Johan Cruyff ArenaThe Johan Cruyff Arena ( Johan Cruijff Arena ; officially stylised as Johan Cruijff ArenA) is the main stadium of the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam and the home stadium of football club AFC Ajax since its opening. Built from 1993 to 1996 at a cost equivalent to €140 million, it is the largest stadium in the country. The stadium was previously known as the Amsterdam Arena (stylised as Amsterdam ArenA) until the 2018–19 football season, when it was officially renamed in honour of legendary Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff who died in March 2016.
It was one of the stadiums used during Euro 2000, and also held the 1998 Champions League and 2013 Europa League finals. The stadium will also host three group stage matches and one match in the round of 16 of the Euro 2020, that is postponed to 2021.
Both international and Dutch artists have given concerts in the stadium, including Coldplay, 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 was held in the stadium every year, up until the final edition in 2017.
The stadium has a retractable roof combined with a grass surface. It has a capacity of 54,990 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 It held UEFA five-star stadium status, which was superseded by a new system of classification.
HistoryAmsterdam 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 previous home ground, 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; in practice, they played all of their European fixtures and big midweek night games at Olympisch Stadion.
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.
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, 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 stadium received 180,000 visitors during the construction work, until the stadium was closed from 1 July 1996 until the opening ceremony. The stadium was officially opened on 14 August 1996 by Queen Beatrix.
Queen Beatrix opened the stadium by making a curtain fall inside the stadium. This revealed the world's largest painting De Zee (English: The Sea) of 80 ×. Two-dimensional ships were placed on the sea representing the clubs in the Eredivisie.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 Cruyff starting in the old stadium De Meer, and the last runner was Frank Rijkaard arriving in the new stadium. After the grass was revealed and the roof opened, an inaugural football match was played between AFC Ajax and Milan.Tina Turner opened the stadium with three concerts with 160,000 people, from her world breaking Wildest Dreams Tour.
The construction of the stadium cost an equivalent of €140 million (at the time the currency of the Netherlands was the Dutch guilder).
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.
Exterior renovationIn September 2015, plans were presented to renovate the stadium's facade. The renovation should provide better quality and service to visitors by widening the walkway rings around the stadium, creating more room for the visitors and for new facilities (the number of seats remains the same). As a result, the outside of the stadium transforms from a concave shape to a convex shape, drastically altering its appearance. The renovation is planned to be completed in 2020, when 4 matches of the UEFA Euro 2020 championship will be played in the Arena.
Construction works started in June 2017. The first phase is to renovate the east side of the stadium, where construction of the new facade was completed in April 2018.
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. Later that year, on 9 August, it was stated that the name change would take place on 25 October 2017. However, this was postponed as that date proved to be infeasable due to the many matters that needed to be settled, such as arranging compensation for possible loss of income, transferring part of the shares from the municipality of Amsterdam to Ajax and having a discussion with the Cruyff family.
On 5 April 2018, it was announced that the stadium would officially change name at the start of the 2018–19 football season. The stadium's new logo was revealed on 25 April 2018, the birthday of Johan Cruyff. According to the spokeswoman of Cruyff's family, the original Dutch spelling of his name (Cruijff) was chosen for the stadium's official name "to stay close to the Dutch Johan". The 2018–19 football season started in August 2018.
Building and facilitiesThe stadium's original architect is Rob Schuurman (from the Netherlands). Its all-seated capacity is 54,990. Before the end of the 2019-20 season, capacity will be expanded to around 56,000 seats. During music concerts, the stadium has a maximum capacity of 68,000 visitors. The parking capacity of the Transferium is 500 cars (inside); there are an additional 12,000 spots outside.
The Johan Cruyff Arena is one of two stadiums in the Netherlands that is rated as Category 4 by UEFA, the other being the Feijenoord Stadion in Rotterdam.
The Ajax Museum is located in the stadium, which shows Ajax's more than 120 years of history.
The nearest train and metro station is Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena. The metro lines 50 and 54 (Amsterdam Central Station and city center) have a stop here.
Association footballThe stadium is the home of AFC Ajax in the Eredivisie.
The inaugural match on 14 August 1996 was a friendly between the home team Ajax and AC Milan, which ended with a 3–0 win for Milan. The first goal was scored by Dejan Savićević. The first Ajax goal was scored in the first competition match against NAC Breda by Kiki Musampa.
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.
And the stadium was the host of 2013 UEFA Europa League Final, when Chelsea defeated Benfica 2–1.
It hosts most of the Dutch national team's matches, though the Netherlands doesn’t have one dedicated national stadium for football.
In addition, the arena hosts friendlies for other Dutch national football teams or, rarely, a game of Ajax second team (Jong Ajax).
Euro 2021The stadium will host three group stage matches and one round of 16 match at the upcoming UEFA Euro 2020.
After the death of Rinus Michels in 2005, Ajax fans tried already to convince the stadium's board to rebrand the stadium. At every Ajax home game fans brought a large banner displaying the words 'Rinus Michels Stadion'. The board declined at the time.
American footballThe 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. The team played over 50 matches in the stadium from 1997 to 2007. World Bowl IX was played at the Arena in 2001, when the Berlin Thunder defeated the Barcelona Dragons.
KickboxingAs 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.
Despite frequent complaints 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 250,000 fans.
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.
Céline Dion has been a frequent performer at the arena. Performing to a sold-out crowd for the first time in 1997 on her Falling into You: Around the World tour. During her Let's Talk About Love World Tour, she performed to another sold-out crowd of 64,652. And most recently, on her Taking Chances World Tour in 2008 performing to a crowd of 46,969 people.
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 seven 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's sixth and seventh shows were 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 performed 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.
Armin van Buuren played the venue twice in May 2017 as part of his the Best of Armin Only world tour in celebration of 20 years in music. He was the First Solo DJ to do so.
Beyonce & Jay-Z performed at the venue on 19 & 20 June 2018 as a part of their OTR II tour. A second show was added due to the first one selling out within an hour.
The arena was listed as a potential venue in Amsterdam's bid to host the 65th Eurovision Song Contest. However, the city later withdrew its bid due to venues, including the Johan Cruyff Arena, being fully booked.