Hello tagoen, welcome to the Java Programming Forums.
Eclipse is the best IDE to use in my opinion but it all depends on the type of applications you wish to write.
There are lots of beginner program ideas out there. I suggest you have a quick look through the forums (What's Wrong With My Code?
) People are always posting assignments looking for help. You could try your hand at one of those.
Another idea is, if you have a hobby such as collecting vinyl records, why not write a program to record and display information on your collection? I always find that writing programs which relate to another interest or hobby of mine makes things more interesting.