Ernst Happel Stadion
Club: none | Opening: 1931 | Capacity: 50,865 seats
History and description
The city of Vienna had long been exploring the possibility of building a new omni-sports stadium, when in1929 construction of the then called Prater Stadion started.
Construction of the stadium took 23 months, and it officially opened on the 11th of June 1931 with the Workers Olympiad. The stadium consisted of two bowl-shaped tiers that could hold about 60,000 spectators.
However, with the increasing popularity of football after the war, the Prater Stadion was soon in need of expansion. In 1956 therefore a third tier was added to bring capacity to 91,150.
A few years later, in 1960, a highest attendance of 90,726 was recorded during an international between the Austrian and USSR national teams.
By the 1980s several standing areas had already been coverted into seats, hereby reducing capacity to just over 70,000, when in 1984 a grand redevelopment was announced. The works included the construction of a roof and the conversion of the stadium into an all-seater. Capacity was further reduced to under 60,000.
In 1993 the name of the stadium was changed into Ernst Happel Stadion in honour of the legendary Austrian player and manager.
Ernst Happel Stadion was further refurbished for the Euro 2008 tournament, which included the placement of temporary bleachers in front of the permanent stands. During the tournament it hosted three group matches, a quarter-final, a semi-final, and the final between Spain and Germany (1-0).
Over the years the stadium hosted four Champions League and European Cup finals, starting in 1964 with the final between Internazionale and Real Madrid (3-1), and followed by Porto versus FC Bayern (2-1) in 1987, Milan versus Benfica (1-0) in 1990, and Ajax versus Milan (1-0) in 1995.
Ernst Happel Stadion furthermore hosted the 1970 Cup Winners’ Cup final between Manchester City and Górnik Zabrze (2-1).
(photos of the present Ernst Happel Stadion below)
Ernst Happel Stadion is located about 3.5 kilometres east of Vienna’s inner city, on the edge of the Prater Park close to the Danube river. Vienna’s famous ferris wheel, also in the Prater Park, lies about 2.5 kilometres north-west of the stadium.
The stadium can be easily reached with metro line 2. Station Stadion lies right next to the stadium. Line 2 runs along the northern and western edge of Vienna’s city centre.
By car, from the A4 (which runs along the small Danube branch and connects with the A23), drive towards Vienna’s city centre and take the B221 exit toward Erdberg. Turn right onto the Stadionallee and follow until reaching the stadium.
Address: Meiereistraße 7, 1020 Wien
Eat, drink, and sleep
Ernst Happel Stadion is squeezed in between the Prater Park and Danube river, mixed up with some other sports facilities, the city’s conference centre, some retail, and some residential buildings.
Right across the road from the stadium is the Stadion Center shopping mall, which also offers some food outlets, but generally the options for eating and drinking are rather limited and is better done in the inner city and surroundings. The Prater Park is very nice though on a summer’s day, and the fair with the famous ferris wheel is also (just) at walking distance.
Due to the vicinity of the conference centre, there is a decent amount of hotels close to Ernst Happel Stadion. The Hilton Vienna Danube and Courtyard by Marriott Wien Messe are only a few minutes walking from the stadium, but obviously come at a price. The Austria Trend Hotel Messe is somewhat more affordable.
Instead, you could also strategically choose your hotel at a location between the stadium and the inner city, so that both are at walking distance. The Suite Hotel 200m zum Prater is on the other side of the park toward the centre. Hotel Urania, Hotel Adlon, and Hotel Cristall lie close to the fair and are reasonably priced. There are also various apartment rental options in the area.
Ticket sales for matches of the Austrian national team go through the OEFB Austrian football association.
Relevant Internet links