The Amsterdam Arena – More than an Impressive Football Stadium – A New Town in Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Arena – More than an Impressive Football Stadium – A New Town in Amsterdam

If you fancy a taste of the real new modern

Amsterdam displaying a beautiful new style of architecture combined with the

sensation of being in a futuristic micro-city within an old city, then you

should certainly visit the Amsterdam Arena. Here you will have the chance to do

a whole range of fun activities, from watching the Dutch national team or Ajax

Amsterdam play football in a stunning stadium, to listen to some great live

gigs in the nearby Heineken Music Hall or to simply go to a grandiose mall for

shopping or film watching.

If you thought the world famous Amsterdam

Arena is strictly confined to football fans, cheering crowds, and games, then

you need to guess again. When entering its neighbourhood for the first time, I

was assured that I will witness a simple green field, some football seats, and

the typical venue for watching a nice game as in any other cities in Europe. In

fact, what else could it have I thought since my only visual connection to the

area was the constant glimpse from the train I used to take frequently from Utrecht

to Amsterdam Central Station. I mean, it surely caught my eye during those

train rides as a beautiful colossal modern arena, and being a football fan

myself, I have seen it on TV during the Euro 2000 games hosted by Holland.

However, when I stepped in the district for the first time, I realised that it

transcended by far my limited a priori assumptions.

Indeed, the Amsterdam Arena is much more

than a football sports ground. As soon as I entered the area, I witnessed a complex

modern experience in a recently built neighbourhood centred around a breath

taking football stadium but also containing various attractions such as a 3D

cinema, large shopping malls, a park and a ride facility. Easily connected to

the centre of Amsterdam via both a train and a metro, it is a must see trip for

anyone interested in modern architecture, and in a general exciting afternoon

and evening in a different type of Amsterdam from what you have imagined it to



Little History

The grandiose building project was thought

out in 1986 when Holland decided to bid for the Summer Olympics 2012 to be

hosted in Amsterdam. With the hope of bringing in the charming Dutch city the

likes of famous sport athletes such Carl Lewis, Mike Powell or Michael Jordan,

the authorities have presented a breakthrough plan for constructing an Olympic

village in a deserted area, only 8 kilometres from the centres of Amsterdam.

Despite losing the bid to Barcelona, the $140 million plan was continued

especially since Amsterdam’s other stadium where the local famous team Ajax

usually played became too small for the ever increasing fans. The whole building

project was finalised in 1996 when the Amsterdam Arena, as well as its comprehensive

facilities flanking the stadium have been officially inaugurated.

Instead of becoming Holland’s Olympic headquarters,

the Amsterdam Arena became a symbol of the Ajax football team, a squad with

more than a hundred years of history and with the European’s most prestigious

trophy acquired only a couple of years before the grounds’ official opening. In

fact, the first match that was played there featured Ajax, and AC Milan, a team

they have beaten in 1994 in order to conquer Europe’s major trophy. Nowadays,

both Ajax, and the Dutch national team enjoy a large home support for the games

they play at the stadium. The ground has staged the final of the UEFA Champions

League final in 1998, and will soon be organizing the Europa League Final in

May 2013. If you ever participate in a football match at the arena, one word of

advice is to dress in orange when Holland plays so you can blend easily in a

sea of Oranje shirts bouncing up and down, and singing throughout the match.

The official opening of the stadium was

indeed spectacular, the Queen of Holland herself making a large curtain fail

and discovering the world’s largest painting De Zee (in English: The Sea)

featuring two dimensional ships representing the Dutch clubs participating in

the football championship. The famous music star Tina Turner held three

concerts which gathered a total audience of more than 160,000 people in the

arena and its surroundings. In addition, a large torch relay was organised in

the same style as for an Olympics ceremony with famous footballers such Johan

Cruyff and Frank Rijkaard running with the flame.


