By Kate Parvis, Toastmasters Agora 75, blogger-in-chief for the D59 2023 Conference

Eindhoven and the surrounding area are often referred to as the “Brainport” region, due to the high concentration of technology companies and research institutes there. Using the same logic, would that make Paris, France the “Touristport,” Detroit USA, the “Carport”, and the home of this blogger the “Catport?” Fun game, don’t you think, after a couple of beers?

The original big cheese behind the Brainport is Philips Electronics, founded in 1891 by the Philips brothers, Gerard and Anton, who one day said to their dad, “Thomas Edison just invented a thingamabob that lights up with electricity. We think we can sell a lot of them! And papa Frederik, a successful Dutch businessman, replied “Go for it, boys!” So, they did. But the Philips’ didn’t stop there. They produced an entire gamut of groundbreaking electrical devices. From birth to death, there’s a Philips product for you! With operations in over 100 countries and over 100 thousand employees worldwide. Philips is a behemoth and of course a very big deal in Eindhoven. With a population of just 227,000, even the babies in Eindhoven must be working for Philips!

Philips didn’t want to be a giant with feet of clay (or feet of LED). So, the whole lighting solutions business was renamed Signify in 2018, thereby shedding light on the ultimate question, “What does it all Signify?”

Another high roller in Eindhoven is DAF Trucks, founded in 1928. The company’s trucks have become increasingly heavy-duty, probably to carry the weight of increasingly heavy Philips products, starting with light bulbs and moving down the line to X-ray machines.

Pick, pack, and load the whole day through! Suffering from a chronic case of carpal tunnel syndrome, Eindhoven needed help. Vanderlande Industries to the rescue! Specializing in material handling and logistics automation, Vanderlande does the heavy lifting. Now the brains can return to more brainy pursuits.

Did those trucks keep getting lost and calling Dad for directions? Not after 1991, when TomTom, the new kid in town, gave them digital maps. TomTom’s R&D team in Eindhoven continues to be really helpful, working closely with other technology companies and universities in the region.

ASML Holding, founded in Orwellian year 1984, is specialized in photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry and one of the most valuable technology companies in the world. Its headquarters are in Veldhoven, a mere stone’s throw from Eindhoven. Big Brother would approve. 😊

As if there weren’t enough human brains, Eindhoven has electronic brains agogo with NXP Semiconductors, a Philips spinoff.

As the old song says, “What good is sitting alone in your room (at your PC)? Come to the Cabaret!” The Cabaret for this super-geek social club is Brainport Development, founded in 2003, where all those high-tech companies can hang out together, chew the fat, and attract even more brains. This entity supports and develops the high-tech manufacturing cluster in the Brainport region, which includes the cities of Eindhoven, Helmond, and Veldhoven. Gerard, Anton and Papa Frederik must be looking down on all this and smiling, don’t you think?

Next on your blog agenda: Fun things to do in Eindhoven! Both geeks and non-geeks welcome!