Rather than accept their fate, leaders opted to pivot away from industry and towards technology, attempting to attract new start-ups and revive their region as a “Silicon Valley of Europe.” “With this flow of new energy,” continues Veraart, “Eindhoven started to rebrand itself as a city of technology, design, and knowledge. As part of this rebranding process, it also wanted to rid itself of old views, like being a car town.”
Veraart believes that the city’s desire to put itself on the map was also driven by a form of local status anxiety. “Eindhoven is the fifth largest city in the Netherlands, but the four above it — Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht — are all in the northwest,” he explains. “Eindhoven is the biggest outsider, so it needs an image of its own in the Dutch context.” The city realized that reinventing itself would not be easy, but mobility could play a central role in that process.