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Did somebody mention a monumental mansion?

September 14th, 2010

Filed under: LIFESTYLE


Stratumsedijk 20, once an aristocrat's castle, now an ict HQ

Open Monumenten Dag (Open Monument/Heritage Day) is a good way to discover the heritage of Eindhoven. Not only tourists can learn new things about the city, long time inhabitants can be just as surprised by the buildings on display. I thought I knew my share about old industrialists’ mansions in Eindhoven since I live next to (unfortunately not in…) the ‘Villapark’ neighbourhood, which is peppered with these disproportionally large houses. This year’s theme of Open Monument Day, ‘the taste of the 19th century’, showed me some villas I’d never laid eyes on before.

The tourism board organised guided tours along a series of 19th century mansions built by aristocrats and industrialists. Tickets were free, which is always a good way to attract a crowd, especially Dutchies. 🙂 A very good way, as it appeared, since all tickets were gone just one hour after the booth opened. It meant I had to go out on my own, fortunately no problem with the map I picked up. I was pleasantly surprised by the mansions I discovered. Some were tucked away behind avenues of trees, others were standing in full sight. All were quite new to me. Funny how you can actually overlook something as big as a mansion.

Stratumsedijk 24, a hidden gem

The real pull of Open Monument Day is of course the possibility to check out the interior of otherwise closed off buildings. Unfortunately, the inside is where you are brought back to the 21st century. Since not a lot of people are able to afford these mini-castles, most are turned into office space. And as experience shows, office spaces often aren’t very attractive. How about a beautifully ornamented ceiling with large fluorescent lamps hanging from it? Me no like.

Sometimes it's in the details. A marble floor for instance

Fortunately other details made up for these barbarisms. Original staircases, marble floors and classic gardens give a taste of the craftsmanship of the past. I concluded that these buildings are monuments, not museums. They’re still in use and, even more important, still standing. Something I’m grateful for – given Eindhoven’s penchant for “innovation”. And it’s always a treat to discover something new in a city you thought you knew!

Click here for the googlemap.

Open Monumenten Dag takes place annually, the second weekend of September, nationally, in the Netherlands. For more info, visit the site.

Note from the Editor: Our new contributor Floris Jol is a true-blue Eindhovenaar. Interested in living the good Eindhoven life, he’ll be giving tips on music, culture, food and more, in future files for The Dossier.

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