Innovation Lab

Johan Cruijff ArenA bastion of innovation during Netherlands-Latvia

Johan Cruijff ArenA bastion of innovation during Netherlands-Latvia
During last Saturday's Netherlands-Latvia game, the ArenA was a huge Living Lab. As an innovative stadium, we're really proud of that! Many innovations were tested as part of the Fieldlab research programme. These can contribute to allowing spectators and audiences into stadiums and other events safely and responsibly. The ArenA has been a Living Lab for innovations for several years. During the past year, it has played an active role as a test location for innovative solutions that can help accelerate the reopening of event locations.

The 5,000 spectators were divided into various research bubbles, in which potential scenarios and behavioural elements were tested. These are designed to allow spectators to be admitted to terraces for major events without having to stay 1.5 m apart. The tests included various ways of taking positions, e.g. in order of arrival, various seating patterns and separated arrival times.

Tags were used to measure contact moments and contact times, as well as various practical tests with two innovative tags for close contact data and communication. The air quality, crowd flows and UV-C disinfection at various locations in the ArenA were also monitored from the Calculus digital control room.

One of the bubbles also hosted a scientific research project led by the TU Eindhoven into the spread of aerosols in the air. This involves researching the build-up of aerosol concentrations in stadiums and the effectiveness of measures aimed at reducing aerosol concentrations. The first measurements were carried out in the ArenA in December. These used artificial aerosol generators rather than spectators.

Some of the other innovations tested during the Netherlands-Latvia game were:

Air quality monitoring

When the coronavirus is spread via the air, this is due to the presence of aerosols. These are small droplets in the air. AirSure from Cloud Garden consists of a screen and sensor that accurately measures how these droplets accumulate in indoor locations. In the five health classes, you can see how safe the air quality is and what can be done to keep it under control. The air quality status is shown so that everyone can feel safe while taking part in activities.

Contact tracing with wearables

Sendrato produces armbands for crowd monitoring and measuring contact moments, access control, contactless payments and for creating “light shows” with LED lamps. Last Saturday, the “Crowdband” was tested in the ArenA with a new technology that allows the duration and number of close contact moments to be shown. Research agencies use this information for movement analysis and for anonymous contact tracing during major events.

Sending messages based on position

Embedded Acoustics has developed a tag that allows visitors to be sent messages anonymously based on their position. These are shown on a small built-in screen. This is intended to warn visitors about busy hotspots or to allow a stadium section to empty gradually, but can also be used for other messages. The test in the ArenA was primarily used to assess the technical operation and visitors' responses to the messages.

Several of the innovation projects tested during this Fieldlab are the result of an innovation contest (SBIR) initiated by Sportinnovator, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) and implemented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).


Based on these experiences Fieldlab Events advised the Government recently that they could safely allow spectators at Football matches to up to 50-75 percent of stadium capacity, when all appropriate measures are implemented.

De Johan Cruijff ArenA is altijd in beweging

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