UPDATE!!!!!!! It's now just a few days to the concert. PSV managed to become champion of the football league. Would also like to note that Kartonwinkel has just moved to a location on the Nieuwe Emmasingel #31. This is on the same street as Onigiri and Van Piere - unfortunately with Pentecost inbetween it's not likely that the cardboard shop will be open for business by Wednesday.
This article will relate to you what there is to do in Eindhoven. It was written specifically for Dir En Grey-fans coming to our humble little town, but I hope it will also serve band members and confused tourists in general.
Short History Of Eindhoven:
Eindhoven is an old town. It was given city rights in 1232, being conveniently located at two streams, the Dommel and the Gender.Through the Middle Ages and the war with the Spaniards, Eindhoven was often captured and recaptured by the different camps, and was destroyed several times in the process.
By 1800, Eindhoven had but 2,000 inhabitants – this boomed explosively to 220,000 inhabitants today. This was primarily caused by renowned electronics company Philips housing its factories in Eindhoven. The textile industries, tobacco industries and car manufacturer DAF also found their way to the city.
The current style of Eindhoven was primarily caused by the Second World War, getting bombed by both allied and German forces. Particularly the St Nicholas-raid of December 6th 1942 was destructive, claiming 148 lives on a children's holiday.
After the war, the city was rebuilt with little regard towards what was left of historical buildings – among others, a monumental water mill in Woensel and the neo-gothic town hall were demolished illegally. Most of the notable sights in the city include modern design and 1950s architecture, but Eindhoven is also one of the greenest cities in The Netherlands, hosting many large parks. The city is also big on sports, harboring one of the biggest football (soccer) teams PSV (who at the time of writing are in the lead of the Dutch competition), a major hockey team and a major swimming stadium. Well-known music groups and artists from Eindhoven are Peter Koelewijn en zijn Rockets, Armand, Do, Peter Pan Speedrock, Beef, Lady Aïda, Komatsu and Bots. In the other arts, director Jan de Bont (Speed), Efteling-designer Ton van de Ven and cartoonist Ton Smits are famous Eindhovenaren.
The best-known artist resident of the Eindhoven-region was Vincent van Gogh, who lived in nearby Nuenen for two years and often spent time in the surrounding villages.
EVOLUON is Eindhoven's symbol, one of the most recognizable and awe-inspiring buildings of The Netherlands. Shaped like a UFO, the former science museum displays architectonical highlights on both the inside and outside. Sadly Evoluon was suffering from competition and had to be closed down in 1989. Today it's a conference centre. Eindhoven citizens grab any chance they can to visit the building. Such a chance came in 2013, when Kraftwerk gave two shows here. Evoluon is located way away from the town centre – but the Phileas bus will provide a smooth run there.
CATHARINAKERK is the city's main church, was built in 1867 to replace the delapidated medieval church on the same site. It was designed by Pierre Cuypers, who also built the Rijksmuseum and Central Station of Amsterdam. It still functions as a church, and can be visited by day. On Saturdays, concerts can be attended here. During the renovation process of the church square, the remains of and in the old medieval church were researched. The square now shows, in relief, the contours of the old church – and through the windows in the floor, parts of the old foundation and interred remains can be seen. The church also has a small exposition on the archaeological dig, with human bones and numerous objects on display, and a small exposition on the WW2 damage done to the church.
AUGUSTIJNENKERK / MARIËNHAGE are a Catholic monestary and church. The complex hosts about the only medieval building in Eindhoven today: one wall. It has been a monastery since at least the 12th century. It has suffered the consequences of both the war with the Spaniards and the iconoclasm, which caused most of the destruction. All the same, the complex has a medieval cellar. In the Middle Ages, Mariënhage was a popular place for pilgrims and archaeological digs have unearthed the old foundations and many interesting artefacts. Besides that it is the location where Nicolaas Clopper wrote his comprehensive world history book Florarium Temporum from 1468 to 1472. The Augustijnenkerk is located at the Tramstraat, very close to de Effenaar, and can be recognized by the statue of Jesus on top. On Saturdays the church can be visited – sermons are read on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
LICHTTOREN was the old lamp testing tower for Philips, currently residential. Its unusual and back in the day revolutionary architecture once dominated the square it's on, but it's sadly drowning inbetween the violence of the Blob and the Mediamarkt. I made this analog photo back in 2001, before either building existed.
