Eindhoven is a town (200,000
inhabitants) in the Dutch
province of Noord-Brabant
It was settled at a crossing of the Dommel stream, gained local importance as a market town, and was granted the status of a borough (stadsrechten) in 1232.
From the 14th century, economic and social problems affected the area, culminating in the 80-year war (1568-1648) that brought the situation in Eindhoven to an acute crisis: in 1592, the remaining families in Eindhoven threatened to abandon the city unless the regular city tax was reduced.
This war and its outcome severely affected Noord-Brabant's prosperity for centuries after. As an area with low cost of labour, it did attract industry. With the industrial revolution and reinstatement of religious and political equality in the 19th century the industrial towns started to grow. Eindhoven finally outgrew its surrounding villages, Woensel, Strijp, Gestel, Stratum, and Tongelre; they were annexed in the 1920s.
During the 20th century, the town was dominated by the Philips company, originally a manufacturer of light bulbs, later developed into a high tech multinational with a very strong research department (Natlab), supported further by Eindhoven University of Technology (opened in 1957).
Another major employer in town was car manufacturer DAF.
The Dutch economy boomed in the 1960s and 1970s, and caused labour to be cheaper elsewhere. The traditional local industry (cigars, textiles) went all but extinct; the high tech industry (Philips, DAF) went through major restructuring in the 80s and 90s; Philips moved most of its production abroad. Economic activity has become much more service and knowledge oriented, and Eindhoven is one of the focal points of Europe's high-tech industry today.