King Baudouin Stadium

Coordinates: 50°53′45″N 4°20′3″E / 50.89583°N 4.33417°E / 50.89583; 4.33417
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

King Baudouin Stadium
Stade Roi Baudouin (French)
Koning Boudewijnstadion (Dutch)
Former namesStade du Centenaire or Jubelstadion (1930–1946)
Stade du Heysel or Heizelstadion (1946–1995)
LocationBrussels, Belgium
Record attendance64,073 (Anderlecht vs Dundee, 6 March 1963)
Field size106 m × 66 m (348 ft × 217 ft)
Opened23 August 1930
Renovated1995 (€37 million)
Belgium national football team (1930–1985, 1995–May 2006, November 2006–present)
Union SG (2016–2018)
Belgium national rugby union team
Royal Excelsior Sports Club de Bruxelles (Athletics)

The King Baudouin Stadium (French: Stade Roi Baudouin [stad ʁwɑ bodwɛ̃], Dutch: Koning Boudewijnstadion [ˌkoːnɪŋ ˈbʌudəʋɛinˌstaːdijɔn]) is a sports ground in Brussels, Belgium. Located in the north-western district of the City of Brussels, it was built to embellish the Heysel/Heizel Plateau in view of the 1935 Brussels International Exposition. It was inaugurated on 23 August 1930, with Crown Prince Leopold attending the opening ceremony. The stadium hosted 70,000 at the time. Its name honours King Baudouin, Leopold's successor as King of the Belgians from 1951 to his death in 1993.


Early history[edit]

The first version of the King Baudouin Stadium was built in 1929–30 by the architect Joseph Van Neck, also chief architect of the 1935 Brussels International Exposition, in a classical modernist style. Its original name was the Jubilee Stadium (French: Stade du Centenaire, Dutch: Jubelstadion) because it was inaugurated as part of the centenary celebrations of the Belgian Revolution, with an unofficial Belgium–Netherlands football match.

View of the Jubilee Stadium in 1935

In 1946, the stadium was stripped of the wood of its cycling track, and was renamed the Heysel Stadium (French: Stade du Heysel, Dutch: Heizelstadion), after the neighbourhood in which it is located.[2] In 1971, a tartan track was installed allowing the organisation of athletics competitions. Three years later, in 1974, a new lighting system was installed.

The Heysel Stadium hosted European Cup finals in 1958, 1966, 1974, and 1985 and Cup Winners' Cup finals in 1964, 1976 and 1980. The highest attendance at a European game was over 69,000 in 1958.

May 1985 disaster[edit]

Despite its status as Belgium's national stadium, the Heysel Stadium was not well maintained. The stadium's poor condition manifested itself at the 1985 European Cup Final. For example, the outer wall had been made of cinder block, and fans who did not have tickets were seen kicking holes in it to get in.[3] Additionally, the only escape route led upward, and there were only three gates on each short side–nowhere near enough for the 22,000 people standing on the terraces on either side.[4]

The stadium's inadequacies had been well known for some time. When Arsenal played there in the early 1980s, its supporters ridiculed it as a "dump." Indeed, the presidents of the two 1985 European finalists, Juventus and Liverpool, had concluded that Heysel was in no condition to host a European Final, especially one featuring two of the largest and most powerful clubs in Europe at the time. They urged UEFA to move the match to another ground, to no avail.[5][6] It later emerged that UEFA had only spent half an hour inspecting the stadium.[4]

The Heysel Stadium disaster resulted in the deaths of 39 Juventus spectators after they were attacked by Liverpool fans before the match.[3] Despite this, the stadium continued to be used for Belgium international games from 1986 to 1990 with only minimal improvements made following the disaster. This was in part because the government had already drawn up plans to remodel the stadium into a 35,000-seat facility. Finally, in 1990, UEFA forced the issue by barring Belgium from hosting a European Final until at least 2000.[4] It also continued to host track and field events and it still hosts the Memorial Van Damme every year.


In 1995, a decade after the disaster, the ground was rebuilt at a cost of BEF 1,500 million (around €37/$50 million in 1995), and at this time renamed King Baudouin Stadium, after the Belgian monarch who had died two years previously. All that remains of the old stadium is a renovated gateway near the main entrance. The new structure combined the football ground with a running track and facilities for field events. It was re-opened on 23 August 1995 as the home of the Belgium national football team and is the largest stadium in Belgium; it can seat 50,093 spectators. The remodelled stadium hosted the 1996 European Cup Winners Cup final, as well as the opening game for Euro 2000.

