History

In the 19th century, Eindhoven developed a tobacco-processing industry and got star-architect Pierre Cuypers to give its central church a splendid neo-Gothic rebuild. Still, the population was barely 2000 souls in 1891 when Gerard Philips founded an eponymous company to make early electric light-bulbs in a former wool-spinning factory. The company built homes and infrastructure and sponsored the now-famous football team Philips Sport Vereniging (PSV). Philips' growing expertise in glass technology led them to branch into X-ray and radio tubes which transformed them into a global electronics brand known in the 1960s for TVs, Philishave shavers and even their own record label. By the early 1990s, however, the company was teetering towards bankruptcy. At that time they employed 60,000 Eindhoven residents which has since plummeted to barely 7000. The company has more recently reinvented itself and Eindhoven remains a centre of high-tech research with top design and technology institutes. The city buzzes with cultural activity, much of which revolves around the renovated shells of several vast former Philips complexes.