Ever since I can remember I have a healthy obsession with lists. Especially best-of lists such as ‘Twenty Movies You Have to Watch Before You Move on to Another World’ or ‘The Ten Healthiest Veggies’, or what about ‘The Worst Exercises People Do in the Gym’, or ‘Things Never to Say to Her’ (this last one may save your life and the one before could save your spinal health).
The internet is swarming with these lists; and I am not complaining. Maybe I am just hungry for more recommendations on some subjects which have caught my interest or I want to make the most of my time on this planet, without getting hurt too badly. I don’t know. Maybe I am a little snobbish and like to pretend I have watched, read, visited, or eaten the cream of the crop. Anyway, before I get hopelessly sidetracked, I will now proceed to offer you The 10 Ten Best Green Spots in Eindhoven. Perhaps it’s not the most interesting of topics, you think (aloud), but wait! I will try very hard to convince you that it is.
You see, we humans – I assume you are human and not an extraterrestrial trying to pass yourself off as one – are creatures of nature. Many of us have totally forgotten about this and enclose themselves in big concrete buildings all day long with hardly a window through which blue sky can be seen, or, more often than not in this country, all the various hues of grey (50 in total). It seems to me sometimes weeks go by without the sun breaking through in this country.
Anyway, believe it or not, we human beings – people – need greenery to thrive, either in our tummy (eat your veggies!) or when we walk around and get some fresh air. You can’t live long sitting all day long for years and years in a concrete office building and drink *insert random brand of energy drink and/or potato chips* nonstop. At least go out once in a while and try to count rabbits or squirrels and soak up some sunlight if it’s available, ‘kay?
We need nature to be healthy and stay healthy, so be my guest and make it a top priority to visit these green areas regularly and relax, look around, and have some new adventures. Thank me later, or now. So without much further ado, here’s my top 10 green spots in this town, not in any order. If you can’t force yourself to follow my suggestions, maybe get a puppy, who will drag you outside to a tree that perhaps grows in one of these spots. If you google the name, you will find the place on the map.
1. Genneper Parken
A park of considerable size in the south of town, but not that far away from the downtown area, only minutes on a bike, practically seconds on an e-bike. Fortunately it is not that manicured as so many parks are, so you might get to see some interesting wildlife. There’s an organic farm often open for a visit and you can buy food there and watch pigs, cows or chickens. Definitely go in spring to pet calves and piglets. Do not forget to visit the ‘heemtuin’, which is a little park inside the park. This makes me think of those Russian dolls, but I digress.
2. Henri Dunantpark
If you live somewhere in the north of town, as I do, this is your best bet for a natural area, with petting zoo, big pond, and cool playing area for kids, if you have any of those. If you have a dog, s/he’ll be very happy too here.
3. Karpendonkse Plas
Not too far from the Technical University, you can find a large body of water surrounded by grassy areas and of course trees and lots of space to run, walk, and ogle the huge mansions around. Try to guess what the inhabitants do for a living. Maybe it’s sort of like what The Sopranos did.
4. Wandelpark Eckart/Eckartse Bos
Just up north as seen from the Karpendonkse Plas (see 3), across the road in fact (van Oldenbarneveltlaan), there is a woodland you can easily get lost in, especially if you happen to find yourself there after dark. Make sure to leave a trail of bread crumbs or, better, little pebbles, so you can find your way back. The forest birds will probably eat the bread. Spoiler: You can even find deer living in the woods there, but usually the deer see/hear/smell you first and thus most people really don’t know they are there, but now you know.
5. Urkhovense Zeggen
Get yourself over to Collseweg 1, where you can find a very old watermill. From here you can take an interesting path down south all the way along a gently twisting stream (De Dommel) until you either get tired and want to return or vow to find out where this path leads to. Have fun. Do not visit after heavy rainfall or no one will know where you disappeared into.
6. Stratumse Heide
Once upon a time most of the countryside in this part of the world consisted of heathland, after people cut down the trees and allowed their sheep to (over)graze the ‘wilderness’. The soil became depleted, everything got eaten (darn sheep), and as a result few things can grow there but heather. Go as far as the end of the Heezerweg in the south and try not to get lost in the woods before you arrive on the heathland. Treasures along the way are toad-infested little lakes or fens. Some of the fens used to be occupied by piranha-like fish that were so voracious and numerous, the waters seemed to seethe with them and nothing else dared live in those waters, except maybe the toads (no one in his right mind eats toads). Okay, just kidding, but trust me those fish were many and always hungry.
Right in the southwest corner of Eindhoven, you can walk along another section of De Dommel. You can spot waterfowl here, for example, or muster up enough guts to walk underneath the roaring A2 and explore new territories beyond.
8. Philips de Jonghpark
Recently a busy road for cars got closed off here and now only cyclists and other more friendly traffic is allowed on there. The road leads to another town up north, Oirschot, but that’s a little far to walk for most. Visit this park, though, and plop down on one of the large grassy areas on sunny days.
9. Anne Frankplantsoen, Dommelplantsoen & Stadswandelpark
These parks are all closely located to the downtown area. Of these, the Dommelplantsoen is the ‘wildest’, I mean most natural. If the trees and shrubbery are green again, you can’t see around the next bend in the path ahead… You never know what or who you run into, maybe a fox or that annoying colleague from work or your secret crush. This allows for unexpected and exciting conversations, not with the fox obviously. Last time I checked, foxes don’t talk, except in The Fox and the Hound (1981).
This little-known last entry is the Wasvenboerderij and its surroundings. The farm (boerderij = farm) offers excellent (organic) foods and drinks and grows its own vegetables, bakes bread, roasts delicious coffee beans, et cetera. The little park is home to some big trees and of course the usual suspects: birds, squirrels, little rodents, more toads than you can count when it’s raining, and all their forest friends. You can find it close to Celebeslaan, Eindhoven.
I hope you are inspired to make an effort to visit some or all these places this year. Have fun.
Author: Jeroen Nouwens