Visiting the Central Station, Eindhoven, The Netherlands: a unique 1956 design by Koen van der Gaast

Flag of The Netherlands
Flag of The Netherlands | Source
Eindhoven Station by Peter Thijs, oil on linen
Eindhoven Station by Peter Thijs, oil on linen | Source
Central Station, Eindhoven
Central Station, Eindhoven | Source
The old railroad station, Eindhoven, by Vincent van Gogh, oil on canvas, 1885
The old railroad station, Eindhoven, by Vincent van Gogh, oil on canvas, 1885 | Source
Map location of Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Map location of Eindhoven, The Netherlands | Source

Illusions and memories

The Central Railroad station in Eindhoven, The Netherlands is built to a unique design. Do radio buffs sense something already familiar about the lines of the building depicted in the pictures supplied?

Well, architect Koen van der Gaast (1923-1993)(1) deliberately tried to make the structure resemble a radio set, as produced at the time of building by electronics giant Philips, among the biggest local employers. It is easy to see how the then-conventional box radio design has been the basis for this remarkable piece of architecture. Indeed, almost humorously, the 'amplifier' of the radio is actually the terrace of a cafeteria area. A clock tower with a flag-pole is almost suggestive of a radio aerial.

Less humorously maybe, there are also stained glass windows by Lex Horn which depict scenes from various Dutch industries. An intriguing relief by Willy Mignot may be seen on the outer wall of the building.

Also, the main frontage of the Central Station has been made the subject of a striking oil painting by Peter Thijs. The almost illusory character of this fine work is notable for its blending of colour and light. Part of the seeming illusion may be seen in the fact that the station's clock tower, by the angle from which the building is depicted in the painting, appears to be an integral part of the building, although in actual fact it is almost completely freestanding. But from a broader philosophical aspect, I suppose that this fine painting begs the question: which is more illusory: the painting or the original building?

The Central Station — the busiest in the country outside the Randstad area — is located at Stationsplein , Eindhoven, in North Brabant (Dutch: Noord-Brabant ) province, The Netherlands. The original station was built in 1866, and was famously painted in 1885 by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).

September 6, 2012

Note

(1) Architect van der Gaast was a prolific designer of railroad stations in the post-war Netherlands, include Amsterdam Schipol Airport's railroad station.

Also worth seeing

In Eindhoven itself, a statue of Anton Philips by Oswald Wenckebach is situated close to the central railroad station. The DAF museum recalls the manufacturing heritage of the city; there is also fine church architecture.

At Oirschot (distance: 18 kilometres) there are many species wildlife on Oirschot Heath (Dutch: Oirschotse Heide ).

...

How to get there: Airlines flying to Amsterdam Airport from New York include Delta Airlines and KLM. For North Americans making the London, England area their base, Eindhoven Airport is served by Ryanair from London Stansted Airport, by VLM from London City Airport, and by Aer Lingus from London Gatwick Airport. The Dutch railroad company NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) maintains rail services from Amsterdam to Eindhoven . Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. There is car rental availability at Amsterdam and Eindhoven airports. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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