The largest stadium in the Netherland, then the Amsterdam ArenA, was opened 25 years ago by Queen Beatrix in front of a packed stadium. The home of AFC Ajax and the national team, and a stage for the biggest artists and dance events, This summer it was one of the twelve European stadiums to host UEFA EURO 2020.
The stadium experienced some teething problems, like challenges with the pitch and acoustics. However, the ArenA was able to emerge stronger from these challenges: thanks to an entrepreneurial spirit and innovative solutions, the ArenA has become a role model for stadiums internationally.
Nowadays, the Johan Cruijff ArenA is known as one of the most sustainable stadiums in the world and is internationally regarded as a role model and advisor for modern stadium construction and exploitation. It has taken on the role of a Living Lab where ideas and technologies grow into innovative Smart City and Smart Stadium products and services. The stadium and neighbouring area function as a hub for testing innovations in practice. Innovative concepts and ideas as well as proven solutions in the field of mobility, safety, crowd management, fan experience and sustainability find their way to stadiums, smart cities and other companies throughout the world.
Throughout its 25 years, the Johan Cruijff ArenA has invested over 80 million euro’s in further enhancing and modernizing facilities and optimize visitors experience. For example the stadium has added 4200 solar panels and a state of the art 3000 m2 main building, transformed the exterior of eastside of the stadium to add more space and comfort, realized a 3MW battery made out of secondhand Nissan Leaf car batteries, and added corner stands to a capacity of 55.885 seats.
Femke Halsema, Mayor of Amsterdam: “The Johan Cruijff ArenA is iconic for the city of Amsterdam and we are extremely proud of it. From the very outset, our beautiful stadium has been the benchmark for others, both domestically and internationally. Millions of people visit it each year to enjoy fantastic football, major concerts and other stunning events. It is innovative, distinctive, entrepreneurial and committed to its surroundings. For the past 25 years, the ArenA and the municipality have been cooperating successfully to realise economic and social development in Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Southeast region in particular. And we will continue this partnership. Congratulations Johan Cruijff ArenA!”
Besides many of Amsterdams Ajax’s premiership matches, the ArenA has also hosted memorable Champions League clashes, countless national team matches and the European Championships on two separate occasions (2000 and 2021). International artists like Madonna, Robbie Williams, Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, U2, The Rolling Stones and Coldplay have all performed there. It is where very successful events like Sensation was born.
Many exceptional national events have taken place in the ArenA and become part of the country’s history. The funeral ceremony of André Hazes, a famous Dutch artist, the party to commemorate the royal wedding between King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima as well as Ajax’s thirtieth title success following a scintillating match with FC Twente in 2011. That is the moment when the ArenA truly became a home for Ajax supporters.