More inhabitants from distant countries, high-rise buildings, and the English language spoken more often on the streets. The impetuous growth of chip machine builder ASML is evident in Veldhoven. Mayor Marcel Delhez sees his municipality changing. “The village character has remained,” he said.
In recent months, ASML has often been in the spotlight. The Veldhoven company is of international strategic importance. Even in the American White House, there is talk about the chip machine manufacturer. And of course, all this attention is not going unnoticed in Veldhoven. Many residents and Mayor Marcel Delhez are proud.
“There is a lot of media attention. Nationally and internationally. Residents are proud. I noticed that for example when my Eindhoven college Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in the media that ASML is in Eindhoven. At that moment I received a lot of emails. People thought I really should say something about it.”
Veldhoven notices ASML’s presence and growth. “We have a good local economy as a result. You notice that people have something to spend here. There are many jobs and stores doing good business. We all benefit from that,” explains Delhez.
All the success also has downsides. Residents see their village changing and complain that Veldhoven’s young people have difficulty finding a house. “The housing market is struggling. Prices are rising and there are not enough houses. We are aware of that. That is why we are building 5,000 homes until 2030. And the other municipalities in the region, especially Eindhoven, also need to build a lot.”
Another consequence is that the demography of Veldhoven is changing. More and more internationals are coming to live in the village, from other parts of the world.
Still, Delhez is not afraid that Veldhoven’s village character will be lost. “We, therefore, invest in sports, culture, and club life. Veldhoven still has four soccer clubs, guilds, music societies, and flower societies. The village traits remain, within an urban environment. And yes, Veldhoven is changing, but that is not only because of ASML. That also has to do with the time period where we live in.”
Besides investing in culture and sports, Delhez thinks it is also important to involve internationals in club life. “In Oerle, for example, they do that. Newcomers participate in all kinds of activities and get to work as volunteers. That helps in understanding each other.”
Limit to growth?
Delhez does not want to anticipate where the limit to ASML’s growth lies. “That is for ASML to determine. The company cannot grow indefinitely, but for now, there is still room for expansion. And if something can’t be done, the Veldhoven City Council ultimately has the final say. No really is no then, even if it is ASML.”
ASML says it is having many conversations with local residents and Veldhoven organizations. In this way, the chip machine manufacturer says it keeps an eye on the consequences of the growth. In addition, local initiatives are supported, such as sponsoring an ice skating rink in the village.
Translation: Chaitali Sengupta. She also gives online INBURGERING classes.