Eindhoven is not your typical Dutch city and has few historical sights of interest. This is mainly because the town – which was granted city rights in 1232 – only grew to any size in the twentieth century: in 1900 Eindhoven’s population was approximately 4700, but a century later it had passed 200,000, making it the country’s fifth largest city. What happened in between was Philips, the multinational electrical firm: the town is home to Philips’ research centre (the manufacturing plant had such trouble recruiting here, it relocated to Amsterdam), and the name of Eindhoven’s benevolent dictator is everywhere – on bus stops, parks, even the stadium of the famous local football team, PSV Eindhoven. The town even moved the main train station (in the shape of a Philips transistor radio) to make sure all the company’s employees could get to work faster.
What little there was of old Eindhoven was bombed to smithereens during World War II, but being a very modern city does have its advantages, with a leading modern design academy and many hi-tech multinationals based here. The annual internationally renowned Dutch Design Week draws almost 80,000 visitors, and all sorts of design projects can be found around town. The technical university draws in many international students making nightlife vibrant, with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from.