The name Valkenswaard stems from its history of falconers, who caught wild falcons there; valk is Dutch for "falcon". It lay on a route where falcons migrated south each year. In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, Valkenswaardian falconers were active at many European courts, in which falconing was a beloved pastime. Valkenswaard's falcon-catching area has now been built over and falcons are no longer caught there.
In the 19th and 20th century, a number of large cigar factories were founded in Valkenswaard, the two most renowned of which being Willem II and Hofnar.