Vanderbijlpark forms part of what is known as the Vaal Triangle with neighbouring towns, Vereeniging and Sasolburg.
The main economic wealth of the area comes from the iron and steel factories, which has played a major part in the development of the town. The town was named after the electrical engineer Hendrik van der Bijl, who helped then Prime Minister Jan Smuts, plan the industrial growth of the country.
After World War II the land was bought and the steel mill with the town was developed, operation started in 1947 and the town was proclaimed in 1949. Since then the town has continued to grow around the industrial activities in the area.
In recent years the area has seen a rise in demand for properties situated on the outlining areas of the town where people partake in equestrian activities and the Vaal Dam has become popular with weekend visitors. These visitors have taken up properties in the area which serves as holiday homes because of its close proximity to Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Vanderbijlpark differs from most towns in its unique urban planning model - instead of the traditional grid design, the town has been designed in a circular fashion. About 60% of the homes in the town had been built by ISCOR when they still managed the steel mills, thus the houses in certain areas all have the same architecture. In other areas, particularly in the area in which Hendrik van der Bijl lived, the houses are more opulent. Suburbs closer to the dam also showcase a certain extravagance not seen in other suburbs.
The town is also home to the Vaal Triangle branch of the University of North - West and thus offers world class tertiary education.
The town despite its industrial beginnings still feel like a small town because of the beauty of the landscape, living in Vanderbijlpark means having the best of both worlds.