Recently, we spent a day exploring Eindhoven. I have to say, Eindhoven had never really pinged my radar. But whilst staying at a holiday park nearby, we thought we might as well venture out and see what we could see. And I’m so glad we did.
Fact about me. I like visiting religious buildings. Whatever your beliefs or religious leanings- such a personal thing- I think you can gain insight into a place and its history by visiting a place of worship. I also like a good graveyard, but that’s another story. No surprise, then, that I was drawn to Sint Catharinakerk. Presiding over the city like a grand old lady, the Church as it stands has been in existence since 1867, but there has been a church on this site for hundreds of years.
The interior of the present church is incredibly beautiful. It is still used for worship, but also is very welcoming to visitors. The site around the church was excavated in 2005 and some of the finds are displayed within.
Buried beneath the square, are the brick foundations of the choir of the Medieval St Catharines church. When upon excavation, the skeletons of some 1000 individuals buried between 1200 and 1850 were discovered. Transparent panels have been installed at ground level outside the church, enabling you to look straight down at what remains. The skeletons, including that of a small child, seem in remarkably good condition. If bones and churches interest you (it can’t just be me, can it?) you might enjoy reading Kutna Hora, Beautiful Bones.
Fascinating as it is to look down, spend some time looking up. The exterior of the Church is stunning . I found the cheeky-looking gargoyles quite appealing, as did my five-year-old.
Wandering the main shopping area of the city (well worth a visit, by the way. A good range of shops including the most tidy and organised Primark ever encountered) we stumbled upon a reminder of Eindhoven’s more recent history. This plaque commemorates the liberation of the city following four years of Nazi occupation. Slightly irritating that someone left a bike there, disrespectful to both the soldiers the plaque honours and the Dutch who endured Occupation.
Eindhoven is known for being a hub of design and technology. It is, after all, the birthplace of Philips. But there is so much more to be found here. It may not be abundant in the traditional Dutch charms of other destinations, but it does combine history and modernity with a vibrant energy. There is a lot to be said for that! We only managed to scratch the surface,but I plan to return and dig a little deeper. When you visit a place that has you discussing a return trip before you even leave, I think it’s a winner.
Where have you been recently? Is there a city or place that calls you back, or do you seek out someplace new each time you travel?