Ghelamco Arena: KAA Gent

Ottergemsesteenweg Zuid 808, 9000 Gent
By Paul Hermans (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When the Ghelamco Arena opened its doors for the first time on the 17th of July 2013 it officially became the first newly built football stadium in Belgian since 1974. It was opened to replace Gent’s former home, the Jules Ottenstadion. They had played their football there since 1920 so to suggest it will have felt like a bit of a change is probably something of an understatement.

The ‘KAA’ part of the football team’s title stands for Koninklijke Atletiek Associatie, which translates roughly to mean ‘Royal Athletic Association’. That is because Gent is more than merely a football club and is instead a general sports club, with athletics being its original purpose. In fact, we’ve said on this page that Gent was formed in 1864 but that’s slightly misleading as that was the athletics club - the football club wasn’t founded until 1900.

Stats

Ghelamco Arena Stats
Year Opened2013
Capacity20,000
Average Attendance19,785
Record Attendance20,000 (Gent v KV Mechelen (2013))
Pitch Size105 x 68 (7140)
NicknameArteveldestadion
OwnerKAA Gent
SponsorGhelamco
Clubs HostedKAA Gent
First FixtureKAA Gent v VfB Stuttgart (17/07/2013)
Gent Stats
Year Founded1864
NicknameDe Buffalo's
RivalsClub Brugge, Anderlecht, Standard Liège
Previous StadiumsCarpentierplein, Jules Ottenstadion, Mussenstraat, Albertlaan
KitBlue & White (Home) / Yellow & Blue (Away) / White & Blue (Third)
Shirt SponsorVDK
Team OwnerIvan De Witte
Record GoalscorerMaurice Willems (185)
Record AppearancesArmand Seghers (507)

Ghelamco Arena Photos

Ghelamco Arena Seating Plan & Where to Sit

By Gunther Vermeulen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Ghelamco Arena is set up as a bowl of continuous seating, as is common with most European stadia. There are still four sides to the arena, though, with away fans housed in the corner between the Telenet Tribune and the VDK Tribune. The Spion Kop, also known as the Ghelamco Tribune, is where you’ll find most of the more passionate home fans and the Maes Pils Tribune is the main hospitality section.

Gent Ticket Prices

Gent split their games up into two categories: Normal Games and Top Games. The latter involves matches against rivals such as Lub Brugge and Anderlecht and ‘Normal Games’ are against virtually everyone else. Top Game tickets range from €20 to €50 depending on where you’re sitting, whilst Normal Games will cost from €20 to €40. It’s cheaper for concessions and those under 16.

How To Get Gent Tickets

As with most clubs, Gent’s website is the best place to go. You’ll see how much your tickets will cost as well as where about you can sit in the stadium. The ticket office is open from Tuesday to Friday as well as on match days and that’s another good resource for your ticket buying needs.

Where to Buy

Getting To Ghelamco Arena

Swap Start/End

Train - A journey to Gent by train will take between three and four hours from London, going via Brussels. Once there the Gent-Sint-Pieters Train Station is about a 45 minute walk from the ground.

Bus - There are shuttle buses that you can catch from Woodrow Wilsonplein put on by De Lijn en KAA Gent and it costs €1 per trip. If you’d rather get public transport then buses 8, 65 and 67 all stop directly outside the ground.

Car - The Arena is visible from the E17 motorway, so if you’re driving then that’s the main road you’ll want to use to help you on your journey. The R4 and N444 will also get you near enough to the ground to allow you to follow signs.

By Air - Brussels National Airport is about forty miles from Gent. It’s not that close but it’s the closest you’ll find.

Taxi - Getting a cab from Gent Sint-Pierterstadion to the ground will take about ten minutes and should cost in the region of €15.

Parking Near Ghelamco Arena

There’s a small car park at the stadium but it’s not for general use on match days. There are other locations nearby where you might be able to park your car, though it’s worth keeping an eye out for parking restrictions that are in place.

Useful Resources

Ghelamco Arena Hotels

Hotel Campanile Gent - £50+

Akkerhage 1, Ghent, 9000
The Hotel Campanile is known as something of a budget chain of hotels and this one is no exception. There’s free Wi-Fi, however, as well as free parking for those of you that might have driven. It’s also got a restaurant and bar onsite and a nice garden area to use if the weather’s nice. The fact that the stadium’s about five minutes walk away is also a big plus. More details.

