Teams, tales and tips – a guide to the local game
The sleek, industrial city of Eindhoven is home to two clubs, both more than a century old.
Champions in 2018, PSV dominated the Dutch game in the late 1980s and mid 2000s, both times under renowned coach Guus Hiddink.
Though the unusual Guuseum, set up by South Koreans in Hiddink’s home town of Varsseveld after the World Cup of 2002, has since closed, a PSV Museum was opened in Eindhoven in 2013 as part of the club’s centenary celebrations.
The story of Holland’s second most titled team is linked to the company they are named after, Philips.
Starting with light bulbs, moving into shavers then radios, this Eindhoven firm developed into one of the world’s biggest electronics companies, growing with the town around it.
Shortly before the Philips brothers, Gerard and Anton, opened a sports field for their employees in 1910, local football enthusiasts founded EVV Eindhoven.
Wearing the blue and white colours of the city, the Eindhovense Voetbal Vereniging became the people’s team, while the Philips Elftal, from 1913 the Philips Sport Vereniging, were representatives of privileged, successful industrialists.
EVV, today FC Eindhoven, first met PSV in the Lichtstad (‘City of Light’) derby in 1915. Either side of World War II, the Blauw-witten outshone their local rivals, with national cup and league wins to boot.
PSV stepped up a gear in the 1970s under coach Kees Rijvers. In 1974-75, PSV won the first of three titles in four years, the same season that EVV gained a rare promotion to the Eredivisie.
The Blue and Whites would only remain in the top flight for two seasons. In 1977-78, while EVV were starting out on the first of an as yet unbroken run in the Erste Divisie, PSV won the UEFA Cup.
Ten years later, Hiddink’s PSV won the European Cup and the Lempkes (‘Light Bulbs’) would go on to be regular performers in the Champions League, making quarter- and semi-final appearances.
EVV, meanwhile, lost their professional status in 1997 but were relaunched as FC Eindhoven in 2002.
Two years later, FC and PSV signed a deal to exchange youth players, and an annual derby was established as a pre-season friendly.
In 2014, despite an initial 1-1 draw in Rotterdam, FC lost out in the Eredivisie play-offs to Sparta. Despite a second-placed finish, in 2014-15 it was Volendam who did for the Blue-Whites at the play-off stage.
If FC ever gain promotion, the likes of Ajax and Feyenoord will be making the journey to the modest Jan Louwers Stadion in Eindhoven’s leafy southern outskirts.
PSV remain within easy reach of Philips Village (‘Philipsdorp’) of factories and housing. Today conveniently located on the bus route from Eindhoven’s busy airport, the Philips Stadion is a short hop from the train station.
Further north-west, the other side of the Philips plant, is De Herdgang, home of Jong PSV. The club’s under-21 reserve side was admitted to the Eerste Divisie in 2013, alongside Jong Ajax and Jong FC Twente. None can be promoted to the top flight.
Arriving in town, local transport and timings
Eindhoven Airport is 7.5km (4.5 miles) west of town. Bus 401 (Mon-Sat daytime every 10mins, Mon-Sat eve, Sun every 30mins) takes 20-25mins to run from the terminal concourse to the bus ranks on one side of Eindhoven train station a short walk from the city centre. It also calls at PSV’s stadium on the way, two stops from the station terminus.
The city’s bus network runs on the same chipkaart system – or pay €4 when you board. See Bravo for details. Eindhoven is mainly walkable, even the PSV stadium.
Pin Taxi Eindhoven (+31 611 48 38 28) charges €26 from the airport to town.
Where to Drink
The best pubs and bars for football fans
Bars cluster around Eindhoven’s city centre, particularly along Stratumseind. There you’ll find Sgt Pepper’s (No.49) and the Tipsy Duck (No.26), both with football on TV when occasion demands. Nearby O’Sheas also broadcasts games.
Nearer to the station along venue-lined Dommelstraat, the staunchly pub-like Trafalgar, open from 4pm, has been in operation since 1973. After-hours fun and live music can be had nearby, at concert venue Effenaar and cocktail/DJ haunt Plein 4.
Around the corner, The Rex operates mainly as a pool and snooker club but its bar opens until 2am, 4am at weekends. For a standard, down-to-earth Dutch bar/restaurant, D’N Hertog fits the bill, with rare Belgian beers too.
Where to stay
The best hotels for the stadium and city centre
Close to the PSV stadium, the Inntel Hotels Art Eindhoven comprises 227 individually designed rooms in the former Philips factory. If you’re staying at the airport, the Tulip Inn Eindhoven Airport is built into the terminal itself.
Towering outside the train station, to the left as you exit, The Student Hotel Eindhoven also offers mainly single rooms to tourists and business travellers, with 24/7 reception and a bar/restaurant.
Within walking distance, the Crown Hotel Eindhoven is now a branch of the comfortable, upper mid-range Eden chain. Facing it across Vestdijk, the 14-floor Hotel NH Collection, awarded a fifth star in 2018, operates a Lazy Sundays scheme for 3pm check-outs.
More upscale still, the Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne offers stylish lodging and Finnish and infrared saunas to the more demanding business traveller.
Under the motto ‘Your home in the city of light’, the downtown Boutique Hotel Lumière probably wins out in Eindhoven’s hotel style wars.