Club: AFC Ajax | Opening: 1996 | Capacity: 53,052 seats
History and description
The Amsterdam ArenA was built between 1993 and 1996. It replaced Ajax’s previous home De Meer, which, with a capacity of 19,000 seats, had become too small for the club.
The Amsterdam ArenA officially opened on the 14th of August 1996 with a match between Ajax and AC Milan (0-3). The first goal in the new arena was scored by Dejan Savicevic. Total construction costs had amounted to €96 million.
The Amsterdam ArenA was the first football stadium in Europe with a retractable roof. It takes about 20 minutes to open or close the roof.
Shortly after the opening, it turned out that the stadium design had not accounted for good grass growing conditions, and as a result the pitch had to get renewed up to 5 times a year. These problems were later resolved with the installation of innovative grass growing technology, consisting of a combination of lamps, wind turbines, and water sprinklers.
The Amsterdam ArenA counts with a total of 2,229 business seats and a further 820 seats in sky boxes. The stands are among the steepest in Europe, with the second tier having an angle of 37 degrees.
The Amsterdam ArenA was one of the playing venues of the Euro 2000 championships, hosting three group match, a quarter-final, and the semi-final between Holland and Italy (0-0).
In recent years plans were made to increase the capacity of the arena, but these were attached to a Dutch-Belgian 2018 World Cup bid, and now this bid has failed they are unlikely to get executed.
The Amsterdam ArenA is located in a modern office park in the south-east of Amsterdam, approximately 10 kilometres from the city centre.
The metro takes only little longer and stops at the same station as well as station Strandvliet/ArenA that lies on the north side of the stadium. Take metro 54 from Amsterdam Central Station, or any of the stops in Amsterdam city centre. Metro 50 connects the stadium with southern and western parts of the city (e.g. the World Trade Center area).
By car, the stadium is best reached from the A2 motorway. Take exit 1, and turn east in the direction of Amsterdam Zuidoost / Duivendrecht. Follow the directions to the designated parking areas. On non-matchdays one can park at the Transferium underneath the stadium.
Address: ArenA Boulevard 1, 1101 AX Amsterdam
Eat, drink, and sleep
The Amsterdam ArenA is part of an entertainment and shopping complex, which includes a large cinema and two of Holland’s principal concert halls. There are also a few places to get some fast food or have a drink, though options remain rather limited.
Recently a few hotels have opened near the Amsterdam ArenA, which include a Hampton by Hilton and the futuristic shaped Fletcher Hotel. If arriving by car, the road-side and affordable Bastion Deluxe Hotel is a decent option, though you do need to catch a metro to get to the arena. Click here for an overview of hotels near the Amsterdam ArenA.
Of course, you may prefer to stay in Amsterdam’s lively city centre. In that case, there are plenty of options near the Central Station, Waterlooplein, or the nightly area around Rembrandtplein. More hotels in the centre here.
Alternatively, you can get a hotel near Amsterdam Zuid rail station (a business area), or the RAI convention centre, from where you can catch metro 50 to the stadium. These areas are quieter, especially on the weekends, but hotels tend to be more expensive than in the centre.
Eating and drinking options can be found all over Amsterdam’s centre, though the nightlife very much centres around the Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein squares (and red light district). Quieter drinking options can, among others, be found in De Pijp and Jordaan areas.
If tickets remain available, these can usually also be bought at the ticket windows of the Amsterdam ArenA on the day of the match. Ajax typically sell out a third to half of their home matches.
Ticket prices depend on the opponent. Expect to pay between €19.50 and €47.50 for a lower-tier seat and between €18.00 and €25.00 or an upper-tier seat for a low-profile match. Prices go up to between €27.50 and €78.00 for the classic versus Feyenoord.
Ajax often require the possession of an Ajax Club Card to buy match tickets. Only a limited number of lower-profile matches go on general sale and for the other matches foreigners can only buy special matchday packages, which include a ticket, food voucher, and Ajax souvenir. Prices are significantly higher than a regular ticket.
The Amsterdam ArenA offers guided “World of Ajax” tours that include the press room, mixed zone, VIP areas, and dressing rooms. The tour lasts about 60 minutes and are in English and Dutch.
The tour schedule depends on the season. From September to June tours run every day of the week at 11:00 am, 12:15 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:45 pm, and 4:30 pm.
In July and August (and school holidays) tours run at 11:00 am, 12:15 pm, 12:45 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:45 pm, 4:00 pm, and 5:00 pm. The schedule may change and tours may get cancelled on event days.
The tour costs €17.50 and bookings are not required. For more information call +31 (0) 20 311 1336 or email email@example.com.
Ajax’s club museum is located in the city centre of Amsterdam at the Rembrandtplein.
Related Internet links
Ajax.nl – Official website of AFC Ajax.
Amsterdamarena.nl – Official website of the Amsterdam ArenA.
Iamsterdam.com – Official website of the Amsterdam Tourist Board.
GVB.nl – Amsterdam public transport information.
NS.nl – Check train times and fares.