A brief history of the Eindhoven’s Strijp-S area
Our conference venue, Evoluon, is located in the area of Eindhoven nowadays called Strijp-S. The history of this area, a former Philips industrial plant, thus has everything to do with the Philips company. Philips was founded in 1891. Characteristic of this period are technical innovations, including the tungsten thread important for lightbulbs. Combined with rising consumer demand, this prompted the transition to mass production. The consequences of the growth of Philips were radical. Within thirty years the population of Greater Eindhoven had grown by 50%. By 1916 Philips already employed 3700 people.
Philips changed the face of the city. Philips turned the small village of Eindhoven into a city. The company started building houses for the rapidly growing workforce in 1909 and in 1920 the light-bulb complex on the Emmasingel was completed. In order not to be dependent on suppliers, Anton had the first factory built at Strijp-S in 1916, which provided Philips with glass. A cardboard factory followed, a gasworks factory and a physics laboratory (NatLab), for the research of new technologies: Radio technologies, televisions and shavers, even the CD and DVD were cooked in Philips's kitchen. In the medical field, Philips made the first steps in X-ray technology. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands spoke - from the laboratory - to the people of the Dutch East Indies, using a wireless radio connection. Einstein visited the NatLab. The first electronic music comes from this institute.
The expansion required new industrial areas: Strijp-R and Strijp-T on the other side of the ring road. The 27 hectares of Strijp-S were not nearly enough. In the 70s, Philips reached its peak at Strijp: about 10,000 people work in this area on a daily basis. The area got its nickname ‘Forbidden City', because it used to be surrounded by fences and barriers. One could only enter with a valid pass.
But in 2000 when Philips left for Amsterdam and many other places around the world, the multinational made it possible for former industrial area Strijp-S to flourish again. The Eindhoven municicpality and VolkerWessels have been redeveloping the area since 2002, with the goal of creating a highly dynamic urban environment. Strijp-S functions as a real "living lab".