The Amsterdam ArenA has been the home of AFC Ajax since 1996. It is the largest stadium of the Netherlands with a capacity of 52,960 seats.
In the early 90s Ajax’s former stadium De Meer proved to be too small with a capacity of just 19,000, and plans were made for the construction of a brand-new stadium. Building started in 1993 and the stadium was officially opened on the 14th of August 1996 with a match between Ajax and AC Milan. Ajax lost that match 0-3 with the first goal scored by Dejan Savicevic. Total construction costs amounted to €96 million.
The Amsterdam ArenA counts 2,229 business seats and has a further 820 seats in skyboxes. The stands are among the steepest in Europe, after Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and San Siro. The stadium measures 78 metres in height.
It was the first football stadium in Europe with a retractable roof that can be opened and closed in approximately 20 minutes. Shortly after the opening of the stadium it was plagued with pitch problems as the stadium design hadn’t accounted for good grass growing conditions. This resulted in the pitch having to be changed 5 times a year. However, these problems have now been resolved with the installation of innovative grass growing technology: a combination of lamps, wind turbines, and water sprinklers.
The stadium hosted the Champions League final in 1998 – a match between Juventus and Real Madrid – , and hosted several matches at the European Championships of 2000, including the semi-final between Holland and Italy (0-0). It is selected to host the Europa League final in 2013.
In recent years plans were made to increase the capacity of the ArenA, also in combination with the Dutch-Belgian 2018 World Cup bid, however now that the bid has failed no concrete plans exist anymore.
The Amsterdam ArenA is located in a modern office park in the south-east of Amsterdam, approximately 10 kilometres from the city centre. The area is developed as one of the main entertainment districts of Holland, which means that bars, cinemas, concert halls and a shopping mall are nearby.
The stadium is best reached by train or metro. Train station Bijlmer ArenA lies next door to the stadium, and can be easily reached in 15 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station. The metro takes only little longer and stops at the same station as well as station Strandvliet/ArenA which lies on the other side of the stadium. Line 54 takes you to the stadium from Amsterdam Central Station and the city centre, and line 50 from the Southern and Western parts of the city.
The stadium can be best reached by car from the motorway A2. Take exit 1, and turn left in the direction of Amsterdam Zuidoost / Duivendrecht. Follow the directions to the designated parking areas. On non-matchdays one can park in the Transferium underneath the stadium.
Address: ArenA Boulevard 1, 1101 AX Amsterdam
Dutch nationals can buy tickets online, or, if still available, at the stadium’s ticket office on the day of the match. At selected matches, usually the ones with a high risk for supporter violence, only people that have an Ajax Club Card can buy tickets. Possession of such card is always obligated when buying a ticket at the stadium.
Prices of tickets range from €17.50 to €45.00 for first tier seats and €16.50 to €31.50 for second tier seats. Ajax offers support via twitter @ajaxsupport.
Foreigner can only buy special matchday packages, which, though including a food voucher and Ajax souvenir, go for highly inflated prices. Packages start at €57.50 and can be upgraded with a lunch or dinner and a stadium tour. Advantage is that no Club Card is required and tickets may be available for matches that would otherwise be sold out. Packages can be bought via the Ajax Travel website. More information by phone +31 548 377 666 or email email@example.com.
Ajax matches usually attract large crowds, with annual average attendances between 45,000 and 50,000, but tickets are generally easily available for the not-so-important matches.
The Amsterdam ArenA offers guided stadium tours of approximately 1 hour. Tours leave at 11:00 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 4:30 pm Mondays to Fridays, and at 11:30 am, 12:15 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:45 pm and 4:30 pm on Saturdays. On days when there’s an event at the ArenA opening times can be different.
Tickets cost €12.00. No reservations are required (just show up at the stadium and join the next tour), though tickets can be bought online. On selected days and hours a supplement can be bought for €5.00, which grants access to the dressing rooms. More information by phone +31 (0) 20 311 1336 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 - Information about buses, trams, and the metro.
NS.nl - Check train times and fares.