Johan Cruyff Arena

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Johan Cruyff Arena
“De Arena“ (The Arena)
Johan Cruijff ArenA logo.png
Arena, Ajax stadion, Amsterdam.JPG
Full nameJohan Cruijff ArenA
Former namesAmsterdam ArenA (1996–2018)
LocationArenA Boulevard 1, 1101 AX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates52°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
Public transitAmsterdam Bijlmer ArenA station, Strandvliet metro station
OwnerGemeente Amsterdam
Stadion Amsterdam N.V.
Executive suites76[2]
Capacity55,865 (2022)[1]
51,200 (Original)[2]
71,000 (Music concerts)
Record attendance54,990 Ajax - Vitesse on 9 November 2022
Field size105 x 68 m
SurfacePlayMaster Hybrid Grass by Tarkett Sports
Opened14 August 1996; 26 years ago (1996-08-14)
Construction cost€140 million
AFC Ajax (1996–present)
Netherlands national football team (selected matches)
American Football
Amsterdam Admirals (1997–2007)

The Johan Cruyff Arena (Dutch: Johan Cruijff Arena [ˈjoːɦɑŋ ˈkrœyf aːˌreːnaː]; 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,[3] 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 honor of legendary Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff (1947–2016) who died in March 2016.[4][5][6]

It was one of the stadiums used during UEFA Euro 2000, and also held the 1998 UEFA Champions League Final and 2013 UEFA Europa League Final. The stadium also hosted three group stage matches and one match in the round of 16 of the UEFA Euro 2020.

Both international and Dutch artists have given concerts in the stadium, including Tina Turner, Coldplay, U2, Take That, Celine Dion, Madonna, Michael Jackson, André Hazes, David Bowie, AC/DC, Justin Timberlake, One Direction, The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Armin van Buuren. The dance event Sensation was held in the stadium every year, up until the final edition in 2017.

The stadium has a retractable roof and a grass surface. Since 2022, the stadium has a capacity of 56,130[1] people during football matches, increased from 54,990.[2] The stadium has a capacity of 68,000 during concerts if a center-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 previous home ground, De Meer, was far too small for most of Ajax's games. Since the early 1970s, Ajax had moved its most important games to Olympisch Stadion.[7] For the last several years, Ajax had 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.[7]

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,[7] 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.[7] The stadium was officially opened on 14 August 1996 by Queen Beatrix.[8]

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 by 126 meters (262 ft × 413 ft). 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 km 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.[citation needed] 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[3] (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 turf's grass would not grow in the shade of the open roof and had to be replaced up to four times a year.[citation needed]

Exterior renovation[edit]

The Arena from outside (1996).

In September 2015, plans were presented to renovate the stadium's facade.[9] 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 four matches of the UEFA Euro 2020 championship will be played in the Arena.

Construction works started in June 2017.[10] The first phase is to renovate the east side of the stadium, where construction of the new facade was completed in April 2018.[11]

Name change[edit]

Former stadium logo until 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.[12][13] Later that year, on 9 August, it was stated that the name change would take place on 25 October 2017.[14][15] However, this was postponed as that date proved to be infeasible 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.[16][17]

On 5 April 2018, it was announced that the stadium would officially change name at the start of the 2018–19 football season.[4][5] The stadium's new logo was revealed on 25 April 2018, the birthday of Johan Cruyff.[18] 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".[6] The 2018–19 football season started in August 2018.[19]

Building and facilities[edit]

The stadium's original architect is the Dutchman Rob Schuurman. The original all-seated capacity was 54,990.[2] After the 2019-20 season, but before Euro 2020, capacity was expanded by 660.[1][20] The final increased capacity after the 2017-2021 renovation project is 56,120,[1] an increase of 1,130. The original capacity during music concerts – the stadium's maximum capacity – is 68,000 visitors.[3] The parking capacity of the Transferium is 500 cars (inside); there are an additional 12,000 parking spots outside.[3]

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.[21]

The Ajax Museum is located in the stadium, which shows Ajax's more than 120 years of history.[22]

The nearest train and subway (metro) station is Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena. The metro lines 50 and 54 (Amsterdam Central Station and city center) stop here.

Sporting events[edit]

Association football[edit]

The Arena in Ajax's Champions League game in 2019.

The stadium is the home of AFC Ajax in the Eredivisie and European matches.

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 by 1–0, was played in the stadium. It was also one of the venues in UEFA Euro 2000.

And the stadium was the host of the 2013 UEFA Europa League Final, when Chelsea defeated Benfica by 2–1.

It hosts often Dutch national team's international matches, though the Netherlands does not have one dedicated national stadium for football.

In addition, the stadium hosts pre-season friendlies or in the past aswel tournaments, like the Amsterdam Tournament or games of Ajax's reserve team.

Euro 2000[edit]

Date Team 1 Result Team 2 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 (a.e.t.)
(1–3 p)
 Italy Semi-finals

Euro 2020[edit]

The stadium hosted three group stage matches and one round of 16 match at the UEFA Euro 2020, which was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe.

