
Monday – Friday 9:30AM–6PM
2. Have a coffee at CoffeeLab
Inside Brandstore Eindhoven you can find this cozy, trendy cafe with great coffee. Stop by for a good cup of coffee to get ready to explore Eindhoven. Their staff is lovely and will make you agree with what is often said in the Netherlands: people from the South are just a bit friendlier! They also have some delicious grilled sandwiches and you should definitely try their cakes.
5611 AC Eindhoven
Monday – Thursday 7AM–6:30PM
3. Visit Strijp-S
Visiting Strijp-S is definitely one of the main things to do in Eindhoven.
Strijp-S is a neighborhood in Eindhoven and a former industrial park. The area belonged to electronics company Philips. The name Strijp-S comes from the naming pattern that Philips used in its industrial parks. Strijp-S was the first park, and Strijp-T and Strijp-R followed.
In 1916 Anton Philips built the first factory in Strijp-S; a glass factory for light bulbs. Strijp-S was where radios and televisions were invented and produced, as well as many other devices. The credo “Van zand tot klant” (“from sand to customer”) stood behind the idea that Philips controlled every phase of production from research to storage, from glass blowing to cardboard production: everything on one enormous piece of land.
In the 1990s Philips gradually left Eindhoven and in 2000 the first discussions took place about the repurposing of Strijp-S. Today Strijp-S offers an interesting mix of residential areas, art exhibitions, food and leisure, many of which are housed in the former industrial buildings.
It might not be love at first sight when you arrive to Strijp-S but give it some time. You will start to appreciate the grungy nature of the area as you walk around and find more and more cool places.
Places to visit in Strijp-S:
A small scale covered shopping mall in a former factory hall. No big chains or standard shops but a diverse range of small stores offering anything from books to jewelry and art.
Torenallee 60, 5617 BD Eindhoven
Monday & Tuesday Closed
Wednesday – Friday 11AM–6PM
Vershal Het Veem
An indoor food market. If you are in Strijp-S during lunch time then I highly recommend stopping here for a bie to eat. But even if you are not hungry you want to just walk around this market to smell the smells and maybe pick up some food items to take home with you.
Torenallee 86-02, 5617 BD Eindhoven
Monday – Tuesday Closed
Wednesday – Saturday 10AM–7PM
Intelligentia ICE isn’t just an ordinary ice cream parlor but a tastings bar. With interesting mixes of fruit, vegetables and herbs it is definitely some of the most creative ice cream I have ever seen. But, also some of the best! Besides ice cream Intelligentia ICE offers creative pastries and chocolate plus a good selection of tea and coffee.
Leidingstraat 43, 5617 AJ Eindhoven
Depend on the season, but they stay open year round.
An art gallery offering a mix of international contemporary art, design, new media and urban art.
Torenallee 40, 5617 BD Eindhoven
Monday – Friday 10AM–6PM
Enversed Virtual Reality Center
I wish I knew about this place before I planned my trip to Eindhoven! Enversed is Europe’s largest virtual reality center. So if you are looking for a fun new experience, I would add this to my list.
Torenallee 100-02, 5617BE Eindhoven
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 11AM–10PM
Saturday & Sunday 11AM–7PM
4. Explore downtown Eindhoven
Eindhoven isn’t a big city and the city center, or downtown Eindhoven, can easily be explored on foot.
Start by going to the 18 September Square (18 Septemberplein). On this modern looking square you find the Piazza, a covered shopping mall next to department store Bijenkorf.
And what can’t be missed is “The Blob”, a futuristic looking building that is rapidly becoming the icon of Eindhoven. It houses a small shopping mall with a cafe.
The final thing you should check out here is actually underneath the square. You will notice two modern looking entrances to what you probably assume is a metro. It is not. It’s actually the entrance to a large bicycle park. Walk in there to see once again how popular cycling is in the Netherlands but also to take a look at some historic remains with interesting information about Eindhoven’s history.
