The Johan Cruyff Arena (Dutch: Johan Cruijff Arena [ˈjoːɦɑŋ ˈkrœyf aːˌreːnaː]; officially stylised as Johan Cruijff ArenA) is the main stadium of the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam and the home stadium of football club AFC Ajax since its opening. Built from 1993 to 1996 at a cost equivalent to €140 million, it is the largest stadium in the country. The stadium was previously known as the Amsterdam Arena (stylised as Amsterdam ArenA) until the 2018–19 football season, when it was officially renamed in honor of legendary Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff (1947–2016) who died in March 2016.
“De Arena“ (The Arena)
|Full name||Johan Cruijff ArenA|
|Former names||Amsterdam ArenA (1996–2018)|
|Location||ArenA Boulevard 1, 1101 AX Amsterdam, Netherlands|
|Public transit||Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA station, Strandvliet metro station|
Stadion Amsterdam N.V.
|Capacity||55,865 (2022) |
71,000 (Music concerts)
|Record attendance||54,990 Ajax - Vitesse on 9 November 2022|
|Field size||105 x 68 m|
|Surface||PlayMaster Hybrid Grass by Tarkett Sports|
|Opened||14 August 1996|
|Construction cost||€140 million|
AFC Ajax (1996–present)
Netherlands national football team (selected matches)
Amsterdam Admirals (1997–2007)
It was one of the stadiums used during UEFA Euro 2000, and also held the 1998 UEFA Champions League Final and 2013 UEFA Europa League Final. The stadium also hosted three group stage matches and one match in the round of 16 of the UEFA Euro 2020.
Both international and Dutch artists have given concerts in the stadium, including Tina Turner, Coldplay, U2, Take That, Celine Dion, Madonna, Michael Jackson, André Hazes, David Bowie, AC/DC, Justin Timberlake, One Direction, The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Armin van Buuren. The dance event Sensation was held in the stadium every year, up until the final edition in 2017.
The stadium has a retractable roof and a grass surface. Since 2022, the stadium has a capacity of 56,130 people during football matches, increased from 54,990. The stadium has a capacity of 68,000 during concerts if a center-stage setup is used (the stage in the middle of the pitch); for end-stage concerts, the capacity is 50,000; and for concerts for which 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 It held UEFA five-star stadium status, which was superseded by a new system of classification.
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, as their previous home ground, De Meer, was far too small for most of Ajax's games. Since the early 1970s, Ajax had moved its most important games to Olympisch Stadion. For the last several years, Ajax had played all of their European fixtures and big midweek night games at Olympisch Stadion.
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, took 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 stadium received 180,000 visitors during the construction work, until the stadium was closed from 1 July 1996 until the opening ceremony. The stadium was officially opened on 14 August 1996 by Queen Beatrix.
Queen Beatrix opened the stadium by making a curtain fall inside the stadium. This revealed the world's largest painting De Zee (English: The Sea) of 80 by 126 meters (262 ft × 413 ft). Two-dimensional ships were placed on the sea representing the clubs in the Eredivisie. 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 km through the Netherlands reached the stadium. The first runner was Johan Cruyff starting in the old stadium De Meer, and the last runner was Frank Rijkaard arriving in the new stadium. After the grass was revealed and the roof opened, an inaugural football match was played between AFC Ajax and Milan. Tina Turner opened the stadium with three concerts with 160,000 people, from her world breaking Wildest Dreams Tour.
The stadium combines a retractable roof with a grass surface. This caused some problems in the beginning: the turf's grass would not grow in the shade of the open roof and had to be replaced up to four times a year.
In September 2015, plans were presented to renovate the stadium's facade. The renovation should provide better quality and service to visitors by widening the walkway rings around the stadium, creating more room for the visitors and for new facilities (the number of seats remains the same). As a result, the outside of the stadium transforms from a concave shape to a convex shape, drastically altering its appearance. The renovation is planned to be completed in 2020, when four matches of the UEFA Euro 2020 championship will be played in the Arena.
On 25 April 2017, it was announced that the Amsterdam Arena would be renamed to "Johan Cruijff Arena" in memory of Ajax legend Johan Cruyff. Later that year, on 9 August, it was stated that the name change would take place on 25 October 2017. However, this was postponed as that date proved to be infeasible due to the many matters that needed to be settled, such as arranging compensation for possible loss of income, transferring part of the shares from the municipality of Amsterdam to Ajax and having a discussion with the Cruyff family.
On 5 April 2018, it was announced that the stadium would officially change name at the start of the 2018–19 football season. The stadium's new logo was revealed on 25 April 2018, the birthday of Johan Cruyff. According to the spokeswoman of Cruyff's family, the original Dutch spelling of his name (Cruijff) was chosen for the stadium's official name "to stay close to the Dutch Johan". The 2018–19 football season started in August 2018.
