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Ajax (Johan Cruyff Arena)

Johan Cruyff Arena

Capacity: 55,885
Address: Johan Cruyff Boulevard 1, 1101 AX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Telephone: +31 20 311 1333
StadiumTours: Yes
Pitch Size: 105 x 68 metres
Pitch Type: Natural grass
Club Nickname: The Sons of Gods
Year Ground Opened: 1996
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Shirt Sponsors: Ziggo
Home Kit: White and Red
Away Kit: White
Third Kit: Black


                    
                    

Boasting an impressive capacity of 55,865, the Johan Cruyff Arena is the largest stadium in the whole of the Netherlands, making it the perfect home for Dutch giants Ajax.

Built between the years 1993 and 1996, at which it was officially opened, the ground is a relatively new addition to the city and its design reflects that. Rather than four separate stands, the club opted for a sleek, modernised bowl design, allowing for continuous seating and providing a contemporary look to the site.

Continuing the modern aesthetic is the retractable roof, which neatly sits above the four sections of the ground, which as mentioned, aren’t separated by any real structures of note due to the bowl-like design.

The North and South stands of course spearhead either end of the pitch, located behind the goals, both of which are located under half of the retractable roof. It is also worth noting that the club’s ultras are often situated in the south stand of the ground, while away fans are usually in the North stand.

While the East stand runs along one side of the pitch, while the site’s West stand, which is the main stand at the stadium, of course, runs parallel on the opposite side of the pitch. In the West stand, executive boxes have been installed in between tiers and it also features facilities such as the dugouts and player’s tunnel.

 

As alluded to, away fans are generally housed in the North Stand at the Johan Cruyff Arena, directly opposite and the furthest possible distance away from the club’s most passionate fans. More specifically, away fans usually occupy sections 416 and 417, both of which are accessed via Gate K.

Speaking from personal experience, the Netherlands is a kind and welcoming place to all visitors, and for the most part, the Johan Cruyff Arena is no different. Of course, there will always be tension between away and home supporters, but you will likely find your experience to be a pleasant one.

The notorious home of Heineken, there is no lack of options when it comes to local pubs in Amsterdam for travelling fans. In the vast majority of cases, away supporters will be asked to congregate at Dam Square, a beautiful area not far from Amsterdam Centraal Station and boasts a wide variety of pubs and bars.

A highly recommended option is the Euro Pub, located just a 12-minute walk away from the aforementioned station, which is where you will need to head to before making your way to the match. It has plenty of large screens and serves an array of beer – what more could you ask for?

 

A major redevelopment from a hospitality perspective commenced in January 2024 and saw Ajax switch to Levy Europe as the new public caterer at the Johan Cruyff Arena. The key reason behind this development was the club’s desire to become the first side in the country to offer “innovative self-service options” in regard to food and drink at the stadium.

Ajax have taken a phased approach to the new system, with self-order screens and hot food vending machines first implemented into the ground on January 21.

As per the club’s official website, this new system will continue to be added to and improved throughout the year, so be sure to regularly check the website to ensure you catch all the latest updates.

The Johan Cruyff Arena, of course, named after the great Ajax and Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff was largely born out of necessity. Ajax’s previous home, De Meer, had simply become unable to cope with the crowds the club were attracting, forcing them to develop a more suitable alternative.

In 1993, building began on the site but it wasn’t until three years and €140 million later that construction would be complete. Finally, in 1996, the ground opened its doors to the public on August 14, in the form of a friendly match against Italian outfit AC Milan – a match that would end in a 3-0 defeat for the home side.

In addition to that sobering defeat, it also quickly became apparent that sections of the grass in the stadium were not growing in the shade of its retractable roof, and initially had to be replaced up to four times a year. Life on the pitch then began badly in more ways than one, and although a solution has since been found, it is a reminder that opening a new stadium is never an easy feat.

2017 saw the first major renovation at the ground begin, with the club keen to widen the walkway that surrounds the stadium, allowing for increased room for both visitors and facilities – the work for which was completed in 2020 ahead of the European Championships.

