The Philips Stadium, the Evoluon, the Lichtjesroute or the festivities? Eindhoven can’t be captured in just a few words or buildings. In the Parktheater yesterday, the question was: witte gij’t? (Did you know?)
This month, Eindhoven celebrates its centenary. Reason enough for a party and reflection. In recent years, the city has grown rapidly, with newcomers from all corners of the world. What is still the common denominator?
In the Parktheater, theatre producer Oscar de Boer is trying to answer this question. On three Sundays, he examines the past, present, and future of the city where he lives but didn’t grow up. He aims to collect information.
He’s doing so along with not only the theatre group, De Bende van Oz (Oz’s gang). The cultural organisation, Plaza040 and Stichting de Kleurrijke Stad (the Colourful City Foundation) are also involved. Oscar wants to use the collected information for a final theatre performance in December.
Yesterday, the past was central. Visitors could share their earliest memories of the city. As well as the nicest, most heartwarming features of ‘their’ Eindhoven. House band Bright Light performed too. They played songs by Armand, Lenny Kuhr and Gerard van Maasakkers.
Using various city maps, Huub Jacobs of the Eindhoven in Beeld Foundation discussed the city’s history. It started with the prehistoric remains of a settlement near the river Dommel. City rights were then acquired in 1232. That’s when the villages Gestel, Strijp and Woensel were incorporated. Did you know? That’s what formed Eindhoven’s star shape.
De Boer then talked to the members of two rival archers’ guilds. In earlier times, the archers defended the city against invaders. Nowadays, they practise crossbow shooting.
And they take part in the World War II Liberation Day parade. Did you know? Eindhoven is the only city in the Netherlands that celebrates its liberation.
In their yellow and red costumes, Gestel and Stratum’s Sint Joris guild representatives from Gestel talked about their struggle against an ageing membership. Not only are no young people joining.
There’s also little enthusiasm for the guild among 30 and 40-year-olds. But, there isn’t much room for newcomers, according to an audience member. For instance, women aren’t allowed to join these guilds.
In the final part of the afternoon, Johan Vlemmix took the floor. He’s lived in no less than 36 different places in Eindhoven. In the Kruidenbuurt neighbourhood of his youth, bicycles didn’t have to be locked.
Things have changed
And string hung from everywhere letter slot. Did you know? This was so friends and family could open the door without a key. Things have changed, agreed several people in the audience.
Still, not everything was better in the old days. In fact, Eindhoven should be more proud of its position as a knowledge centre, was the audience’s opinion. The inhabitants are friendly and sociable; the city is dynamic and open to change.
Comedian Matthias Tuns closed the afternoon with his first memory of the ‘city of lights’. He was fined for cycling across the market. Bystanders entered into a discussion on his behalf with the adamant enforcement officers.
The discussion degenerated into an argument, and a collection campaign followed. In record time, €85 was collected, almost double the fine. “Consider it a welcome gift,” Tuns was told.
Translated by: Bob
Edited by: Melinda Walraven