The most friendly storytelling museum of Eindhoven is situated in “het Schuttersbosch” close to the Stratums heide and Leenderheide, a beautiful hiking area with century old acres, heath, meadows and forrest. History is all around you. In this environment, Inge Vlasman, writer and photographer collects stories of the old Philips employees that still live in “het Schuttersbosch”
‘t Schutterke is a wonderful place to enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea. You explore the surroundings hiking or by bike while finishing the day with a fresh homemade soup. Regularly we organize guest appearances in which the old Philips stories come to life again.
I often walk around in “het Schuttersbosch”, an old Philips neighbourhood situated near the Stratumse heide. The authentic wooden cottages are slowly disappearing in the neighbourhood, most cottages are pulled down when the original tenants die or move to a rest home. December 2014 I asked Woonbedrijf whether I could preserve one of these authentic cottages to tell the historic stories of “het Schutterbosch” and fortunately they agreed. They offered me an “old Belgian”.
Meanwhile I interviewed many people in this Schutterbosch. Photo albums were pulled from cabinets, negatives from old shoeboxes, slides, yearbooks, old articles, statues and technical attributes appeared. Beautiful old stories and authentic photos appeared, all giving a nice view on the enormous diversity within Philips. Philips didn’t only employ you, it was part of your life. The sport association, choir, the schools, the Philips relaxation centre, the Etos shops, the company trips, the housing office, houses, complete areas, all were embraced by Philips.
The first series of pictures got their own place at the walls of our cottage. You can wander through history with the old stories accompanying the pictures.
A great project. While listening and reading my understanding of the city of Eindhoven grew as well as my admiration for the Philips family. What a great story, what a beautiful history. Unfortunately Philips is disappearing quickly from the city of Eindhoven, even PSV loses Philips at their shirts. In “het Schutterbosch” not only the cottages disappear but also the authentic residents disappear; the old Philips employees. This is the moment to keep the “oral history” and preserve it for our children as also they know in what special environment they grow up.
In the years after the second world war Eindhoven suffered from high housing shortage. Philips had already bought the plots next to the Leenderweg , initially to expand their business but eventually they chose to build homes for their employees. The afforest environment was filled with wooden cottages; “The “Austrians” (“Oostenrijkers”) are wooden houses that were bought by Philips from Austria for the incredible price of 14.000 kg potatoes and lighting bulbs. These pointed houses with a second floor were inhabited by doctors and engineers working at Philips
The “Belgians” owe their name to their original destination: Belgium planned these houses for Belgian Congo. With the independence of Congo Philips had the opportunity to buy these houses for a good price and placed them as “emergency homes” in the “Schutterbosch”. In this part of the woods the servants and supervisors lived. Intentionally these houses were placed to last for 20 years, but, they are still present.
A lot of people told me their story. Thirty-six of them are bundled in a book that will be published in September 2016. In the meantime I managed to speak with inhabitants of the old “Belgians”, “Austrians” as well as people living in the new bungalows and villa’s. All working at Philips.
The second to last interview is about a controller at Philips who tells about all divisions and closures at Philips. I thought this could be a good conclusion to my book. However, the last story will be the one from mr. Duijvestijn, head of patents at Philips Lighting, he is part of the team that brought Philips Lighting to the stock exchange last 27th of May.
His message is strong and clear: Philips Lighting (now called Signify;} is global market leader, it has the best patents, the best techniques, the best research and the best people. It only misses one thing: an excuse to be not successful.
Again Philips enters the market with Light (LED) and the development of all new applications resulting from light; “light beyond illumination!” Just like Anton and Gerard Philips developed electron tubes, television tubes and x-ray from the techniques used in the light bulbs. Newest developments is communication by light and again originated from Eindhoven….. what will the future look like in 10 years? And in 20? What will we do with light?
A fancy open conclusion to my book!
The social aspect…
Once a month all my ‘storytellers’ come together in ‘t Schutterke to meet and drink coffee, sponsored bij Annalies who bakes real good pies.
Regularly we organize guest appearances in which the old Philips stories are explained and enhanced. We also have a bookcase with all kind of information about Eindhoven, Philips and the history of the environment.
Thanks to the spontaneous contribution of many sponsors we succeeded in reconstructing this old Belgian cottage into a cottage that meets the current legislation and rules. Not only they made the cottage safe, they also made it a warm and intimate place to visit. The exposition is sponsored by “het Buurtcultuurfonds”.
Come watch, read, listen and enjoy, we hope to welcome you soon,
Writer and photographer