Walk south from the square and you will find numerous shops. From international chains to cute boutiques. As with most Dutch cities the city center is where most locals go for a day of shopping. So expect it to get crowded especially on Saturdays.
When you need a break from exploring Eindhoven just stop at one of the numerous bars and restaurants you will find in the center. And do visit the St. Catherine’s Church (Sint-Catharinakerk). It is a beautiful neo-Gothic Catholic church right in the center of Eindhoven.
Tip: on Sunday most stores don’t open until noon.
5. Stop for lunch at Down Town Gourmet Market
If you are looking for a cool lunch place in the center of Eindhoven I highly recommend the Down Town Gourmet Market, which is one of my favorite places to visit in Eindhoven.
The Down Town Gourmet Market is a covered market with a wide range of small eateries. From burgers to sushi, in a creative yet cozy setting. Prices are reasonable and all the food we tasted was delicious.
Smalle Haven 2-14, 5611 EJ Eindhoven
Tuesday – Thursday 12PM–11PM
Friday & Saturday 12PM–12AM
6. Have a cocktail at the Vane Skybar
I love rooftop bars. Especially when exploring a new city it’s such a great way to get an overview of the city. And Vane definitely is a rooftop bar worth visiting.
Vane is located on the top two floors of the luxury NH Hotel. On the first of the two floors you find a stylish restaurant and above that the skybar.
I would recommend going to the skybar just before sunset to get a great view of the city both before and after dark. The cocktails in the skybar have been created by internetionally renowned bartender Tess Posthumus. I tried three of them and have to say: they were delicious!
Tip: Vane Restaurant & skybar are incredibly popular and can get very crowded. If you want to have dinner at Vane restaurant you will have to book months in advance!
Vestdijk 5, 5611 CA Eindhoven
Monday – Thursday 11AM–12AM
Friday & Saturday 11AM–1AM
7. Eat out in Eindhoven
With its innovative nature Eindhoven offers a lot of good and creative restaurants. From quick eats to fine dining, including several Michelin star restaurants.
We had dinner at restaurant Kazerne in Eindhoven
Kazerne is a unique combination of an art exhibition and a restaurant, situated in a former industrial warehouse.
Chef Carlos Blankers and souschef Giovanni Gabana develop a number of new seasonal dishes every two weeks. Everything is fresh, homemade, robust and vegetable oriented, with an Italian touch.
Kazerne definitely offers a unique dining experience. They have a small, creative menu and everything we ordered was delicious and looked beautiful. On top of that the service was great.
Kazerne offers both a lunch and a dinner menu and has a separate meeting room for bigger groups and events. But even if you don’t have time for lunch or dinner at Kazerne, just stop by for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine to check out this unique and creative venue.
Paradijslaan 2-8, 5611 KN Eindhoven
Daily from 12PM–12AM
Check out an overview of all restaurants in Eindhoven here
8. Enjoy Eindhoven’s nightlife
The south of the Netherlands is known for loving its food and drinks, and Eindhoven is no exception.
Stratumseind, in the center of Eindhoven, is the longest pub street in the Netherlands. It houses cafés that tell interesting stories, such as the beautifully revived Oude Rechtbank (Old Court). In the inner courtyard of this popular location, the accused were waiting to hear their sentence.
The Little One Speakeasy Bar is one of the smallest cafes in the Netherlands and is housed in an old almshouse.
We ended our evening in Jazz Bar Eindhoven listening to some live music.
9. Visit one of Eindhoven’s museums
Eindhoven houses a nice variety of museums. Whether you are into art, history, cars or soccer, Eindhoven has a museum for it.
We decided to go to the Philips museum
It is difficult to find anyone who hasn’t heard of Philips. Better yet, it is difficult to find someone who has never owned a Philips device. But I often meet people who had no clue Philips is Dutch.
The museum wasn’t as interactive as I would have expected from such an innovative city but if you are interested to learn more about Philips and the many things they have invented, do check them out.
Or visit one of Eindhoven’s other museums. Check out a list of all museums in Eindhoven here.