Building and facilitiesEdit
The stadium's original architect is the Dutchman Rob Schuurman. The original all-seated capacity was 54,990. After the 2019-20 season, but before Euro 2020, capacity was expanded by 660. The final increased capacity after the 2017-2021 renovation project is 56,120, an increase of 1,130. The original capacity during music concerts – the stadium's maximum capacity – is 68,000 visitors. The parking capacity of the Transferium is 500 cars (inside); there are an additional 12,000 parking spots outside.
The Ajax Museum is located in the stadium, which shows Ajax's more than 120 years of history.
The nearest train and subway (metro) station is Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena. The metro lines 50 and 54 (Amsterdam Central Station and city center) stop here.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2022)
The inaugural match on 14 August 1996 was a friendly between the home team Ajax and AC Milan, which ended with a 3–0 win for Milan. The first goal was scored by Dejan Savićević. The first Ajax goal was scored in the first competition match against NAC Breda by Kiki Musampa.
|Date||Team 1||Result||Team 2||Round|
|11 June 2000||Netherlands||1–0||Czech Republic||Group D|
|18 June 2000||Slovenia||1–2||Spain||Group C|
|21 June 2000||France||2–3||Netherlands||Group D|
|24 June 2000||Turkey||0–2||Portugal||Quarter-finals|
|29 June 2000||Netherlands||0–0 (a.e.t.)
|Date||Team 1||Result||Team 2||Round||Attendance|
|13 June 2021||Netherlands||3–2||Ukraine||Group C||15,837|
|17 June 2021||2–0||Austria||15,243|
|21 June 2021||North Macedonia||0–3||Netherlands||15,227|
|26 June 2021||Wales||0–4||Denmark||Round of 16||14,645|
The stadium was 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. The team 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.
As kickboxing is a popular combat sport in the Netherlands, the It's Showtime and K-1 promotions have held a number of fight cards at the arena. Many of the sport's biggest stars such as Peter Aerts, Semmy Schilt, Badr Hari and Ernesto Hoost have fought there.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2021)
Despite frequent complaints[by whom?] about the acoustics of the Arena, concerts are often held in the stadium.
The Rolling Stones performed at the stadium nine times: the first, the second, the third, the fourth and the fifth were on 29 June and 1, 2, 5 and 6 July 1998 during their Bridges to Babylon Tour, in front of a total sold out crowd of 261,277 people. The sixth and the seventh were on 19 August – 22 September 2003 during their Licks Tour. The eighth one was on 31 July 2006 during their A Bigger Bang Tour. The ninth was on 30 September 2017 during their 2017 leg of their No Filter Tour. They will perform there a tenth time on the 13 June 2022 as part of their SIXTY Tour.
Céline Dion has been a frequent performer at the arena. Performing to a sold-out crowd for the first time in 1997 on her Falling into You: Around the World tour. During her Let's Talk About Love World Tour, she performed to another sold-out crowd of 64,652. And most recently, on her Taking Chances World Tour in 2008 performing to a crowd of 46,969 people.
Bon Jovi performed at the stadium four times: the first and the second were on 5 and 6 June 2001 during their One Wild Night Tour. The third one was on 3 June 2003 during their Bounce Tour. The fourth one was on 13 June 2008 during their Lost Highway Tour, in front of a sold out crowd of 34,512 people.
Robbie Williams played at the venue eight times: twice in July 2003 as part of Weekends of Mass Distraction; four dates in June 2006, as part of his Close Encounters Tour; and on 13 July 2013 during the Take The Crown Stadium Tour. He also performed on 18 July 2011 as member of Take That during their Progress Live tour.
Genesis performed at the stadium on 1 July 2007 during their Turn It On Again: The Tour. The performances of "Turn It On Again" and "No Son of Mine" were recorded for the group's live album Live over Europe 2007.
U2 performed at the stadium seven times: the first, the second and the third were on 13, 15, and 16 July 2005 during their Vertigo Tour, in front of a total sold out crowd of 165,516 people. The fourth and the fifth were on 20 and 21 July 2009 during their U2 360° Tour, in front of a total sold out crowd of 125,886 people. The band's sixth and seventh shows were for their The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 on 29 and 30 July 2017.
Dutch music group De Toppers have played at the venue 42 times since 2005. No other act has performed in the arena that often.
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 group's 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.
André Rieu and his orchestra plus about 650 brass instrument players had a huge concert in 2011.
The arena was listed as a potential venue in Amsterdam's bid to host the 65th Eurovision Song Contest. However, the city later withdrew its bid due to venues, including the Johan Cruyff Arena, being fully booked.
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