About the host Rik Verhalle
Rik studied architecture and is a city guide in Eindhoven. Every month he shares a tip.
For this tip, Rik takes us to a large square, perhaps the most central location in Eindhoven. One that over the years has undergone many transformations: 18 Septemberplein. Also known as 'the Eindhoven boulevard'.
The square was built in 1955 and owes its name to the day Eindhoven was liberated in the Second World War: 18 September 1944. For decades it was one of the busiest traffic points in the city, only since 2006 is the square free of motorized traffic. Nowadays it is mostly filled with people enjoying a day of shopping. A few years ago, in order to keep the square free of bicycles as much as possible, a large underground bicycle storage facility was built. The special entrances are quite characteristic and look like giant tubes coming out of the ground. According to Rik, international visitors often think that this is the entrance to a metro line.
Rik leads us into one of the tunnels. As soon as you arrive downstairs you run into a number of excavations. Once upon a time, this place used to be the location of a city canal and one of the three old entrance gates: De Woenselse Stadspoort. During the excavation works, parts of this 700 year old gate were discovered, along with other archaeological finds. Nowadays, children can recreate those objects themselves, in the preHistorisch Dorp (prehistoric village).
On the 18 Septemberplein you will find many Italian influences. Architect Massimiliano Fuksas is responsible for the futuristic Blob, shopping center Piazza, and the bicycle storage. Gio Ponti is the architect behind the green facade of shopping center the Bijenkorf and the post cubism sculpture group right next to the Bijenkorf is the work of Mario Negri.
When you look down, you are likely to spot one of the many transparent tiles on the ground. The tiles are a reference to the river Gender, which flows under the square. There are plans to bring the river back up again at various places in the city, such as Victoriapark and District E, in a few years' time. In the middle of the 18 Septemberplein you will also find a memorial plaque. The stone depicts a big star, the words ‘Eindhoven Bevrijd’ (Eindhoven liberated), and the names of the American and British divisions that liberated Eindhoven in 1944.