The Johan Cruyff Arena; officially stylised as Johan Cruijff ArenA is the main stadium of the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam. 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 honour of legendary Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff who died in March 2016.
The stadium is the home of the association football club AFC Ajax since 1996. In addition, it was the home of the now-defunct American football club Amsterdam Admirals (1997–2007). It was one of the stadiums used during Euro 2000, and also held the 1998 Champions League and 2013 Europa League finals. The stadium will also host three group stage matches and one match in the round of 16 of the Euro 2020.
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Johan Cruyff Arena (formerly Amsterdam ArenA until 2018) opened in 1996 and is the largest arena in all of the Netherlands. It took three years to build and cost around €140 million. Over the years since it opened it has been used to host football games - specifically for Ajax and the Dutch national side - as well as American football matches and concerts. The surface is grass and there is a retractable roof that can be moved to cover the pitch if the weather turns.
Owing to the fact that it opened in the late 1990s, Amsterdam ArenA follows the modern European approach to stadiums that sees it have a bowl of continuous seating going around the perimeter of the pitch, as opposed to the more ‘English Style’ of a different stand on each side of the playing surface. Here’s some detail on each section:
North Stand - The North Stand is behind one of the goals and it contains the away section. Like the rest of the stadium it has two tiers that are below one half of the retractable roof.
South Stand - Directly opposite the North Stand and also sitting under half of the retractable roof, the South Stand is home to the club’s most passionate supporters.
East Stand - Running along one side of the pitch, the East Stand is opposite the Main Stand of the ground.
West Stand - This is the Main Stand of the stadium and houses things such as the dug-outs, the changing rooms and the players’ tunnel. There are also executive boxes separating the two tiers of seating.
As well as being the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is also the country’s most populous city. Consequently, there are numerous ways to get there, of which the following are some methods:
Bus - Buses 29, 158, 174, 177 and 178 will all take you to Station Bijmer Arena station where you can get a metro towards Arena Boulevard.
Car - If you’re wanting to drive then the A10 ring road will get you onto the A2 South towards Utrecht. Get off at the Transferium and that’s where you’ll be able to park your car, too.
Satellite Sports Café: Leidseplein 11, 1017 PS, Amsterdam (+31 20 427 2529)
This is another one of those occasions where we say ‘the clue is in the name’. This is probably the best place in Amsterdam to watch live sport, with an outdoor area full of TV screens for up to 80 more people as well as the large area inside. It also sells ‘the best’ all you can eat ribs in the city, apparently.
Three Sisters Pub: Rembrandtplein 19, 1017 CT, Amsterdam (+31 20 626 33 46)
This central Amsterdam bar has something of a classic English pub feel to it, complete with Chesterfield armchairs and seats up at the bar. There’s room for about 200 people inside and more than 20 TVs to watch sport on. There’s also a cracking menu if you fancy a bite to eat.
Soccer World: ArenA Boulevard 5, Amsterdam (+31 20 311 1650)
Soccer World is a café bar located at the ArenA itself, so it’s the closest place you’re going to be able to find for a pre-match pint. Good beers, loads of TVs and plenty of sports memorabilia - especially of Ajax - are the order of the day here. Well worth a visit if you’re off to the ArenA.
I have been to Johan Cruijff ArenA once for the Dutch Super Cup final and a stadium tour. Below was the result:
Check out the Grounds Hub to view in depth fact files on each Ground.
Check out the timeline to see all the away games I have been to.
Check out the Clubs Hub to view in depth fact files on each Club.