Date Team 1 Result Team 2 Round Attendance
13 June 2021  Netherlands 3–2  Ukraine Group C 15,837[23]
17 June 2021 2–0  Austria 15,243[24]
21 June 2021  North Macedonia 0–3  Netherlands 15,227[25]
26 June 2021  Wales 0–4  Denmark Round of 16 14,645[26]

American football[edit]

The stadium was 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.[27] The team played over 50 matches in the stadium from 1997 to 2007.[8] World Bowl IX was played at the Arena in 2001, when the Berlin Thunder defeated the Barcelona Dragons.


As kickboxing is a 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.[28]

Music events[edit]

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

Despite frequent complaints[by whom?] 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.[29]

The Rolling Stones performed at the stadium nine 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 Tour. The ninth was on 30 September 2017 during their 2017 leg of their No Filter Tour. They will perform there a tenth time on the 13 June 2022 as part of their SIXTY Tour.

Backstreet Boys performed at the stadium on 5 June 1999 during their 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 at 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 at 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 part of their Where We Are Tour.

Rihanna performed at the venue as part of her Anti World Tour on 17 June 2016.

Coldplay performed 2 concerts on 23 June 2016 and 24 June 2016 as 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.[30]

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.[31]

Beyonce & Jay-Z performed at the venue on 19 and 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 Weeknd will perform at the venue on 24 June 2023 as part of his After Hours til Dawn Tour.

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.[32][33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d (in English)"Ajax's Johan Cruyff Arena growing to 56,120 capacity". sportspromedia. 17 March 2022. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d "Houd je spreekbeurt over de Johan Cruijff ArenA". Johan Cruijff ArenA. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Facts & figures" (PDF) (in Dutch). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Amsterdam ArenA wordt officieel Johan Cruijff ArenA" (in Dutch). Amsterdam Arena. 5 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Amsterdam ArenA wordt officieel Johan Cruijff ArenA" (in Dutch). Ajax. 5 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Familie Cruijff blij dat naamsverandering Arena eindelijk een feit is" (in Dutch). 5 April 2018.
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ a b (in Dutch) Wist je dat.... Amsterdam ArenA. Retrieved 8 June 2008
  9. ^ "Amsterdam ArenA presenteert nieuwbouwplannen" (in Dutch). Amsterdam Arena. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Verbouwing Johan Cruijff Arena is van start" (in Dutch). Het Parool. 27 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Ruwbouw oostzijde Amsterdam ArenA klaar" (in Dutch). Amsterdam Arena. 5 April 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Amsterdam Arena wordt Johan Cruijff Arena" [Amsterdam Arena becomes Johan Cruijff Arena]. (in Dutch). Nederlandse Omroep Stichting. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Amsterdam ArenA wordt Johan Cruijff ArenA" (in Dutch). Ajax Amsterdam. 25 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Thuishaven Ajax heet vanaf eind oktober officieel Johan Cruijff ArenA" (in Dutch). Voetbalzone. 9 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Johan Cruijff Arena op 25 oktober eindelijk een feit" (in Dutch). Voetbal International. 9 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Officiële naamswijziging Johan Cruijff Arena uitgesteld" (in Dutch). Voetbal International. 19 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Officiële naamswijziging Johan Cruijff Arena uitgesteld" (in Dutch). AT5. 19 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Logo Johan Cruijff Arena onthuld door Frank Rijkaard" (in Dutch). 25 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Aftrap seizoen 2018/'19 in Eredivisie op 10 augustus" (in Dutch). KNVB. 22 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Vier wangen Johan Cruijff Arena gaan nog voor einde seizoen 'dicht'". Supportersvereniging Ajax (in Dutch). 15 November 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  21. ^ List of UEFA Category 4 Stadiums World Stadium Database. Retrieved 4 August 2018
  22. ^ The Museum Archived 17 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine AFC Ajax. Retrieved 9 June 2008
  23. ^ "Full Time Summary – Netherlands v Ukraine" (PDF). Union of European Football Associations. 13 June 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  24. ^ "Full Time Summary – Netherlands v Austria" (PDF). Union of European Football Associations. 17 June 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  25. ^ "Full Time Summary – North Macedonia v Netherlands" (PDF). Union of European Football Associations. 21 June 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  26. ^ "Full Time Summary – Wales v Denmark" (PDF). Union of European Football Associations. 26 June 2021. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  27. ^ (in Dutch) Admirals houdt op te bestaan NRC Handelsblad, 29 June 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2008
  28. ^ "Fear and Loathing in Amsterdam" by Michael Schiavello.
  29. ^ HIStory World Tour – Tour Dates Archived 2 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  30. ^ "Tickets for Beyoncé in the Arena rapidly away". Het Parool (in Dutch). 15 February 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  31. ^ "Armin van Buuren Announces US Tour Dates, 'Best of Armin Only' 20th Anniversary Show". Billboard. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  32. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (24 May 2019). "Eurovision 2020: The potential host cities and venues". ESCToday. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  33. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (4 July 2019). "Eurovision 2020: Amsterdam drops out of the Host City race". ESCToday. Retrieved 5 July 2019.

External links[edit]