2017 also saw a name change take place, with the stadium’s previous name the ‘Amsterdam Arena’ swapped out for the ‘Johan Cruyff Arena’ in memory of the footballing icon.

 

Given its relative proximity compared to other locations, there are plenty of options when travelling to the Johan Cruyff Arena from the United Kingdom, but the majority of supporters will likely choose one of the following two methods:

Travel by plane

Amsterdam is a very popular tourist destination for UK citizens and as such, there are plenty of airports that provide frequent and relatively affordable flights to the city. Journey time from London Gatwick for example is often advertised ar approximately 50 minutes or so.

The Schiphol Airport located in Amsterdam is incredibly easy to navigate, and once there, you will want to hop on the intercity train heading towards the Amsterdam Biljmer Arena station, from which it is a four-minute walk to the ground. That journey will likely take just over 20 minutes to complete.

Travel by train

Another option is to travel by train. This method will see you start at St.Pancras station in London, before stopping at Brussels, Antwerp and finally Rotterdam.

From there, you will want to again hop on an Intercity train, which while requiring one or two changes along the way, should see you arrive at the ground in just over an hour. The total travel time by train is usually six or seven hours.

Car Parking

However, if you instead plan on making your way to the Johan Cruyff Arena via car, then don’t worry, there are plenty of options when it comes to parking facilities at the ground. In fact, there are a total of four structures listed on the club’s official website, and are as follows:

  • P1 ArenA (directly under the stadium)
  • P-Dome (next to the stadium)
  • P4 (closest parking lot in P-other)
  • P-other (P2, P3, P5 to P24)

It is worth remembering, however, that parking permits must be purchased prior to your visit, and these can usually via the city of Amsterdam’s ticket shop. All permits are valid from 2.5 hours before kick-off and up to three hours after the final whistle.

As with all major clubs around the world, tickets for an Ajax match more often than not sell out far in advance, so you need to act quickly to get your hands on one.

For a seat behind one of the goals, prices usually start at around €25, while seats in either the West or East Stands can reach prices of up to €50.

It is worth noting, however, that these prices are always subject to change and they can rise depending on the opponent. For example, for fixtures against the likes of PSV and Feyenoord, you should always expect to pay more than the aforementioned figures.

For much of the club’s history, Ajax had enjoyed an incredibly fierce rivalry with local club FC Blauw-Wit, with both clubs being located in Amsterdam. However, the latter dissolved in 2015, and with it, that rivalry died too.

Despite that, Ajax have also always and still do share a rivalry with Rotterdam-based Feyenoord – a fixture which has been the largest derby in Dutch football for many years. The derby is known as ‘De Klassieker’ and has been known to decide titles in the past.

As mentioned, Ajax’s Johan Cruyff Arena is incredibly modern and that theme is continued from an accessibility for disabled supporters perspective.

There are disabled parking spaces located near the stadium’s North Entrance B and South Entrance H. Both of these entrances also include two elevators, designed to take those who require it to whichever level of the ground they are sat in.

Live commentary for those supporters who are blind or visually impaired is also provided and can be acquired via a loaning out process from the steward in section 016 of the arena.

There are also accessible toilets located by section 016, which is where the majority of disabled spectators will be housed.

The ground has an average attendance of approximately 54,000, which you will likely not be surprised to learn is the highest in the entire division.

Given its maximum capacity is just under 56,000, the stadium’s record attendance isn’t much higher than its average. It was set during a match between Ajax and Vitesse in 2022 and currently stands at 54,990.

Much like many other giants of European football, Ajax offer a wide array of stadium tours at the Johan Cruyff Arena, with a total of seven different options for you to choose from. These are as follows:

  • Classic Tour – €20
  • Guided Tour – €27.50
  • VIP Tour – €45
  • Classic Tour Full Experience – €34.50
  • Classic Tour With Audio Guide – €23
  • Classic Tour With Virtual Reality Experience – €24
  • Kid’s Tour – €15

These tours are fairly easy to book and can be accessed via the club’s official website.

Updated 5th April 2024
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