Eindje casts a light on Eindhoven’s lost spots and their untold stories
Words: Daryl Mersom | Pics: Daan Archer, Stijn Kemper, DVL
Eindje is a documentary about the skateboarding history of Eindhoven, which premiered 15 October at Area51 Skatepark in Eindhoven. The trailer, which is completely in Dutch, offered an intriguing look into the history of their scene and spots. We decided to find out a little bit more about the film and the people that feature in it, and spoke to Stijn Dirkx and Willem Stinissen of Boeie Productions, Wieger van Wageningen, Michel van Dartel, and Jeroen Sars.
The title of the film is a slang word for Eindhoven, but also refers to distance, for instance, “the next spot is an eindje away." Stijn told me that it alludes to “a piece of the history which is growing and producing more good skaters, like Daan van der Linden."
But the city has not always been in the spotlight. “Not that many pros came by Eindhoven for street skating," Wieger told me. “But I remember Todd Jordan and Rodrigo TX came by. Anthony Claravall and Joe Brook came by 17 years ago and my parents were on vacation and so they stayed at my house. We were feeding our cat whipped cream and we made some pancakes, good times! Anthony always kept me in mind and wanted me to skate for the Firm, if he had never passed by Eindhoven then my future might have looked different."
What follows are the stories behind Eindhoven’s two most important skate spots, the Piazza and Area 51, told in the words of the locals themselves.
The Piazza, which had marble-like curbs at every possible height, all kinds of manual plateaus, and lots of smooth flat, raised generations of skaters.
“That spot just had everything skateboarding was about in those days," recalls Michel. “Many skateboarders from the region moved to Eindhoven and when Jeroen Sars and Mike de Geus started frequenting the spot it also started to attract a lot of attention from the rest of the country.
»That spot just had everything skateboarding was about in those days«
Within a few years, the Piazza was packed with skateboarders again. (You can see a bit of the spirit of those days in 411 video magazine #3’s World Report.) This time around, however, the city of Eindhoven began to actively prosecute skateboarding at the Piazza, which often pushed us to explore other spots again."
The local courthouse (Kantongerecht) was one of Michel’s favourite alternatives. “It’s basically just a ledge on a smooth black marble plateau surrounded by a few steps. And in the winters we would skate the parking lots, the most memorable of which was the ‘VGZ,’ which had endless yellow-painted curbs, a few driveway plateaus and a high rail."
Wieger van Wageningen, one of Eindhoven’s most famous exports, also began skating at the street spot. “I started skating there at the age of 12," Wieger told me. “In the beginning it was weird because there were 2 groups of skaters the sponsored skaters and the skaters from the villages around Eindhoven. I started skating with the people from outside Eindhoven (two of those guys are Stijn Dirkx and Willem Stinissen who made the documentary). A couple years later all the skaters combined, that was my favourite time!"
»If Anthony Claravall and Joe Brook had never passed by Eindhoven then my future might have looked different« – Wieger
But it was not to last forever, as Jeroen, the owner of 100% Skateboard Shop in Eindhoven, told me. “Spots come and go and skaters adapt to the situation, but when ‘The Piazza’ got torn down that was a heavy one. The piazza was our EMB, our meeting point, our go-to spot that had so much to offer, you really didn’t have to go anywhere else."
“Eindhoven has always been a city of change," he added. “Old buildings get torn down easily and new ones arise, so that always brings new spots, some better than others. City hall square became the new go-to spot when The Piazza was torn down, but didn’t come close to what The Piazza had to offer."
When I asked Jeroen what funny memories he had of skating the street spot, he offered this. “Eventually the spot blew out and there were so many people skating there, that the cops confiscated boards and gave tickets to keep us away. Now the tickets weren’t really a problem because in those days it was pretty easy to give a false name, a matching address and postal code, so you would never see the damn ticket. But confiscating boards was another thing, buying a whole new set up was expensive!"
“So when the cops came and there was nowhere to run anymore, boards would be flying up the roof, safe from the greedy pigs hands. We figured out a way to climb up there later and get our boards, there was no way the cops would go back and climb the stairs to get those boards."
“The looks on their faces was the best thing, when all those boards started flying up there! On another occasion (also at The Piazza) a local skater vented his anger at a trick gone wrong by smacking his board on the doorknob of one of the huge shopping warehouses that was in there. But the door was made of glass and so was the whole entrance, so before we knew it, behind us, the whole glass front of the shopping warehouse was shattered to little pieces!"
»Before we knew it the whole glass front of the shopping warehouse was shattered to little pieces!«
“Glass was flying everywhere and within seconds all the skaters started running, but this was the big pants era, so people were holding on to their pant with both hands to prevent them from dropping on their knees while running. Also shoes were flying everywhere because with the fat laces they were barely tied so they just fell off if you started running, it sure was a funny sight!"
Area 51 indoor skatepark, which is one of the largest in Europe, also had a huge impact on the scene, as it offered somewhere dry and lit for the locals. The park was built around 2003 and remained for 3 years in its old location: an old aeroplane hangar in Meerhoven. It moved to Eindhoven to one of the old Philips buildings on Strijp-S in 2006, where can be found today.
Everyone I spoke to mentioned Daan Van Der Linden in conjunction with the park. Daan launched his Vans colourway there, and when he recently turned pro for Anti Hero, Frank Gerwer, Grant Taylor, and the rest of the crew visited the park.
»This was the big pants era, so people were holding on to their pant with both hands to prevent them from dropping on their knees…«
“Of course it is awesome to see such great skateboarding come out of my hometown," Michel told me, “but I particularly value how well everyone respects Eindhoven’s skateboarding heritage. How cool is it that Wieger dedicates his fist signature shoe to the spot you used to skate together? And how cool is it that the first association people have with Daan is Eindhoven? A few of my friends here in Rotterdam, where I live now, organise this bowl competition every year called Pooligans, and when Daan shows up people say ‘Eindhoven is in the house!’ They are not just saying that because some skater from Eindhoven is attending; they are referring to a lineage of unique skateboarding coming from out of Eindhoven. And to have something to do with that history makes me feel very proud when I see a kid like Daan rip."
Eindje will cast a light on Eindhoven’s lost spots and their untold stories, so be sure to check it out as soon as you can.