Eindhoven: City of Urban Culture

Eindhoven is the urban capital of the Netherlands. This is proven annually during the EMOVES Urban Culture Festival, when both world famous athletes, artists, and young local talent come together in Eindhoven to perform at a high level for a large audience. But even outside of the event, the city breathes urban culture. We had a chat with Dave van den Berg; manager of Dynamo, organizer of 'Step in the Arena', and artistic leader of EMOVES.

with Dave van den Berg

Eindhoven and urban culture

The fact that Eindhoven breathes urban is no coincidence, according to Dave. "Eindhoven is an experimental city. This pioneering character and the "do it yourself" mentality is in the Eindhoven DNA, you see it in technology, design, and also in our urban culture. The urban scene wants to take things to another level, be different. Like this city. Because of that, distinctive artists and athletes can grow here." Dave notices that the support among external parties has increased considerably. "For example, the municipality sees what urban culture means for a city like Eindhoven, in well-being, in sports, in the public space, in culture. That recognition is very important for the urban scene "

The support from parties such as the municipality and Strijp-S ensures that urban athletes have an increasing amount of facilities available to them to train in or at. Dave takes us along some of these places in the city (all open to visitors)!

Dynamo

Dynamo describes itself as a development platform for talent. You will find the striking building in the middle of the city center, opposite of the St. Catharine’s Church. "You can learn everything you see on stage at Dynamo." Recently, Dynamo set up HipHopLab040. Dave explains that the passion of young people for music, dance, art, and sports is a good means to keep them on the right track. The Ruggeds are a well-known example of a group that once started at Dynamo, is currently performing at an international level and has their own dance studio at Strijp-S.

Area51 & 040 BMX Park

In the middle of the Ketelhuisplein at Strijp-S you will find the impressive skatepark Area51 & 040 BMX Park. Recently, the wall dividing the two areas was torn down, so now you see all disciplines riding together in one big hall: skaters, BMX, WCMX, MTB riders, scooters, and inliners. Daan van der Linden, European skateboarder in 2017, and BMX rider Daniël Wedemeijer, who has been a Pro Red Bull driver for 5 years now, train at the park. As a visitor, you can just walk in and watch the athletes from the large balustrade.

Sportpark ‘t Schoot

Urban Sports Park 't Schoot is located near Strijp-T. On weekdays (evenings) and during the weekends you can watch calisthenics trainings. Calisthenics is a form of training with the weight of your own body. In addition to calisthenics equipment, you will also find an impressive survival run on 't Schoot, and there are plans to make more facilities available for other urban sports.

The city as a playground

For a number of urban sports, the public space in itself serves as a playground. For example, skateboarders can be found at the Stadhuisplein on a daily basis, and for freerunners, the stairs next to St. Catharine’s Church, the back of shopping center Heuvel (next to restaurant 't Zusje) and the Castle Garden tunnel, are popular places to train. Graffiti artists look at the public space as a blank canvas. To much delight of and partly on initiative of Dave, more and more murals are popping up in the city.

Murals

Dave shares his favourites with us. Behind the Klokgebouw on Strijp-S you will find the largest mural of the Netherlands in one theme. The 8 by 140m wall has portraits pictured of 7 artists who have once performed in the Klokgebouw (Fresku, M.I.A., Faithless, Motörhead, Die Antwoord, Kovacs, and Peter Pan Speedrock). Down the road, you will find a mural behind boulder gym MONK, but with MONK relocating any day now, the mural will be torn down. "The temporary nature of street art is something beautiful", says Dave. Last year, he was involved in realizing the mural next to Loods61. Spanish graffiti artist Aryz got a free pass to enrich the streetscape of the Kleine Berg.

Another favourite of Dave is the artwork of Johan Moorman (Spielerei). Those who enter Eindhoven via the Aalsterweg cannot miss his colorful 'Welcome to the Future'. Those who want to see graffiti artists at work: one week before EMOVES, graffiti duo Petro & Slak from Russia will transform the tunnel on the Noord Brabantlaan.

Berenkuil

Not to mention the Berenkuil, “the biggest open-air museum of the Netherlands.” Every EMOVES, the two-story interchange is the setting for graffiti festival 'Step in the Arena'. More than 150 graffiti artists from all over the world gather in Eindhoven and work on a creative transformation all weekend. During the festival, but also throughout the year, you can see all types of graffiti and street artists here: letters, cartoon, photo-realistic and post-modern graffiti.

 

This year, we can look forward to a number of interesting urban events, apart from EMOVES. For example, Dave also organizes 'Step Out of the Arena', consisting of separate street art projects throughout the city. Soon, a former telephone exchange of Philips will be transformed into a new urban sports hall, where freerunners, trickers and calisthenics practitioners can train. Furthermore, EMOVES and STRP Festival are joining forces to experiment with design and technology within the fields of graffiti, skateboarding, BMX, and breakdance. And vice versa.