Johan Cruyff Arena

Johan Cruyff Arena
De Arena
Full name Johan Cruijff Arena
Former names Amsterdam Arena (1996–2018)
Location ArenA Boulevard 1, 1101 AX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°18′51″N 4°56′31″E / 52.31417°N 4.94194°E / 52.31417; 4.94194Coordinates: 52°18′51″N 4°56′31″E / 52.31417°N 4.94194°E / 52.31417; 4.94194
Owner Gemeente Amsterdam
Stadion Amsterdam N.V.
Executive suites 76[1]
Capacity 54,990[1]
68,000 (concerts)
Record attendance 53,320 (Ajax 2–0 Feyenoord on 21 January 2018)
Field size 105 x 68 m
Surface PlayMaster Hybrid Grass by Tarkett Sports
Built 1993–1996
Opened 14 August 1996 (1996-08-14)
Construction cost €140 million
AFC Ajax (1996–present)
Amsterdam Admirals (1997–2007)
Netherlands national football team (selected matches)

The Johan Cruyff Arena (Dutch: Johan Cruijff Arena [ˈjoːɦɑn ˈkrœyf aːˌreːnaː]; officially stylised as Johan Cruijff ArenA) is the main stadium of the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam. It is the largest stadium in the country, built from 1993 to 1996 at a cost equivalent to €140 million,[2] that opened on 14 August 1996. The stadium was previously known as the Amsterdam Arena (stylised as Amsterdam ArenA) until the 2018–19 football season, when the stadium was officially renamed in honour of legendary Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff following his death in March 2016.[3][4][5]

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.

Both international and Dutch artists have given concerts in the stadium, including Take That, Celine Dion, Madonna, Michael Jackson, André Hazes, David Bowie, AC/DC, One Direction, The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé and Rihanna. The dance event Sensation was held in the stadium every year, up until the final edition in 2017.

The stadium has a retractable roof combined with a grass surface. It has a capacity of 54,990 people during football matches,[1] and of 68,000 people 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 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.


The Johan Cruyff Arena with the retractable roof opened and closed

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 old stadium, De Meer, was far too small for most of Ajax's games. For several years, Ajax had moved its more important games to Olympisch Stadion.[6]

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.[6]

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,[6] 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.[6] The stadium was officially opened on 14 August 1996 by Queen Beatrix.[7]

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 metres (262 ft × 413 ft). 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 kilometres 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.

The construction of the stadium cost €140 million.[2]

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.

Exterior renovation

In September 2015, plans were presented to renovate the stadium's facade.[8] 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 4 matches of the UEFA Euro 2020 championship will be played in the Arena.

Construction works started in June 2017.[9] The first phase is to renovate the east side of the stadium, where construction of the new facade was completed in April 2018.[10]

Name change

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.[11][12] Later that year, on 9 August, it was stated that the name change would take place on 25 October 2017.[13][14] However, this was postponed as that date proved to be infeasable 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.[15][16]

On 5 April 2018, it was announced that the stadium would officially change name at the start of the 2018–19 football season.[3][4] The stadium's new logo was revealed on 25 April 2018, the birthday of Johan Cruyff.[17] 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".[5] The 2018–19 football season started in August 2018.[18]

Building and facilities

The stadium's original architect is Rob Schuurman (from the Netherlands). Its all-seated capacity is 54,990.[1] During music concerts, the stadium has a maximum capacity of 68,000 visitors.[2] The parking capacity of the Transferium is 500 cars (inside); there are an additional 12,000 spots outside.[2]

The Johan Cruyff Arena is one of two stadiums in the Netherlands that is rated as Category 4 by UEFA, the other being the Feijenoord Stadion in Rotterdam.[19]

The Ajax Museum is located in the stadium, which shows Ajax's more than 100 years of history.[20]

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 for 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 when Real Madrid defeated Juventus, was played in the arena. It was also one of the venues in UEFA Euro 2000.

The stadium hosts most of the Dutch national team's matches, though the Netherlands no longer has a dedicated national stadium for football.

In addition, the arena hosts friendly matches for other Dutch national football teams.

Euro 2000 matches

11 June 2000 Netherlands1–0 Czech RepublicGroup D
18 June 2000 Slovenia1–2 SpainGroup C
21 June 2000 France2–3 NetherlandsGroup D
24 June 2000 Turkey0–2 PortugalQuarter-finals
29 June 2000 Netherlands0–0 (aet)
(1–3 p)

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 declined. At every Ajax home game, however, fans bring a large banner displaying the words 'Rinus Michels Stadion'. The stadium was the host of 2013 UEFA Europa League Final, when Chelsea defeated Benfica 2–1.

Euro 2020

The Johan Cruyff Arena is one of the stadiums that will host matches for UEFA Euro 2020.

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.[21] The team played over 50 matches in the stadium from 1997 to 2007.[7] World Bowl IX was played at the Arena in 2001, when the Berlin Thunder defeated the Barcelona Dragons.