STATION EINDHOVEN, colloquially known as The Radio, was built as part of a new development in the town centre together with the freshly demolished post office, after WW2. Today it's a monument to the Wederopbouw era of the late 40s and early 50s: it has many interesting features like the large front windows, the integrated sculpture, the Mondrian quote, the coloured window and the roof made of old Bailey bridges that were used during WW2. Currently the station is being renovated to accommodate the massive growth of the number of passengers, but the original features can still be seen.
BERENKUIL A traffic tunnel system that would be ordinary, were it not for the fact that it's the designated free zone for graffiti. As it is a free zone, it attracts enthusiastic artists from all over Europe. Once a year, at the Step In The Arena festival, the walls are painted black and are completely redone over the course of the weekend. Berenkuil is a place to be wowed and inspired, and to make awesome photos. And if you have a spray paint can, don't let it stop you from leaving your own art. If you'd like to visit it, please remember it is a traffic tunnel: there is no parking space near it since the tunnels were created to ease the traffic flow in the first place. The best way to visit it is by bicycle.
STRIJP S is the former Philips factory complex, currently in development to become a cultural hubbub. Art cinema Plaza Futura, concert halls Pop-Ei and Klokgebouw, skatepark Area 51, climbing wall, numerous shops, art centres, education programmes and restaurants are located here. Very reachable by bus.
NATURE Eindhoven is one of the greenest communities in The Netherlands, with many parks. Particularly notable are the Genneper Parken towards the south, which contains Eindhoven Museum, major swimming complex Tongelreep, the skating hall, a minigolf course, the Museum Ton Smits, the Gennep water mill and a convent. There's more nature and art in the Stadswandelpark, the Henri Dunantpark, Philips De Jongpark and the renovated (and for any Dutchmen with long-term memories: cleared out) Anne Frankplantsoen.
SHOPPING: Eindhoven's shopping precinct is very lively, with late shopping on Fridays. It is the core shopping centre for the south of Netherlands and the north of Belgium. There are two covered malls, the Heuvelgalerie and the Piazza; there are major department stores V&D (if they're not bankrupt by May) and Bijenkorf, there are two Blobs for architectural shopping experience, there is the Demer with its beautiful Wederopbouw design... Some places that might be of interest are:
Kartonwinkel, interior design and children's toys – all made out of cardboard. I'm a big fan of the cardboard sheep CD store rack! Kartonwinkel shares house with a laser shop , is right next to board game shop Jolie, close to the Arab clothes store and convention centre Beursgebouw. This lovely little alley can be reached by walking through the tunnel at the rear of the Piazza centre: a bit of searching, but worth it!
Before Mediamarkt got them all out of business, Eindhoven had about 15 CD shops in the town centre alone; nowadays, multimedia can be found at the aforementioned Mediamarkt, Boekenvoordeel and Blokker, but for your good-time browsing there still are three shops available. Bullit Klassiek is located in the Heuvelgalerie, to be specific in the Muziekgebouw Frits Philips – they focus on classical music. RayElpee is a tiny but well-stocked shop at the Kleine Bleekstraat 19, with rich choice in vinyl and CD. The CD Theek is the only one that's left from the heyday of multimedia, located at the corner of Kleine Berg, next to the RPG shop.