On 26 May 2006, the Belgian Football Association decided not to use the King Baudouin Stadium anymore for the national team home matches and for the Cup final, because the gates of stand one were too narrow and the stadium was deemed unsafe. The next match of the national team was thus held at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. The City of Brussels complained that contrary to these claims the stadium was safe, and this complaint was upheld in court. On 6 October 2006, the Belgian Football Association met with representatives of the City of Brussels and they agreed to renew the contract and extend it to 30 June 2008.

In March 2019, the Belgian football association announced plans for a new redevelopment of the King Baudouin Stadium. The stadium would be rebuilt to a reduced capacity of 40,000 spectators and renamed to the Golden Generation Arena with a prospective completion date of 2022.[7] That idea was quietly discarded. An architectural firm has never been appointed, an environmental study ordered or a client sought. From the politicians, who were said to be positive about the idea across party lines in the beginning, hardly anything is moving.[8]

Sporting events[edit]

Association football[edit]

Major international football matches have taken place in the King Baudouin Stadium: the finals of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1958, 1966, 1974 and 1985, those of the Cup of Cups in 1964, 1976, 1980 and 1996, as well as that of the European Championships in 1972 between West Germany and the USSR (3–0).

The stadium hosted five matches of the UEFA Euro 2000, organised by Belgium and the Netherlands, including the inaugural match between Belgium and Sweden (2–1) on 10 June, and the semi-final between Portugal and France (1–2) on 28 June.

UEFA Euro 2000 matches:

Date Team 1 Result Team 2 Round
10 June 2000  Belgium 2–1  Sweden Group B
14 June 2000  Italy 2–0  Belgium
19 June 2000  Turkey
24 June 2000  Italy 2–0  Romania Quarter-finals
28 June 2000  France 2–1
 Portugal Semi-finals

On 18 February 2021, the Belgian women's team played its first official match there. This was a friendly match against the Netherlands (1–6) played as part of the promotion of the triple bid to host the Women's Football World Cup, the third country being Germany. This choice was explained by the work carried out at the Eneco Stadium (where the Red Flames usually play) during this period.[9]

Rugby union[edit]

On 25 August 2007, Belgium played Argentina in rugby union as part of Argentina's 2007 Rugby World Cup preparations. Argentina defeated Belgium 36–8.

The stadium was scheduled to witness a rugby union milestone on 19 December 2009, when the Parisian club Stade Français planned to take their Heineken Cup home match against Irish club Ulster to the stadium in a match that had sold more than 30,000 tickets. However, heavy snowfall in Brussels on the intended matchday forced the cancellation of what would have been the first Heineken Cup match held in Belgium; the fixture was instead played the following day in Paris.[10]

The stadium had another shot at hosting a Heineken Cup match in 2012. On 20 October 2012, English club Saracens took their Heineken Cup pool match against Racing Métro to Brussels.[11]


On 8 July 2010, the stadium played host to the Best of Belgium gala which featured a tennis match originally scheduled to be between Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters. Unfortunately Henin had to pull out and Serena Williams replaced her as the match was played in front of the largest crowd ever for a single match, beating the attendance set at the Battle of the Sexes.[12]


Every year, it hosts major sporting events such as the national football team's matches, the Belgian Football Cup final, the prestigious Van Damme Memorial and more. It has also showcased concerts by some of the world's greatest artists, including the Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Beyoncé, Céline Dion, Johnny Hallyday, Robbie Williams, Genesis, Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and many more.[13]

Concerts at King Baudouin Stadium
Date Artist Event Attendance Ref(s)
20 June


Céline Dion Falling into You: Around the World [14]
16 June 1999 Céline Dion Let's Talk About Love World Tour 59,876 / 59,876 [15]
8 July 2000 Johnny Hallyday [16]
12 May 2023 Bruce Springsteen The Rising Tour [17]
13 June 2003 Johnny Hallyday [18]
10 June 2005 U2 Vertigo Tour 60,499 / 60,499 [19]
24 June 2007 Genesis Turn It On Again Tour 30,736 / 45,000 [20]
14 June 2008 Bon Jovi Lost Highway Tour 31,041 / 31,041 [21]
13 September 2008 André Rieu
22 September 2010 U2 U2 360° Tour 144,338 / 144,338 [22]
23 September 2010
12 July 2012 Madonna The MDNA Tour 36,778 / 36,778 [23]
3 August 2013 Robbie Williams Take the Crown Stadium Tour [24]
13 June 2015 One Direction On the Road Again Tour 56,110 / 56,110 [25]
31 July 2016 Beyoncé The Formation World Tour 48,955 / 48,955 [26]
21 June 2017 Coldplay A Head Full of Dreams Tour 100,489 / 100,489 [27]
22 June 2017
1 August 2017 U2 The Joshua Tree Tours
1 September 2017 Coely Memorial Van Damme 2017
16 June 2019 Metallica WorldWired Tour 49,039 / 49,039 [28]
11 July 2022 The Rolling Stones Sixty
22 July 2022 Ed Sheeran The Mathematics Tour 104,473 / 127,999 [29]
23 July 2022
5 August 2022 Coldplay Music of the Spheres World Tour 224,719 / 224,719 [30]
6 August 2022
8 August 2022
9 August 2022
14 May 2023 Beyoncé Renaissance World Tour 53,062 / 53,062 [31]

