Electronics company Philips, whose headquarters are located in Amsterdam, is responsible for inventing the audio cassette (1967), video tape (1972), compact disc (1982), and CD-ROM (1985). For giving so many people, so much pleasure over the years, it would be criminal to not give the corporation a little shout-out while visiting the Netherlands!
Founded by Gerard Philips and his father Frederik in 1891, the company began with manufacturing light bulbs, earning the city of Eindhoven, where Philips was first located, the title ‘City of Lights’. The original factory purchased by the Philips family has since been turned into a museum. Younger brother Anton entered the picture in 1895 and greatly influenced the company, even pulling it out of the depths of near bankruptcy.
World War II caused some major changes for Philips. Upon learning of Germany’s planned invasion of the Netherlands, Anton fled to the United States and began operating the company under the banner North American Philips Company. Anton’s son Frits remained in the Netherlands and is credited with saving the lives of 382 Jewish workers, after convincing the invading Nazis that they were needed for the production process at the Philips factories.
When production dipped at Philips, due to a strike, Frits was forced to spend time at the Vught internment camp. It should also be noted that Allied forces bombed the Philips factory in 1942, while fighting the Axis of Evil. The air raid caused 148 civilian casualties and later missions destroyed large parts of Eindhoven. Following the war, Philips operations resumed in the Netherlands.
When Philips brought the audio cassette to the world, it was originally used for dictation machines, used by office workers, stenographers, and journalists. As the recording quality improved, the tapes began to be used for music, joining vinyl records in competition for industry sales. To go with the tapes, Philips released the first portable “radiorecorder,” which would eventually become the boom box. Cassettes were also used for answering machines and the earliest personal computers.
At one time, Philips had their own record label, PolyGram, which featured artists such as KISS, Abba, the Bee Gees, Kool and the Gang, Donna Summer, and the Village People, as well as going into the movie musical business with hits like Saturday Night Fever and Grease. It is now part of the Universal Music Group, after being sold to Seagram in 1999.
The next big release by Philips was the video cassette recorder, or VCR. It’s sad that some folks out there don’t even know what a VCR is… we’ve come a very long way! Originally, tapes could only capture 30-45 minutes of footage, but that eventually grew to being able to record full two-hour films on one cassette. Other important developments and inventions by Philips, included the Philishave (1939) and the vacuum cleaner (1951).
Philips also developed a LaserDisc system for movies. The company held off releasing this product, however, as they feared it would take away from their own cassette sales. A partnership with Sony, resulted in the compact disc being released. The prosperous teaming also led to the development of DVD and Blu-ray discs in 1997 and 2006, respectively.
Slogans used by Philips have included: “Let’s make things better”; “Sense and simplicity” (which sounds like a Jane Austen novel); and most recently, “Innovation and You”. The company has employed a shield-like logo since 1938 and while the colour scheme has been altered over time, the basic design has remained the same, with the Philips name at the top and an image that includes four stars with three waves, which represents radio waves being transmitted through the atmosphere.
The Philips Sports Club, known as PSV (Philips Sport Vereniging) began play in 1913 and participates in many athletics, today. PSV is most notable for its football squad, PSV Eindhoven, which won the UEFA Cup in 1978 and the European Cup in 1988. The Light Bulbs (one of the club’s nicknames) have never been relegated to a lower division and have been an early club for top stars, such as Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy, and Arjen Robben.
Also in the sports world, Philips owns the naming rights to the Philips Arena in Atlanta, the Philips Championship for the National Basketball League in Australia, and also has a partnership stake in Formula 1 racing. Philips also sponsors the international Monsters of Rock festival. In 1937, Philips provided the lights to illuminate the Eiffel Tower and would later go on to light up the Empire State Building in 2012.
Today, the company is split into three branches: Philips Consumer Lifestyle, Philips Healthcare, and Philips Lighting. Philips is the largest manufacturer of lighting in the world, based on sales revenues. With approximately 122,000 employees across more than 60 countries, the company’s product list includes Blu-ray players, computer accessories, TVs, small appliances, shavers, CT scanners, ECG equipment, MRI scanners, equipment for mammograms, ultrasounds, and X-rays, lamps, and other lights.
Netherlands: Starry Night
- Absinthe Rinse
- 1.75 oz Jenever
- 0.25 oz Blue Curacao
- Splash of Lemon Juice
- Dash of Simple Syrup
- Dash of Orange Bitters
- Dash of Angostura Bitters
- Garnish with Orange Zest
Airline KLM also operates out of the Netherlands and is one of the best flight experiences Mrs. Sip and I have ever enjoyed. Really, any flight that successfully lands where it’s supposed to could be considered a great experience… unless we’re talking Air Maroc – worst flight EVER!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is another recipe from my Dutch-only Bols drink guide. I decided to use the light-up martini glass that Mrs. Sip recently picked up, as it went perfectly with the drink theme. That damn Absinthe Rinse kind of tainted the cocktail, but not enough to kill it.