The plans for a concert hall in Eindhoven had been in existence for decades. After several unsuccessful attempts, the people of Eindhoven finally got the hall they longed for in 1992: Muziekcentrum Frits Philips Eindhoven, an acoustically top-notch hall with international allure, where since its opening, thousands of world-famous orchestras and soloists have made their appearances. Dive into nearly a hundred years of history of Muziekgebouw Eindhoven.

1900 - The frist attempt

Despite the rapid development of the city of Eindhoven around 1900, there was an urgent need for a concert hall. It didn't take long for a committee to be formed to prepare for the establishment of an Eindhoven concert hall. In the initial discussions, there was talk of closer cooperation between the Royal Harmonie Apollo's Lust and the Eindhovensch Mannenkoor. While the harmonie already had its own hall on Vestdijk, it was by no means considered 'modern'. The same applied to the hall on Stratums Eind, used by the men's choir.

Under the chairmanship of notary J. Fens, the committee managed to keep the pace high. In the first half of 1900, the regional press reported the following:

"Both associations will be able to use a large, magnificent, practical, and modern building that will meet all the requirements one can expect from a contemporary temple of art, which will then have its concert hall just like other cities and will not hesitate to invite talented individuals in vocal or instrumental fields from outside the city." (source: Meierijsche Courant, June 19, 1900)

Nothing seemed to stand in the way of the establishment of the Eindhoven Concert Hall, especially when the newspapers brought the joyful news a few weeks later that 'the necessary means are almost assured'.

"Now our finest expectation is fulfilled, soon our good city will be able to proudly boast a concert hall, gracefully designed and meeting all the requirements of the time." (source: Meierijsche Courant, July 12, 1900)

However, it all turned out to be premature. For the realization of the concert hall, the associations were forced to merge. On November 30, 1900, the members of Apollo's Lust agreed to the conditions set by the committee. However, the Eindhovensch Mannenkoor was more divided. The board could not agree to the financial conditions and voted against them, but the majority of the members agreed to the plans. A few days later, the entire board resigned. Thus, the attempt to establish a concert hall ultimately ended in failure.

Linksonder het terrein van het Binnenziekenhuis, waar tegenwoordig Muziekgebouw Eindhoven gevestigd is.


In the following years, numerous committees were formed to realize a concert hall, but results continued to elude them. Financing, among other factors, proved to be a contentious issue for the municipality of Eindhoven. However, the need for a concert hall remained unabated. Entrepreneurs took matters into their own hands. Slowly but surely, more initiatives for buildings with cultural functions emerged, without the municipality having to play a crucial role.

In 1927, the Rembrandt Theater opened on Vrijstraat, a theater with a cinema function that accommodated 1000 visitors and 50 orchestra members. Architect Batenburg also designed a wooden emergency theater, but this plan was rejected due to the fire hazard posed by the wooden construction. However, the most successful venture was the Philips Ontspanningscentrum (POC), opened in 1929 by Anton Philips. Initially, this recreational building housed a dining hall, library, meeting rooms, and a billiard room. Five years later, Philips decided to convert the dining hall into a proper theater hall. It temporarily fulfilled the need for a good concert and theater venue, although they knew it was far from ideal.

June 22, 1990. With the lowering of a concert grand piano into the construction pit, accompanied by musical performances from the brass ensemble of the Brabants Orkest, the construction of the Muziekcentrum officially commenced. (Photography: Bas Bakermans Publicity Photography B.V.)

Muziekcentrum Frits Philips

In 1985, it became evident that concrete steps were finally going to be taken. The city council believed that the city center had a serious deficiency in its existing facilities, including the long-desired establishment of a concert hall. With the demolition of Katholiek Leven, another venue with nationally appreciated acoustics was disappearing from the city. The POC would also close its doors in 1992, but not before hosting only music performances leading up to the opening of the new music center.

In a report presented in 1987, it was outlined why Eindhoven needed a music center now: the Brabants Orkest would establish itself there, and local businesses would also significantly benefit from the concert hall's arrival. Moreover, activities could take place in the city that were previously unthinkable in Eindhoven.

It was decided to integrate the new music center into the plan for the Heuvelgalerie. The construction costs were estimated at almost 34 million guilders (equivalent to about 15 million euros), of which the municipality of Eindhoven would bear more than two-thirds. However, during the presentation of the entire Heuvelgalerie design, it was revealed that the costs for the music center would increase by another 10 million guilders. Therefore, the municipality decided to switch to a rental model, where the investor, not the municipality, would own the music center. Construction work began in 1990 under the supervision of Dr. Ir. Frits Philips and the former conductor of the Brabants Orkest, Hein Jordans.

In September 1991, the official name of the music center was announced: Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, named after avid music lover and well-known Eindhoven resident Frits Philips. "In the name, we want to honor the Philips company, and especially the man who has been the personification of the bond between the city and the company for so many years. In many ways, Frits Philips still embodies that. He is not only a great industrialist but also a real human being and a true Eindhoven resident," was the motivation.

The Muziekcentrum was officially opened on September 2, 1992, by then-Queen Beatrix, after nearly a century-long journey. Eindhoven finally got the concert hall it had longed for.

Muziekgebouw Eindhoven

In the years following the opening of the Muziekcentrum, everything progressed smoothly. The international elite found its way to the concert hall in Eindhoven, and the visitors were visibly pleased now that 'their concert hall' had finally become a reality. However, after eighteen years, it was decided to undergo a drastic renovation, focusing on a modern look. "The concert hall of the future," so to speak, with a special emphasis on lighting that brings the foyers to life.

The extensive renovation also aimed to strengthen the community function of the building. People should be able to come together without encountering a high threshold; enjoying beautiful music while sipping a drink should be possible. This also entailed a name change. No longer would the concert hall be called Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, but 'Muziekgebouw Frits Philips Eindhoven'.

Today, the venue is mainly referred to as 'Muziekgebouw Eindhoven', although Frits Philips remains prominently present in the concert hall: the recognizable yellow chair in the Hertog Jan Hall pays tribute to Frits Philips. Furthermore, his name still features in our logo.