For Dutch standards, Eindhoven is a pretty big city. A city centre with high-rises, apartment buildings, offices and a lot of neighborhoods with an endless row of townhomes.
But on the outskirts of Eindhoven, tucked in between De Tempel and Blixembosch, there is a sweet little lane with farm houses, that does not really seem to fit in with the rest. It almost seems like time stood still here and its peacefulness stands out among all the other modern houses.
I live in Blixembosch and pass by them almost every day. I knew this small part of Eindhoven is called ‘Philipswijk’ (Philips quarter), but I had no idea why. A few years ago I got so curious that I decided to do some digging. This is what I found.
In the 1920’s the Philips factories were expanding in such a way that Philips was building complete new neighborhoods for its workers. The most prominent example is Philipsdorp in the city centre. The original entrance pillars can still be found right next to the PSV stadium.
Philips attracted workers from all over The Netherlands. Most of them were Roman Catholic farmers, or came from a farming family. In an attempt to simulate their living environment as much as possible, Anton Philips wanted to build farm houses on large plots of land. This way he could convince farmers to move to Eindhoven and continue to practice their profession, while their children would be working at the Philips factories.
Anton Philips got into an argument with Eindhoven’s city council about the plot size and he turned to the municipality of Son, north of Eindhoven. They had no problem with his plans of building farm houses with a plot of land to grow vegetables and keep livestock. He got to implement his idea in 1928, in what was then called ‘Bliksembosch’ on a piece of moorland called ‘Esperheide’.
Originally, Philips built 36 semi-detached farm houses with half an acre of land per home, in the municipality of Son (nowadays this part belongs to Eindhoven). When residential area De Tempel was built in the 1960’s, most of these old farm houses were demolished. The owners of the remaining ones had to surrender some of their land for the construction of the Blixembosch residential area, thirty years later, in the late 1990’s. But even now at modern day standards, the plot sizes are still very large. However, nobody is farming anymore. The owners are probably enjoying their huge gardens nowadays.
The lane with the remaining houses is classified as a municipal monument, because of its historical regional importance. With its beautiful oak trees, beech hedges and ditches, it is a very nice place to take an autumn walk, or even a winter walk…