Discover Eindhoven, The Netherlands in this catalogue of creative happenings

x marks this spot

November 23rd, 2010

Filed under: LIFESTYLE

Yep, and that spot is Eindhoven. It deserves a prominent place on the Netherlands’ map, and today I’ll review 10 publications and sites (not in any order) that prove it in terms of stuff to do and what’s happening. None of the English language resources were around when I moved here. Some are English – definitely well overdue! – and others are Dutch only.

1. X magazine for expats|
This fun-sized fit it in your backpack/handbag/briefcase 64 page Brainport publication came out last month. Fresh and easy on the eye, thanks to the creative sensibilities of Editor-in-chief Wies van Kats, it’s a handy little resource for newcomers to the south-eastern part of the Netherlands, namely Eindhoven and Maastricht. In it are profiles of expats who’ve been around for weeks, months and years (hm, check page 36 – 37 for a particularly interesting one …). There are also walking tours of the two cities, quizzes and recipes to test.¬† To be honest, the title of the magazine did initially irk me, as it had a faint whiff of “X-rated” about it, but the cover will quickly dissipate those associations. You can’t get more wholesome than a happy young lady with cows at pasture in the background, right? It had a limited print run of about 10,000 and if you need to know where to get yourself a copy, please contact me and I’ll help you find out. I do know that it’s free.

2. Eindhoven VVV Guide
Just prior to summer, the VVV released a new look guide to Eindhoven. It’s been put together by some very cool local peeps like 40Watt, Simone van Wijk, Mike Roelofs, and Angela Jansen. It’s a serious publication in terms of page length 128) and there’s nothing flimsy/brochure-y about it. Fold out covers on the front and back depict the city skyline, and inside are comprehensive maps and a breezy casual writing style in both English and Dutch (which at times is inconsistent, but then again reflects the voices of Eindhoven). The content is solid and the design is decidedly modern and vibrant. A real change of scene from the uninspired and corporate flyer that it has replaced – it’s much more Phaidon/Wallpaper pocket city guide! Now the next step is the VVV website, but something tells me that that’s a ch-ching problem … The guide, however, is as I said, free and available at the VVV in Eindhoven and in various other locations around the city.

website is new site for Eindhoven this year, having launched just after the summer. It’s a guide to what’s on and where to eat, and things to do, like events and festivals, targeted at those passing through Eindhoven or just arriveds. It’s also useful for expats and students who don’t have the time or impetus to learn Dutch. Some people I know really like the site and immediately bookmarked it – they were expats. Others find the design offensive to their hard-core arty-farty sensibilities, and have called it “ongezellig”… these latter people are Dutch! However, it is hard needed here and sure, it’s a franchise model site (there are similar sites for Krakow, Berlin, Amsterdam etc), but the woman behind it, Ilse van der Palen, has been working hard at supporting local business and events to create a sense of membership for Eindhoven’s newcomers. I wish such a site had been around when I moved here. Which is why I started up …

4. The Dossier
This would hardly be a comprehensive review if I didn’t give The Dossier a plug. Four years ago there were no other English references to what it is like to live in Eindhoven apart from¬† the rather dry, uninspiring pages supplied by the local council, VVV, or official Brainport pages. The Dossier is in some ways a social experiment; documenting the creative happenings in a city claiming to be a creative city. The results are good and there are loads of things to do here. What we aim to do with The Dossier is show, at an international level, that there is a heartbeat brimming with cultural richness here in Eindhoven, and to assuage any fears that a newcomer may have upon arrival in the area. It is also an interesting site to observe if you’re a local, to get a feel for an expat perspective. I couldn’t get a real feel for things in Eindhoven because at the time I didn’t read Dutch.

However, if you do read Dutch, or want to practice, here are some pointers:

is a new initiative launched only this year by housing corporation Trudo. It is a news and culture webmagazine, in Dutch. You can’t leave comments on there, which I find frustrating as a blogger! But it does give a good feeling for the view of the artier/designier type of Eindhovenaar, from opinion, film, reviews, previews, profiles and news stories. I think it’s a lovely designed format, and has a section called “Dossier 040” which I’m not sure how I feel about it … but is a happy coincidence, I suppose.

Parent company De Telegraaf is doing a pilot of satellite blogs and started up a few months ago with one in Eindhoven. The content ranges from crime and accident reports, sports updates and general news. Its objective is to engage the local community to share their experience of Eindhoven, through enabling non-journalists to write stories and columns and to open up forums and discussions between subscribers. The Dossier even contributes an English language column on culture, Eindhoven Culture Files, which has so far been received with mixed feelings from the predominantly Dutch speaking audience. You need a profile to post comments, but this can easily be created via your Twitter or Facebook account. One minor grizzle on my behalf is the preference for Hyves, the social media tool that has was recently taken over by De Telegraaf. Oh yeah, and the site is admittedly a bit ugly with its banners and all, but that’s just my expat/design/arty-farty eyes talkin’.

This is a recent initiative by Arno de Natris is by far not the most beautiful blog in the blogsphere, but I don’t think that that’s Arno’s objective. It does give a different slant to local events. More tabloidy, and clearly very commercial, might be of interest to some.

nlagenda is a nation-wide blog on what’s on, which some months ago made moves to include Groningen and Eindhoven on its radar, but so far it’s not really coming up with much stuff on either area. Worth keeping an eye on.

9. De Uitloper
De Uitloper
Eindhoven is a local weekly hardcopy listings of things to do across most venues in the city. Very useful for checking out cinema screenings or live music – whether you can read Dutch or not. Get your long, thin, free, concertina-folded hardcopy in most cafes and cultural institutions around the city.

10. Uit in Brabant Cultuur Krant
This is handy if you’re into theatre, music, the arts in general. It has a listing and some interesting info on local meetup groups, clubs and other stuff. It’s also to be found in hardcopy in most cafes and cultural institutions, and it’s free. Or you can check it out online. There appears to be very little editorial as I gather most events have to pay for listing… I’m not sure of this, though.

None of these English language resources were around before this year
The main message I want to send in this entry is that none of the English publications or sites were around when I moved to the area. Such a void can make one feel like one is about to go and live in a backwater … The only English resources I had to hand four years ago were drrrrrry, blue, uptight, corporate sites mainly supplied by the local council, tourism board or Brainport. It’s good to see Eindhoven turning a corner and recognising its international-ness by supplying references accessible to all its visitors and residents.

Tell me what I’ve missed
Or tell me which of these are you favourite references. Or is it the Eindhovens Dagblad, or the bartender at your local pub, or indeed, The Dossier? Is it your network of friends or a club that you belong to? How do you get your information on life around here?

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