Interesting Facts

In terms of capacity, the majestic Arena

itself can host up to 53,052 persons joining in for sport and 68,000 for music

events, and it is the first stadium in the world that has an underground

passageway, while being the first in Europe with a sliding roof, so needed due

to the sketchy rainy Dutch weather. When I first stepped inside, I was

instantly excited by the extent of complexity worked to the maximum in the

facilities existent inside the arena. The place is a virtual micro-climate of

various detailed facilities such as locker rooms, weighting rooms, a very large

gym, an ultra VIP players’ lounge, and a lot more. The car drivers can be

especially delighted since the Arena can host up to 12000 spots outside the

stadium, and 500 cars in the inside parking area.


than Football?

The ground also plays host to various

musical events throughout the year with some of the world’s most famous singers

such as Madonna, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones having

brought in large crowds to enjoy the phenomenal acoustic and great view

displayed within the stadium. In addition, some of the world’s biggest party

events take stage here on a yearly basis such as the Sensation or the Black

nights. Furthermore, the Arena’s diverse genre experiences are further enhanced

by its theatre performances, major selling product presentations, company

training sessions, and various types of business events making the venue used extensively

throughout the year.

If you are interested in the 100 years

history of one of Holland’s most traditional and successful clubs, then you can

surely enjoy the Ajax museum inside featuring various trophy, videos, and a

highly interactive presentation offered by the fun and friendly guides.


Amsterdam Experience

In addition, you can also endeavour in the

special World Of Ajax tour where you will be taken to all the major facilities

within the stadium such as the press room where the football coaches and

players give interviews before matches, you can check out the control room of

the stadium, as well as have a great view of the Ajax team training on the nearby

field. The tours cost only €12, and occur 5 times daily while lasting for about

an hour and forty five minutes giving you a chance to explore the inside world

of football within the beautiful arena.


Other Attractions in the Neighbourhood

If the Amsterdam arena experience was not

enough for you, then you can go ahead, and explore the neighbourhood for a

large array of other fun activities. Alongside the arena, a whole new small

town centre (the Amsterdam Zuidoost Centre) has been created, and is all well

connected by the newly built Arena Boulevard which gives you a breathtaking

skyline around the stadium. Among the nearby attractions, the famous Heineken

Music Hall provides for a smaller gig venue but still has the capacity of about

5000 people that can join in for fun concerts and gigs. Next to it you can

choose from 9 screen movie theatres offering the latest Hollywood favourites.

To add the cherry on top, the very large nearby

Villa and Arcade Arena shopping centres present over 75000 square meters of

shopping fun where you can check the latest clothing collections at very decent

prices, and purchase various presents and

souvenirs for your loved ones back home. The shopping mall is situated over

four floors and abounds of various types of shops including ceramic, art or

gadgets. If you are a fan of interior decorations, you can explore an unusual

yet charming display of colours and special furniture for your homes, at the

specialised shops found all around.

While visiting the Arenas, I could not help

myself indulging in a delicious Dutch meal at one of the restaurants found

under glass roofed void on the fourth floor of the vast shopping mall. There

are also various cafes, as well as child facilities if you come accompanied by

your little ones so, in other words, there is room for everyone in this Mecca

of shopping and modernity.


to Get There?

The Amsterdam Arena is located

approximately 8 kilometres south from the main train Central Station. However,

you can easily reach it by taking the metro lines 50 and 54 straight to the

Amsterdam-Bijlmer-Arena. When you walk out the metro, make sure you take the

exit Arena Boulevard, and walk to the stadium via the impressive modern

commercial mall. You can also reach the Arena by bus via the lines 29, 158,

174, 177 or 178, and exit at the Station Bijmer Arena. Finally, you can also

arrive by car from the ring by taking direction South Utrecht, and exit very

soon at the Transferium. There you can park your car, and walk to the arena straight

from there. You can find more information about how to get around in Amsterdam using the public transit system by watching the video below.


exact address of the Amsterdam Arena is Arena Boulevard number 29 but if you ask anyone in the

vicinity, they should be able to guide you easily to the stadium area. Remember,

most Dutch people speak very good English, and are generally very helpful so do

not hesitate to ask them any questions if you need so.