For book browsers, the Van Piere at Emmasingel 44 is a very old store, dating back to the 1800s, later moved to Heuvelgalerie and finally to the new street near the Blob. This store was one of the restarted ones from the failed Polare chain. Van Piere is large on both Dutch and English books and also has a cafe and numerous activities. Considerably smaller but with an unbeatable atmosphere is Boekhandel Spijkerman, at Kleine Berg 5, right next to the Reisboekenwinkel (travel books) and in the same street as a children's book store. For second-hand books, the Amnesty International bookhome at Hertogstraat 2, across from vegetarian restaurant Burgers is a friendly place: cheap books, friendly workers and the money goes to charity. For those of us interested in comics, the beautiful building at Kleine Berg 33 has Eppo: unmissable, comprehensive on Magic and manga, with a wide selection and friendly staff.
Flying Tiger, at Vrijstraat, is still a young chain, but with a unique approach to the customers: selling everything from desk top accessories to toys to classy foods to world music, selling goods that cannot be found elsewhere and that immediately evoke charm.
Onigiri is a small design shop across from the Blob, with a wide range of design gadgets from Star Wars chopsticks to Tetris lights to Dutch Design shirts: even if you're not interested in buying, say, a spinning spaghetti bolognese fork, you'll have a fun time browsing.
Another perfect place for window shopping is Nita Gems: located below the escalators of Heuvelgalerie, they are hard to miss. The jewelry, statuettes and gemstones attract a lot of attention from casual shoppers.
WAAR, at Hermanus Boexstraat 13, sells fairtrade gifts and foods: a trip here is worth it for the feel of the bags made from recycled fire-hose alone.
The best place in town for icecream is at the corner of the Vrijstraat: located in the old phone building. A very wide range, including gluten-free icecream.
ROUTES Eindhoven is, like most of Brabant, very bicycle-friendly: cycle paths are ample and beautiful routes are laid out with many resting points. Three major routes are the Van Gogh route with the famous Starry Night cyclepath, Rondje Eindhoven that will take you all the way around the city, and the Liberation Route, which is part of the international network and has much information about the 2nd World War. For exact information on the Van Gogh route, please refer to the VVV, the tourist bureau. They're on the Stationsplein, the building with the red roof. They also rent out bicycles, sell wicked Eindhoven memorabilia and there's a little café where you can play chess and Rummikub.
FOODS Aside from the cuisine festival in late Summer, Eindhoven has quite a lot of restaurants of all shapes and sizes. As this article focuses on Dir en grey-fans, I will only focus on the Japanese restaurants in the town centre. Upon my last visit I counted no less than 8 places that can be classified as Japanese, or that at the very least serve sushi.
Note: This is based on TIME OF WRITING, February 2015.
Note 2: As I don't eat fish and am not much on rice or seaweed, I don't eat sushi, so for reviews please refer to other sites.
Note 3: I found at least two others since the last photoshoot.
1: Umi Kaiseki – actually Cantonese, located at Stationsplein 45. You'll need to go up a flight of stairs to get in. Has All You Can Eat sushi.
2: Yokohama. Unmissable with the big Japanese neon flag and the neon torii, close to the station. Located right across from Umi Kaiseki, Stationsplein 11. Reservation Needed.
3: Brasserie Teppan-Yaki has the distinction of being popular with the few Japanese people living here, known for its hosting. Nieuwstraat 12.
4: Right across is Tony's at Nieuwstraat 7C.
5: Sakana, Kleine Berg 1
6: Umami, Kleine Berg 57H
7: Soho, Jan van Lieshoutstraat 24A, behind Heuvelgalerie
8: Kyoto, St Antoniusstraat 18, right across from the Steentjeskerk.
Let me link you up to further photos I made of Eindhoven:
The Supplementary Photo Page, For When You Know You Walked A Couple Of Miles Too Many
Dierenrijk, zoo near Eindhoven
Strijp S The graffiti in Berenkuil has been rapidly changing over the years - I cannot vouch for any of these paintings, most of them have disappeared by now. But what's left is the photos:
Step In The Arena 2014 (outgoing)
Carnaval 2014 photo album outgoing
Carnaval 2014 video and that guy at the 2 minute mark is dressed up as what you think he is; outgoing
Gennep Water Mill
Snow in Eindhoven
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