VDMA site | A tip from Rik
In the city centre, on the Vestdijk, you find the Van der Meulen Ansems site (VDMA site). At first glance it may not look like a very exciting place, but anyone who learns more about this place will find out that it is in fact a historical one, where there is currently a lot going on. Rik tells.
If you look at the site from the other side of the Vestdijk street, you will see a large apartment complex called the Zusterflat (Sister flat). Decades ago, this was the home of the sisters of the Roman Catholic Hospital, which was located on the spot where the shopping centre Heuvel now stands. Nowadays the Zusterflat consists of temporary dorm rooms. If you look closely, you can see that one of the window frames differs from the rest. In 2016, the Eindhoven artist and architect John Körmeling replaced one with an original frame. According to him, it suited the 1950s style of the building much better.
We cross the street with Rik. Directly under the Zusterflat you will find The Hub on your left, a social place for internationals. Visitors can make music, learn languages, have a drink, and meet people from all over the world. Locals are also very welcome here. On your right is the Holland Expat Center, the place where international knowledge workers come for information and all kinds of formalities. With both The Hub and the Expat Center, this spot on the Vestdijk feels very international.
From match factory to garage
If you walk underneath the Zusterflat onto the site, you see former match factory of Mennen & Keunen, founded in 1907. Fun fact: Eindhoven owes its nickname 'City of Light' to this factory and the role it played in the Dutch match industry. Not to Philips, as is often thought. In 1916 the site was sold to Van der Meulen, and it was converted into Eindhoven's first (parking) garage. The garage was open until the beginning of this century. The original cast iron columns and the murals with advertisements for motor oil are still intact. The outer wall is still visible from Raiffeisenstraat.
In the meantime, the site has mainly served as a venue for events such as Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven Maker Faire, and the International Festival. Anyone visiting in 2019 will probably catch a glimpse of the temporary workplace of designer Dave Hakkens. With his project Precious Plastic, Dave is committed to reduce plastic waste, and will be working with his team at VDMA for a year on the professionalisation of his recycling machines. The site will be redeveloped in the future, making room for social housing and creative workplaces.
Rik studied architecture and is a city guide in Eindhoven. Every two weeks he shares a tip.