Heysel Stadium Silver Coin[edit]

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the stadium, the Belgian State released a commemorative coin: the 10 euro 75 years of Heysel Stadium commemorative coin. The obverse depicts an image of a footballer with the stadium in the background. The flags of Belgium and the Netherlands can be seen on top of the stadium as well as the year that the stadium was built.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "History King Baudouin Stadium". RBFA. Archived from the original on 26 June 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Stade Roi Baudouin, anciennement stade du Centenaire – Inventaire du patrimoine architectural". (in French). Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b Evans, Tony (5 April 2005). "Our day of shame". The Times. London. Retrieved 24 May 2006.
  4. ^ a b c "The Heysel Stadium Disaster". Royal Belgian Football Association. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  5. ^ "LFC Story 1985". Liverpool Official Website. Archived from the original on 20 May 2006. Retrieved 24 May 2006.
  6. ^ Enrico Sisti (28 May 2010). "Il calcio cambiò per sempre" (in Italian). la Repubblica. Archived from the original on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Golden Generation Arena – An arena at the height of our golden generation". Royal Belgian Football Association. 19 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Golden Generation Arena stort al in elkaar". 25 May 2022.
  9. ^ "Royal Belgian FA". Retrieved 18 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Stade Français Paris v Ulster Rugby". European Rugby Cup. 20 December 2009. Archived from the original on 17 April 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  11. ^ "Sarries take Heineken Cup to Brussels". ESPNscrum.
  12. ^ "Clijsters to play Henin at 40,000-capacity stadium".
  13. ^ communication. "The Stadium". King Baudouin Stadium. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  14. ^ "Tours and Events: AUGUST 21 1998 – MARCH 25 1997". Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  15. ^ "Pollstar". Archived from the original on 21 August 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  16. ^ "Tenues de scène de Johnny Halladay". Archived from the original on 17 December 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  17. ^ jplhoir (7 July 2003). "Bruce Springsteen - Stade Roi Baudouin - 12 mai 2003". Music In Belgium (in French). Archived from the original on 13 August 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  18. ^ "Tenues de scène de Johnny Hallyday". Archived from the original on 17 December 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  19. ^ "BOXSCORE Concert Grosses". Google Books. 9 February 2024. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  20. ^ "Billboard Boxscore". 9 February 2024. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  21. ^ "Billboard Boxscore". 9 February 2024. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  22. ^ "Pro Posts". Billboard. 18 July 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  23. ^ "Billboard Boxscore" (PDF). PDF. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  24. ^ "Take The Crown Stadium Tour: Rehearsals (Part 2)". Robbie Williams. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  25. ^ "FreezePage". Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  26. ^ "CURRENT BOXSCORE". Billboard. 9 August 2016. Archived from the original on 9 August 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  27. ^ "Current Boxscore | Billboard". Billboard. 25 July 2017. Archived from the original on 25 July 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  28. ^ "Current Boxscore | Billboard". Billboard. 6 August 2019. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  29. ^ "Mathematics Tour (2022) – Touring Data". 25 December 2022. Archived from the original on 25 December 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  30. ^ "Coldplay Pollstar Tour History (2001–23).pdf". PDF Host. Archived from the original on 8 September 2023. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  31. ^ "Year-End Top 300 Concert Grosses" (PDF). Pollstar. 2023. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 February 2024. Retrieved 26 February 2024.

External links[edit]

50°53′45″N 4°20′3″E / 50.89583°N 4.33417°E / 50.89583; 4.33417

Events and tenants
Preceded by European Cup
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Preceded by European Cup Winners' Cup
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Preceded by European Cup
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