Johan Cruijff ArenA capacity set to rise


Johan Cruijff ArenA - June 2020 update Image: Johan Cruijff ArenA

Work on the new corner stands is almost nearing completion at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Once completed, it will enhance the capacity of the stadium by near about 880 seats for the multipurpose facility, which will raise its capacity to over 55,000.

The 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.

Henk Markerink, CEO, Johan Cruijff ArenA, Netherlands, is a Member of Coliseum’s Strategic Committee. Sander van Stiphout, Director International, Johan Cruijff ArenA, Netherlands, will be one of the Speakers at the Coliseum Summit to be held at Ascot Racecourse in UK on September 2-3, 2020.

It is expected that the stands at the Johan Cruijff ArenA, which will fill the corners of the Dutch National Stadium, will be completed by mid-July 2020.

On the west-southside, work on the first corner stand is almost over and already shows what the end result will look like. Made of concrete and steel, the new stands are tailor-made. To allow the lower part of the stand to be lifted, each stand has a movable part with hydraulic pistons. It will also facilitate vehicles and materials to be driven up the modified ramp right up to the pitch. The newly added section will consume a total of 112.5 tons of concrete, 3 tons of rebar and 96 tons of structural steel. Each corner will include a 6-row movable section so as to allow access to the field for technical transports.

With the additional stands, AFC Ajax and the Johan Cruijff ArenA are catering to the huge demand for soccer match seats.

In May end, Johan Cruijff ArenA confirmed that the first new corner section (south-west corner) is nearly complete. In total, four corner gates, a very distinctive element of the stadium, are being covered in order to provide additional seats to fans that are currently left out of the venue.

Additional demountable stands will sit on the truckload ramps themselves. These dismountable constructions would have to be removed in order to use the new permanent ramps in each corner, allowing logistics from and to the field platform to continue unhindered.

The stadium operator informed that in this manner Johan Cruijff ArenA will thus earn 880 new seats. However, the number only includes new permanent positions, not the movable ones. In total, the net gain will exceed 1,100.

All works are to be completed by mid-July, as the Dutch football federation (KNVB) stated recently that it was hoping that the top two divisions would return on June 19 following their suspension due to COVID-19 outbreak globally. Work was initially intended to be done before Euro 2020, however the sporting showpiece’s rescheduling to 2021 changed the time frame.

Apart from the new corners, the lower south stand is almost entirely being modified into safe standing areas. Only portions of approximately 100 individual seats near each corner are being left without railings. Should a ratio of 1:1 be retained, capacity of the south end will be 5,254.

However, all it takes is allowing slightly more people (1:1.2) in order to allow entry to nearly 1,000 fans more inside the venue. Should that materialize, the effective capacity of the stadium could soon reach 57,000.

Johan Cruijff ArenA rewind

The ground is often regarded as a breakthrough in football stadium design and operation. However, it is a multiuse stadium as matches of Ajax and other football events don’t make up even half of the calendar. Thanks to the first retractable roof over the pitch among European stadia which got the arena a lot of limelight that even overshadowed problems with pitch quality that force it to be relaid several times every year.

Construction of the stadium began on November 26th, 1993, based on design that has a story behind it. The first vision of a new stadium for Amsterdam had been shown way back in the ‘80s, when the city was bidding to host the 1992 Olympics. When the bid failed, a similar idea was implemented with several features changed – no athletics track, less seats and retractable roof were the major transformations. Rob Schuurman’s vision translated into reality in some two-and-a-half years creating the largest stadium in the Netherlands, accommodating 52,960 fans for football events and up to 68,000 on other occasions. The arena was designed by architect Rob Schuurman who has designed several stadiums.

The grand opening took place over a month after finishing the ground, in August 1996. Among most important events that accompanied the opening ceremony was a series of three sold out concerts by American-Swiss singer Tina Turner. Since then, Amsterdam ArenA is ranked highly for its various uses and operating model. This reveals the company in charge of running this stadium are actually consulting a lot of futuristic stadiums being built globally. Its quality for football has been proven during Euro 2000 and then with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) granting the stadium with Champions League Final (1998) and Europa League Final (2013).

It also offers multifunctional accommodation for large-scale, national and international music and dance events, as well as for smaller-scale meetings for (mainly) the corporate segment.

The stadium is one of the host venues for the rescheduled UEFA Euro 2021 and puts on events in close cooperation with several partners.

High-quality services, state-of-the-art facilities, security and optimal public experience makes the Johan Cruijff ArenA stand out.

One of the world’s most sustainable stadiums, people connected with the operation and construction of avant-garde venues, take a page out of the Johan Cruijff ArenA book.

The Amsterdam Innovation Arena serves as a lab for developing innovative concepts for stadium management and event experience.

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