Johan Cruyff Arena

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Johan Cruyff Arena
De Arena
Amsterdam Arena logo.svg
Amsterdam Arena Roof Open.jpg
Full name Johan Cruijff ArenA
Former names Amsterdam Arena (1996–2017)
Location ArenA Boulevard 1, 1101 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 83
Capacity 54,033[1]
53,000 (concerts)
Record attendance 52,316 (Ajax 1–1 Feyenoord on 23 October 2011)
Field size 105 x 68 m
Surface PlayMaster Hybrid Grass by Tarkett Sports
Built 1993–1996
Opened 14 August 1996; 21 years ago (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 aːˈreːnaː]; officially stylised as Johan Cruijff ArenA) is a stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is the largest stadium in the country, built from 1993 to 1996 at a cost of €140 million, and officially opened on 14 August 1996. The stadium was previously known as the Amsterdam Arena (officially stylised as Amsterdam ArenA) until 25 October 2017, when the stadium was renamed after legendary Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff following his death in 2016.[2][3]

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 UEFA Champions League Final and 2013 UEFA Europa League Final. The stadium will also host three group stage matches and one match in the 1/8 final of the Euro 2020.

Both international and Dutch artists have given concerts in the ArenA, 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 is held in the stadium every year.

The stadium has a retractable roof combined with a grass surface. It has a capacity of 54,033 people during football matches, 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.[4]

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.[4]

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,[4] 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 Amsterdam Arena received 180,000 visitors during the construction work, until the stadium was closed from 1 July 1996 until the opening ceremony.[4] The Amsterdam Arena was officially opened on 14 August 1996 by Queen Beatrix.[5]

The Queen opened the Amsterdam Arena 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.[citation needed] 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 Cruijff starting in the old stadium De Meer, and the last runner was Frank Rijkaard arriving in the new stadium Amsterdam Arena. 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.[6]

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.

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.[7][8] On 9 August, it was announced the name change would take place on 25 October 2017.[9][10]

Building and facilities[edit]

The architect is Rob Schuurman (Holland).

Its all-seated capacity is 54,033. During music concerts, the stadium has a maximum capacity of 68,000 visitors.[6]

The parking capacity of the Transferium is 500 cars (inside); there are an additional 12,000 spots outside.[6]

The Johan Cruyff Arena is one of two stadiums in the Netherlands that is rated with five stars by UEFA, the other being the Feijenoord Stadion in Rotterdam.[11]

The Ajax Museum is located in the stadium, which shows Ajax's more than 100 years of history.[12]

The nearest train station is Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena.

Sport events[edit]

Association football[edit]

Photo from Netherlands-France friendly match, interrupted on 14th minute as a tribute to Johan Cruyff.

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 2016 qualifier match between Netherlands and Kazakhstan.

Euro 2000 matches[edit]

Date Result Round
11 June 2000  Netherlands 1–0  Czech Republic Group D
18 June 2000  Slovenia 1–2  Spain Group C
21 June 2000  France 2–3  Netherlands Group D
24 June 2000  Turkey 0–2  Portugal Quarter-finals
29 June 2000  Netherlands 0–0 (aet)
(1–3 p)
 Italy Semi-finals

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[edit]

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

American football[edit]

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.[13] The team played over 50 matches in the stadium from 1997 to 2007.[5] 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.[14]

Music events[edit]

British pop rock band Coldplay performing at the stadium, as part of their A Head Full of Dreams Tour, in June 2016.

Despite frequent complaints[citation needed] 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 325,000 fans.[15]

The Gay Games were held in Amsterdam in the summer of 1998 and a huge opening- and closing ceremony with national and international artists took place in the Arena.

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 five 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 will perform a sixth and seventh time 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.[16]

Armin van Buuren is set to play the venue on 13 May as part of his the Best of Armin Only world tour in celebration of 20 years in music. He is the First Solo DJ to do so.[17]


  1. ^ "Amsterdam: First red stand opened in Amsterdam". 29 January 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "Ajax speelt vanaf 25 oktober officieel in Johan Cruijff Arena" [Ajax plays from 25 October onward officially in the Johan Cruijff Arena] (in Dutch). Algemeen Dagblad. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Amsterdam: Name confirmed, Johan Cruijff ArenA". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d (in Dutch) The making of Amsterdam ArenA Archived 30 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Amsterdam ArenA. Retrieved 8 June 2008
  5. ^ a b (in Dutch) Wist je dat.... Amsterdam ArenA. Retrieved 8 June 2008
  6. ^ a b c (in Dutch) Facts & figures Archived 7 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Amsterdam ArenA. Retrieved 9 June 2008
  7. ^ "Amsterdam Arena wordt Johan Cruijff Arena" [Amsterdam Arena becomes Johan Cruijff Arena]. (in Dutch). Nederlandse Omroep Stichting. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "Amsterdam ArenA wordt Johan Cruijff ArenA" (in Dutch). Ajax Amsterdam. 25 April 2017. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ 5-star stadia Football stadiums of the world. Retrieved 9 June 2008
  12. ^ The Museum Archived 17 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine. AFC Ajax. Retrieved 9 June 2008
  13. ^ (in Dutch) Admirals houdt op te bestaan NRC Handelsblad, 29 June 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2008
  14. ^ "Fear and Loathing in Amsterdam" by Michael Schiavello.
  15. ^ HIStory World Tour – Tour Dates Archived 2 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine..
  16. ^ "Tickets for Beyoncé in the Arena rapidly away". Het Parool (in Dutch). 15 February 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2016. 
  17. ^ "Armin van Buuren Announces US Tour Dates, 'Best of Armin Only' 20th Anniversary Show". Billboard. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016. 

External links[edit]