AFAS Stadion: AZ Alkmaar

Stadionweg 1, Alkmaar, 1812, Netherlands
By Jana de Blois (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening in 2006, AFAS Stadion was built as a replacement for Alkmaarder Hout. That had been AZ Alkmaar’s home since the club was formed in 1967 as AZ ’67. The ground was originally named DSB Stadion until 2009 when DSB Bank went bankrupt and it briefly became AZ Stadion. In 2010 AFAS Software took on sponsorship of the stadium and it has taken on a name courtesy of them ever since. Supporters have given it the nickname Victorie Stadion, which is a reference to a turning point in the Eighty Years’ War when Spanish troops had been besieging the area of Alkmaar.

The club itself has the full name of Alkmaar Zaanstreek but is more commonly known as either AZ or AZ Alkmaar. They won the Eredivisie for the first time in 1981, a season in which they also managed to reach the final of the UEFA Cup before losing to Ipswich Town. They won their second top-flight title in 2009 and they’ve also managed to pick up four KNVB Cups during their existence as well as one Johan Cruijff Shield.

Stats

AFAS Stadion Stats
Year Opened2006
Capacity17,023
Average Attendance15,074
Record Attendance17,023 (AZ Alkmaar v Arsenal 2006)
Pitch Size105 x 68 (7140)
NicknameVictorie Stadion
Former NameDSB Stadion
OwnerAZ Alkmaar
SponsorAFAS Software
Clubs HostedAZ Alkmaar
First FixtureAZ Alkmaar v Arsenal (04/08/2006)
AZ Alkmaar Stats
Year Founded1967
NicknameCheeseheads
RivalsAjax, Feyenoord and PSV
Previous StadiumsAlkmaarder Hout
KitRed & White (Home) / Red & White (Away) / Red & White (Third)
Shirt SponsorAFAS Software
Team OwnerRené Neelissen
Record GoalscorerKees Kist (90)
Record AppearancesBarry Opdam (358)

AFAS Stadion Photos

AFAS Stadion Seating Plan & Where to Sit

Angelo Romano / Flickr.com

Victorie Tribune is the main stand in the venue, hosting the dugouts, players’ tunnel and VIP areas. The Van der Ben Tribune is where the most vocal of the club’s fans tend to congregate, whilst the Westzijde is opposite it behind the other goal. The Molenaar Tribune runs alongside the pitch opposite the main stand. It was named after Cees and Klaas Molenaar who helped to find the club.

AZ Alkmaar Ticket Prices

Prices for AZ Alkmaar matches are split into various categories. Rates change depending on which team it is that Alkmaar are going up against, as well as your age. Main ticket prices go from €30 to €47.50 for adults and €21 to €47.50 for concessions for Category One games. Category Five matches cost €20 through to €37.50 for adults and €14 to €37.50 for concessions. Obviously the categories between them vary slightly with each change.

How To Get AZ Alkmaar Tickets

The best way to get tickets for AZ Alkmaar games is via the club’s official website. You can get tickets over the phone, though you might need to speak some basic Dutch depending on who it is that answers. There’s an area at AFAS Stadium known as AZ Fancentrum where there’s also a ticket office.

Getting To AFAS Stadion

Swap Start/End

Train - Getting a train from London to Alkmaar will take between six and seven hours. You’ll head to Brussels then Amsterdam and then on to Alkmaar itself. The train station is about ten minutes drive from the ground or fifty minutes on foot.

Bus - Buses, 2, 4 and 163 will all call close to the stadium.

Car - AFAS Stadion is just off the N242 and close to the N9, so if you’re driving then they’re the main roads you’ll be looking out for.

By Air - Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is around forty miles away from Alkmaar, so you’ll almost certainly be flying into there if you’re heading to the stadium from abroad.

Taxi - A taxi from the central train station in the city to AFAS Stadion will cost just shy of €12 and take about ten minutes to complete its journey.

Parking Near AFAS Stadion

There are nine different car parks close to the stadium, all run by the club. If you don’t know whether you’ll be driving or not so don’t get a chance to pre-book then you’ll want Car Park 8 or 9 as they are the unreserved ones.

Useful Resources

AFAS Stadion Hotels

Huize Koningsbosch - £50+

Heereweg 84, Castricum, 1901ME
Around five miles from AFAS Stadion is this four-star hotel with free Wi-Fi and free parking. It’s near to the beach and has twenty guest rooms. There’s a garden, a terrace and even a library, should you fancy having a read somewhere quiet. The hotel has a restaurant and a bar area where you get breakfast in the morning. More details.

High 5 Hotel Alkmaar - £70+

Dubbelebuurt 1, Alkmaar, 1811KK
A mile and a half from the ground, this three-star hotel had Wi-Fi and a rooftop terrace. There’s a meeting room as well as a restaurant and a bar. The hotel has only got six rooms, so if you fancy staying there then you’ll have to be quick with your booking. The good news is that you have a breakfast included in the price of your stay. More details.