As kickboxing is the most 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.[22]

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 6–8 September 1996.

Michael Jackson performed at the arena during his HIStory World Tour in five sold-out concerts, on 28, 30 September; 2 October 1996 and 8 & 10 June 1997, for a total audience of 250,000 fans.[23]

The Rolling Stones performed at the stadium eight 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.

Backstreet Boys performed at the stadium on 5 June 1999 during Into the Millennium Tour.

The largest number of visitors visited the Arena for the concert of Céline Dion during her Let's Talk About Love World Tour. 68,083 spectators heard Dion on a heart-shaped stage in the middle of the stadium.

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 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.

David Bowie performed a concert in the arena as part of his A Reality Tour on 11 June 2004.

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.

Madonna has performed at three different dates, with all tickets sold out. There were two presentations by the Confessions Tour in 2006 and one presentation by Sticky & Sweet Tour in 2008.

Dutch music group De Toppers have played 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.

AC/DC performed a show on 23 June 2009 as part of their Black Ice World Tour

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.

Muse performed a show on 4 June 2013 as part of their The 2nd Law World Tour.

On 8 September 2013 former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters will perform a show of his The Wall Live Concert Tour.

On 24 and 25 June 2014, boy band One Direction performed in the arena as a part of their Where We Are Tour.

Rihanna performed at the venue as a part of her Anti World Tour on 17 June 2016.

Coldplay performed 2 concerts on 23 June 2016 and 24 June 2016 as a part of their A Head Full of Dreams Tour.

Beyoncé performed at the venue on 16 July 2016 as a part of her Formation World Tour. The concert sold out within 20 minutes.[24]

Armin van Buuren played the venue twice in May 2017 as part of his the Best of Armin Only world tour in celebration of 20 years in music. He was the First Solo DJ to do so.[25]


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Houd je spreekbeurt over de Johan Cruijff ArenA". Johan Cruijff ArenA. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Facts & figures" (PDF) (in Dutch). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  3. 1 2 "Amsterdam ArenA wordt officieel Johan Cruijff ArenA" (in Dutch). Amsterdam Arena. 5 April 2018.
  4. 1 2 "Amsterdam ArenA wordt officieel Johan Cruijff ArenA" (in Dutch). Ajax. 5 April 2018.
  5. 1 2 "Familie Cruijff blij dat naamsverandering Arena eindelijk een feit is" (in Dutch). 5 April 2018.
  6. 1 2 3 4 (in Dutch) The making of Amsterdam ArenA Archived 30 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Amsterdam ArenA. Retrieved 8 June 2008
  7. 1 2 (in Dutch) Wist je dat.... Amsterdam ArenA. Retrieved 8 June 2008
  8. "Amsterdam ArenA presenteert nieuwbouwplannen 2020" (in Dutch). Amsterdam Arena. 30 September 2015.
  9. "Verbouwing Johan Cruijff Arena is van start" (in Dutch). Het Parool. 27 June 2017.
  10. "Ruwbouw oostzijde Amsterdam ArenA klaar" (in Dutch). Amsterdam Arena. 5 April 2018.
  11. "Amsterdam Arena wordt Johan Cruijff Arena" [Amsterdam Arena becomes Johan Cruijff Arena]. (in Dutch). Nederlandse Omroep Stichting. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  12. "Amsterdam ArenA wordt Johan Cruijff ArenA" (in Dutch). Ajax Amsterdam. 25 April 2017.
  13. "Thuishaven Ajax heet vanaf eind oktober officieel Johan Cruijff ArenA" (in Dutch). Voetbalzone. 9 August 2017.
  14. "Johan Cruijff Arena op 25 oktober eindelijk een feit" (in Dutch). Voetbal International. 9 August 2017.
  15. "Officiële naamswijziging Johan Cruijff Arena uitgesteld" (in Dutch). Voetbal International. 19 October 2017.
  16. "Officiële naamswijziging Johan Cruijff Arena uitgesteld" (in Dutch). AT5. 19 October 2017.
  17. "Logo Johan Cruijff Arena onthuld door Frank Rijkaard" (in Dutch). 25 April 2018.
  18. "Aftrap seizoen 2018/'19 in Eredivisie op 10 augustus" (in Dutch). KNVB. 22 January 2018.
  19. List of UEFA Category 4 Stadiums World Stadium Database. Retrieved 4 August 2018
  20. The Museum Archived 17 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine. AFC Ajax. Retrieved 9 June 2008
  21. (in Dutch) Admirals houdt op te bestaan NRC Handelsblad, 29 June 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2008
  22. "Fear and Loathing in Amsterdam" by Michael Schiavello.
  23. HIStory World Tour – Tour Dates Archived 2 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine..
  24. "Tickets for Beyoncé in the Arena rapidly away". Het Parool (in Dutch). 15 February 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  25. "Armin van Buuren Announces US Tour Dates, 'Best of Armin Only' 20th Anniversary Show". Billboard. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.