Visiting the Eindhoven Canal and its lifting bridge: industrial heritage in a scenic, urban setting
Remembering the nature of Eindhoven's contribution to history
The Eindhoven Canal (Dutch: Eindhovens Kanaal)(1), in the city of that name, extends close to the city's Downtown area. Like many other picturesque Dutch canals, originally the Canal was for prosaically commercial purposes.
Today, tree lined and photogenic, the Eindhoven Canal is so like those in provinces nearer the sea around the Randstand in North and South Holland (Dutch: Noord- & Zuid-Holland) and Utrecht, or Zeeland, that one could be forgiven for forgetting that Eindhoven is way inland in the province of North Brabant (Dutch: Noord-Brabant).
The structure visible in the far background of the main photo (above) and seen enlarged (above, right) is a lifting bridge, which is now actually designated a national monument. About a century old, but renovated towards the end of the 20th century, this lifting bridge, executed in iron, is of significance both in itself and in its local environment.
The lifting bridge is situated at the junction of Kanaldijk Zuid and Tongelresestraat . The suburb of Tongelre (hence: Tongelresestraat ). in fact, was home to some iron foundries a century or more ago, and this substantial piece of iron production is a well-preserved and working example of local industrial heritage.
The Eindhoven Canal was dug between 1843 and 1846. It is 13.9 kilometres long, and links with the longer and more famous South William's Canal (Dutch: Zuid-Willemsvaart). This link formerly gave Eindhoven's industry and business direct access to a major and inexpensive commercial thoroughfare, which is still used immensely.
Commercial traffic on the Eindhoven Canal ceased in 1971. Now, fishing enthusiasts and rowers regard it as a recreational facility. The authorities also maintain a cycle path alongside the Canal.
When I visiting the area of the Eindhoven Canal and this noted structure, I must confess that I had not been seeking them out, but I am glad I came across them, and was interested subsequently to read up about them.
While some Dutch towns and city are quaint and even sleepy, one is here reminded of the nature of the City of Eindhoven's dynamic contribution to history. As is so often the case, what began as a piece of commercial pragmatism can eventually become a pleasing part of history.
(1) Even today, some linguistic purists insist on the Dutch spelling Eindhovensch Kanaal .
October 4, 2012
Also worth seeing
In Eindhoven itself, the industrial heritage of the city is reinforced by the DAF museum; (visible in the photo of the lifting bridge, above, right); there is also distinguished ecclesiastical, architectural heritage.
How to get there: Airlines flying to Amsterdam Airport from New York include Delta Airlines and KLM. For North American travellers making the London, England area their base, Eindhoven Airport is served by Ryanair from London Stansted Airport, and other airlines. The Dutch railroad company NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) maintains rail services from Amsterdam to Eindhoven . There is car rental availability at Amsterdam and Eindhoven airports. You are advised to 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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