Van Der Valk Hotel Akersloot - £90+

Geesterweg 1A, Akersloot, 1921NV
The Van Der Valk Hotel Akersloot is about four and half miles from the stadium. It is very much the place to head to if you want the best of the best. There are more than 200 rooms, which are served by two restaurants and the same number of bars. There’s a fitness centre complete with an indoor pool, a terrace area and a conference space. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near AFAS Stadion

Gunnery's Irish Pub

Verdronkenoord 123, 1811 Alkmaar (+31 72 520 9148)
Let’s be honest, there’s nowhere better to go if you’re in a foreign country and want to watch some sport as well as get a feeling for home than an Irish bar. As well as serving the sort of food and drink you’d expect from an Irish pub and giving you good craic, you’ll be able to watch as much sport as you can handle and even be able to play some; typical pub sports like pool and dart boards are there for your entertainment.

Merv's Sportcafé

Scharlo 33, 1815 CN Alkmaar (+31 72 844 2063)
Nothing says somewhere you can watch live sport like a place named a ‘sportcafé’. Though you wouldn’t get it from the name, Merv’s is another Irish bar. It’s named after the owner, Merv McKnight, who wants you to have as good a time as possible. That’s why you’ll be able to watch plenty of sport, enjoy a game of darts and have a lovely pint of Guinness.

Grand Café SAMEN

Houttil 34, 1811 JN Alkmaar (+31 72 511 3283)
The Grand Café SAMEN doesn’t quite have the sporty background as the other two locations we’ve mentioned, but it’s still worth visiting as you’ll be able to get a delicious bite to eat. There are a couple of TVs around the place that you might be able to persuade the owners to put some sport on, too.

Hospitality

By stg_gr1 from Abelonas, Greece (AZ_STADIUM) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are a number of hospitality areas at the back of the Victorie Tribune. These Loges allow you a brilliant view of the pitch and also a tremendous match day experience for those of you who like to enjoy the high life.

Private Hire

As with virtually all top-flight football teams that have hospitality areas, you can hire the VIP sections of AFAS Stadion for your own private use such as conferences and birthday parties.

Stadium Tours & Museum

You can do a tour of AFAS Stadion and see all of the most important areas of the ground. How do you fancy having a look in the press room? Getting close enough to the pitch to smell the grass? You can do individual tours or head there in a group. The tours cost €10 for adults and €8 for children and include a hot drink refreshment. The tour takes about an hour, so you’ll want to make sure you set aside that length of time to enjoy it all.

About AZ Alkmaar

By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 - negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang 2.24.01.05, bestanddeelnummer 929-3485 [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl], via Wikimedia Commons

On the 10th of May 1967 Alkmaar '54 and FC Zaanstreek were merged to become a new team that took on the name AZ ’67. FC Zaanstreek’s history went a little further back, as the club was formed in 1964 as a continuation of Kooger Football Club, or KFC. That side was founded in 1910. Former players of KFC, Cees and Klaas Molenaar, who owned a chain of appliance stores from which they’d made good money, tried to merge their former club with Zaanlandsche Football Club.

That merger failed, so the brothers tried again three years later and that time it was successful. In order to establish the side as a powerhouse as quickly as possible, AZ spent vast sums of money on player acquisition. It caused them to go into significant debt, but the Molenaars bailed them out and invested significant money on sending the club to success. It paid off, with Alkmaar winning the Dutch top-flight in 1981 and regularly appearing in European competition. Their other top-flight win came in 2009 and it meant that over 44 years between 1965 and 2009 they were the only club other than one of the ‘big three’ to win the Eredivisie.

AFAS Stadion History

In truth there isn’t a significant amount of history to speak about when it comes to AFAS Stadion. When it opened in 2006 it was known as DSB Stadion because of a sponsorship deal with DSB Bank. That sponsorship deal ended when the bank went bust in 2009 and so it was renamed as AZ Stadion for a season. In 2010 another sponsorship agreement was reached, this time with AFAS Software who also sponsor the club’s shirts. It has had that name since then and to date things are unlikely to change.

The ground was officially opened with a friendly game against Arsenal. They had just come off the back of losing in the Champions League final to Barcelona and promptly beat the home team 3-0. When the Eredivisie got underway at the start of the 2006-2007 season they made it up to their fans by beating NAC Breda 8-1. Simon Cziommer, a German midfielder, scored a hat-trick and became the first player to do so in the new club. It helped to erase the memory of the first goal at the ground being scored by an opposition player in the form of Arsenal’s Gilberto Silva.

Future Developments

By M.Minderhoud (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The AZ board decided in 2010 to increase the capacity of the stadium from just over 17,000 to around 30,000. This would involve adding a second-tier of seating to three of the four stands. Despite plans for this to take place before the 2011-2012 season, it has yet to be realised due to financial constraints. Things are unlikely to change any time soon for exactly the same reason.

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