Amsterdam ArenA

Amsterdam Arena (often stylized as Amsterdam ArenA) is a stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The stadium was built from 1993 to 1996 at a cost of €140 million, and was officially opened on 14 August 1996. It has been used for association football, American football, concerts, and other events. The stadium has a retractable roof combined with a grass surface. It has a capacity of 52,960 seats during football matches and 68,000 places during concerts if a centre-stage setup is used (the stage in the middle of the pitch); for end-stage concerts, the capacity is 50,000, and for concerts where the stage is located in the east side of the stadium, the capacity is 35,000. It held UEFA five-star stadium status which was superseded by a new system of classification. It has been announced that the Amsterdam Arena will host the 2013 UEFA Europa League Final.

The stadium is the home of the association football club AFC Ajax (1996–present) and was the home of the now-defunct American football club Amsterdam Admirals (1996–2007). It was one of the stadiums used during Euro 2000. Both international and Dutch artists gave concerts in the ArenA, including Madonna, André Hazes and The Rolling Stones. Dance event Sensation is held in the stadium every year.


Amsterdam was one of six cities that bid to host the 1992 Summer Olympics. In 1986, a new Olympic stadium was designed, with a football field and an athletics track. It was to be built in the area of Strandvliet in Amsterdam Zuidoost. After Amsterdam lost the bid to Barcelona in October 1986, the plans for the new stadium were abandoned. In 1987, the Stichting Amsterdam Sportstad (English: "Amsterdam Sports City Foundation") was established, which made new plans for a sports stadium with an all-seated capacity of 55,000. In 1990, a new design was made based on both previous designs, with a football field, an athletics track, and completely covered by a roof. By this time, AFC Ajax needed a new stadium, because their old stadium, De Meer, no longer had sufficient capacity.

Once more, the design was altered – the athletics track was removed, the capacity was reduced to 50,000 seats, and the fixed roof was replaced by a retractable roof. In 1992, the Government of Amsterdam authorised the plans for the stadium with a Transferium where people could transfer from their car to various forms of public transportation. In 1993, the Government of Amsterdam changed the development plan of the location and gave a permit to build the stadium.

The first pile of the deep foundation of the stadium was placed on 26 November 1993. The construction work, undertaken by Ballast Nedam and Royal BAM Group, would take almost three years. The highest point of the building was reached on 24 February 1995, after the roof construction was raised. The fly-over from the public road to the parking facilities was opened on 13 March 1996. The Amsterdam ArenA received 180,000 visitors during the construction work, until the stadium was closed from 1 July 1996 until the opening ceremony. The Amsterdam ArenA was officially opened on 14 August 1996 by Queen Beatrix.

The Queen opened the Amsterdam ArenA by making a curtain fall inside the stadium. This revealed the world's largest painting De Zee (English: The Sea) of 80 × 126 metres. Two-dimensional ships were placed on the sea representing the clubs in the Eredivisie. Tina Turner opened the stadium with three concerts with 160.000 people in the arena, from her world breaking Wildest Dreams Tour. Trijntje Oosterhuis sang the hymn De Zee, composed for the opening ceremony by John Ewbank. An eight-day torch relay with 375 runners over 1400 kilometer through the Netherlands reached the stadium. The first runner was Johan Cruijff starting in the old stadium De Meer, the last runner was Frank Rijkaard arriving in the new stadium Amsterdam ArenA. After the grass was revealed and the roof opened, an inaugural football match was played between AFC Ajax and Milan.

The construction of the Amsterdam ArenA cost €140 million.

The stadium combines a retractable roof with a grass surface. This caused some problems in the beginning: the grass rolls would not grow in the shade of the open roof and had to be replaced up to four times a year.

Building and facilities

The architect is Rob Schuurman (Holland).

Its all-seated capacity is 52,960. During music concerts, the stadium has a maximum capacity of 68,000 visitors.

The parking capacity of the Transferium is 500 cars(inside); there are additional 12,000 spots outside.

The Amsterdam Arena is one of two stadiums in the Netherlands that is rated with five stars by UEFA, the other being the Feijenoord Stadion in Rotterdam.

The Ajax Museum is located in the stadium, which shows the more than 100 years of history of Ajax.

The nearest train station is Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena.

Sport events
Association football

The inaugural match was between the home team Ajax and Milan, which ended with a 3–0 win by Milan. The first goal was scored by Dejan Savićević.

The stadium is the home of AFC Ajax in the Eredivisie. The 1998 UEFA Champions League Final was played in the Arena. It was also one of the stadiums in UEFA Euro 2000.

After the death of Rinus Michels in 2005, Ajax fans tried to convince the stadium's board to rebrand the stadium as the Rinus Michels Stadium. The board refused. At every Ajax home game, however, fans bring a large banner displaying the words 'Rinus Michels Stadion'.

American football

The stadium was also the home of the American football team Amsterdam Admirals of the NFL Europe, until the National Football League (NFL) ended its European competition in June 2007. They played over 50 matches in the stadium from 1997 to 2007.World Bowl IX was played at the ArenA in 2001, when the Berlin Thunder defeated the Barcelona Dragons.

Music events

Despite frequent complaints about the acoustics of the Arena, concerts are often held in the stadium.

Tina Turner was the first to perform at the arena during her Wildest Dreams Tour, with more than 157,000 people attending the three sold-out concerts on 6-7-8 September 1996.

In October 2008, the stadium was home to Dutch children's group Kinderen voor Kinderen. The ArenA was selected because of the seating requirement for the groups new format of concert called the "Mega Spektakel". The group had two concerts in the stadium on the same day due to high volume of people, mostly children that attended.

The stadium is also host to dance event Sensation.


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