Cycling in the footsteps of Philips and Van Gogh in Eindhoven

By: Naline Outdoor fanatic | Read time: 6 minutes
  • Watermolen van Opwetten in Nuenen

Street art beside meandering streams. Intimate dining in a factory building. Illuminated cycle paths past historic watermills. Eindhoven lives up to its name as Europe’s most innovative city. The city that introduces you to such icons as Philips and Van Gogh, but also to today’s Brabant entrepreneurs and the natural countryside that is just around the corner. I get on my bike to explore Eindhoven and Nuenen with its art, design and inevitable culinary stops along the way.

Day 1: Quartier Vivant

When I arrive in Eindhoven on a Friday afternoon, there’s no better place to start this city trip than in Eindhoven’s 'Quartier Vivant'; the Bergen. This lively central district is renowned for its many galleries and great places to eat and drink. I check in at Hotel de Match, located in the Kleine Berg, my favourite street in Eindhoven. Bobby’s bar is just around the corner, perfect timing for a Friday afternoon drink! After an enjoyable drink I cross over to the neighbours opposite for a street food dinner at HAN, the less expensive relation of the renowned Umami restaurant. Room for a desert? You’ll find that at the neighbours at Dutch Homemade.

Day 2: The city’s hidden gems

A street art treasure hunt

A street art treasure hunt

Next morning I’m ready with my rented e-bike for a trip of discovery past the industrial heritage, street art and lovely natural areas in the city. Eindhoven is teeming with murals, some of which are impossible to miss, while others are better hidden. If you look carefully, you’re sure to find the best places, so I download the Street Art Cities app and take myself from the city centre to Strijp-S past colourful works of art.

Strijp-S, a local place with a great story

Strijp-S is North Brabant’s showcase for art with a rough edge and a good dose of innovation. The electrical giant Philips ended its production here in the 1990s, and now it’s a creative stronghold that you’ll never get tired of as a visitor. Whether you come for street art, an unusual gift, a fun event or lunch in an industrial (in other words Instaworthy) setting: Strijp-S gives you that experience. Why not go into the Ketelhuis (Boiler House) for a tasty meal, just like I did?

Peace and quiet beside the River Dommel

Want to leave the hectic city behind you? You don’t need to get out of Eindhoven, just follow the Dommel! This meandering stream connects towns and villages in Brabant along a length of more than 120 kilometres. In Eindhoven it winds its way through parks, under bridges and past various sites, including the Van Abbemuseum.

Eat out in style:

Van Gogh Village Nuenen

Having arrived in Nuenen you can park up your bike, because in this ‘Van Gogh Village’ history is there for the taking. And the best place to start is at the Van Gogh Village Museum. I went on a journey through his life, from his early and remarkably good sketches as a 9-year-old to his complicated love life and to his eventual breakthrough to become a world-famous artist.

Day 3. Van Gogh Cycle Route Nuenen - In the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh

Next morning I get on my bike with fresh sandwiches in my bag. It’s time to discover the lovely area around Eindhoven, and I’m doing that in Van Gogh’s footsteps. I follow one of the cycle loops in the Van Gogh Cycle Route; a network that traverses North Brabant for more than 435 km past 45 Van Gogh heritage sites. Signs along the route show the way, as do information columns with audio. I’m limiting myself today to the Eindhoven-Nuenen section, and that turns out to be a good choice.  The ride takes you for 13 kilometres through the countryside that so inspired him and which, because I have no talent as a painter, proves to be a good inspiration for taking some great photos.


“If you’re looking for a great place to take a a break, I unpacked my picnic next to the Opwetten watermill which was immortalised by Van Gogh on many occasions.”

Walking through an outdoor museum

Walking through an outdoor museum

This discovery trip continues, because from the Van Gogh Village Museum the history of Van Gogh’s story is visible all around Nuenen. My guide Aleks takes me on a walking tour in the artist’s footsteps. If you are doing the walk by yourself, simply follow the marked-out route past the monuments. This will take you past the only remaining weaver’s houses in Nuenen – nowadays a B&B – and past the iconic chapel where Vincent’s father was the preacher.

As I leave Nuenen, my weekend in Eindhoven is coming to an end. But not before I cycle back to the city along the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde cycle path. This was inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s world-famous Starry Night painting and comprises a unique technological design of light and colour. There’s nowhere more appropriate for this than in innovative Eindhoven.

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