10. Explore the area around Eindhoven: see where Van Gogh painted his paintings
Did you know that many of Van Gogh’s famous paintings were painted just outside of the city of Eindhoven?
Van Gogh lived and worked in Nuenen from 1883 until 1885 and painted some of his most famous paintings here. Nuenen is located northeast of the center of Eindhoven and can easily be reached by bicycle. Start at the Vincentre, the Van Gogh Center, where you can learn more about how Vincent van Gogh lived in Nuenen and what he painted there. Hop back on your bike to see where Van Gogh painted his paintings. 17 interactive information columns along the route will tell you what Van Gogh’s connection was with these locations. Part of this route is the Van Gogh Roosegaarde path which is a unique cycling path inspired by Van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night.
And of course this is a great way to see a bit of the beautiful countryside the Netherlands offers.
Where to stay in Eindhoven: Inntel Hotels Art Eindhoven
Inntel Hotels Art Eindhoven is a 4-star art hotel in the centre of Eindhoven. What I loved most is that every single room has a unique design. A large number of the unique rooms are located in the monumental Philips factory, built in 1909, where in the past the first light bulbs were made and tested.
My conclusion: a very comfortable, modern hotel that just has that bit extra because of the unique rooms and the historical building. The central location is great but can make it a bit noisy.
5611 BJ Eindhoven
Tel: +31 (0)40 751 3500
Quick hotel facts
- 230 unique rooms
- Restaurant with open kitchen
- Located in the center of Eindhoven
- Longstay rooms with kitchenette
- Free Wi-Fi
- Gym & Spa
- Spacious rooms up to 700 sq/ft (65 m2)
- 3 meeting rooms for up to 175 persons
We stayed at a lovely Loft room in the monumental Philips factory. The room is spacious, very well maintained, with comfortable beds and a great bathroom with a rain shower. The high ceilings exposing some pipes give it that slightly more industrial feel without losing any of the comfort you expect from a good 4-star hotel room. The room offers a rail with hangers to hang clothes but no separate closet.
The hotel has everything you need for a perfect city break in Eindhoven. Friendly staff, a nice bar and lobby, parking (at a fee) and free wifi throughout the hotel.
The breakfast is great. It offers a good selection of bread, cold cuts, eggs, fruit, yogurt, coffee, tea, juices and even sparkling wine to make your own mimosas. And it is set in a comfortable, well designed and well maintained breakfast area. Breakfast is not included in the price but it might be worth splurging for a relaxing start to your day in Eindhoven.
The hotel also offers a small gym and spa which I think are a nice extra.
What I loved most though is the design. Even the toilets in the lobby are stylishly decorated! And even though it is not a small hotel I think this helps to make it feel like a boutique hotel instead of a standard city hotel that’s part of a hotel chain.
With room rates starting at just 99 euros I think this is great value for the comfort, friendly service and unique design the hotel offers. With its central location it’s a great hotel to explore Eindhoven from. The only downside is that breakfast comes at an extra charge of 22.50 Euros per person per day.
Best time of year to travel to Eindhoven
As for visiting any city in The Netherlands I would say, the best time to visit Eindhoven is from early May until late September. During this time of year the average rainfall is a bit lower and the temperature is generally mild to comfortably warm.
But, Eindhoven has two major events you might want to check out: Glow Eindhoven and the Dutch Design Week.
Glow Eindhoven takes place in mid November and hosts a mix of international and local light artists. The festival focuses on light art and talent development, resulting in a versatile light art festival. Dutch Design Week is a nine-day event with exhibitions, workshops, seminars and parties at many venues. This famous design event takes place around the last week of October.
Traveling to Eindhoven and beyond
Eindhoven is easily reached both by train and by plane. To check train times and routes most people in the Netherlands use 9292.nl (or the app).
Map: what to see, what to do & where to stay in Eindhoven
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Disclaimer: Eindhoven365 helped organize my visit to Eindhoven. This however in no way affects my opinions. I would never recommend anything I didn’t enjoy myself and I only share my honest opinion.
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