Holiday Inn Express Gent - £70+

Akkerhage 2, Ghent, 9000
Known as being a slightly more upmarket chain than the Campanile, this branch of the Holiday Inn Express is also only about five minutes away from the ground. You get a buffet breakfast included in the cost of your room and there’s a restaurant and bar to use. There is Wi-Fi available and there’s also a pleasant terrace area. More details.

Astoria Hotel Gent - £80+

Achilles Musschestraat 39, 9000, Ghent
The furthest hotel from the Ghelamco Arena is also also the most expensive on our list. It’s worth paying for, though, with less than thirty rooms ensuring that you get a fairly tailored stay. There’s free Wi-Fi for guests, bar area and a lovely garden with a terraced section attached. A nice hotel for a chilled out stay. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Ghelamco Arena

Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant

Groentenmarkt 9, 9000, Gent (+32 9 225 06 80)
You won’t find much football being shown here but if you’re hoping to soak up a bit of Belgian hospitality when you’re on your trip then you can’t go too far wrong. This pub on the river is what you’d imagine a traditional Belgian pub to look like, complete with an outdoor area for a brass band to play.

Gusb Sportsbar

Watersportlaan 3, 9000, Gent (+32 495 53 43 01)
Even if you’re a bit rusty on your Belgian/French/Flemish you can probably guess from the name of this place what to expect. There’s a huge outdoor area with plenty of chairs and tables to sit at, whilst inside there’s a long room with big screens for live sports. You can get plenty to eat and plenty to drink here so it’s an ideal pre-match boozer.

O’Leary's Gent Event Centre

Dok Noord 7 / 301, 9000, Gent (+32 9 310 30 10)
Another place where the clue is in the name, only this time the only language you need to speak is craic. This American-Irish themed place isn’t just a ‘bar’ it it’s a sports centre, complete with bowling alley and curling area. They do delicious bar snacks and loads of decent drink choices. Just as well as you need a membership card to buy a drink in the arena - it’s a cashless operation.

Hospitality

By DirkVE (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As we’ve just mentioned, most of the business seats are located in the Maes Pils Tribune. There are a number of different places within the stadium for hospitality customers to hang out, though. The Rolf Benz Lounge is one of the newest experiences, whilst the Presidential Skybox or Executive provide different types of days.

Private Hire

The Ghelamco Arena is a state-of-the-art venue that promises an unrivalled experience for those business customers out there who want to use the various lounges and boxes within it for meetings, conferences and more. The club can help you with whatever event it is that you’re hoping to put on.

About Gent

By Bartdejonge (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Koninklijke Atletiek Associatie Gent is better known simply as Gent, or by the club’s nickname of De Buffalo’s. As mentioned in the intro, it’s not just a football club but is also a track & field and field hockey club to boot. Founded as an athletics club that also had a field hockey section in 1864, the football side of things was added to the club’s roster in 1900. If you’re wondering why on earth they’re nickname is De Buffalo’s and why the crest is a native American then wonder no more - it all came about after Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Circus visited the city in early 1900s.

When it comes to honours Gent aren’t exactly one of Belgium’s runaway success stories. They first made it into the Belgian top-flight in 1913 and stayed there until 1929. They came back up in 1936 and lasted until 1967 and then spent the 1970s and 1980s bobbing between the top and second divisions. They’ve won the top-flight once in their history, something that they accomplished in the 2014-2015 season. Added to that are three Belgian Cup wins, a solitary Belgian Supercup trophy and two UEFA Intertoto Cups. Their best European performance came in 1992 when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup.

Ghelamco Arena History

Normal Match Day By Spotter2 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

the notion of a new stadium for Gent was first mooted in 2003 when the then alderman announced that they would be moving for the start of the 2006-2007 season. The intention was that it would be called the Arteveldestadion in honour of Jacob van Artevelde, the Wise Man of Gent. Unfortunately there were a number of problems, from financial difficulties to issues with building permits, that stopped anything happening until September 2008. More problems reared their head in 2009 and by 2010 the City of Gent (or Ghent, depending on your mood) announced a partnership with Ghelamco.

Ghelamco are a Belgian real estate firm and agreed to take on the construction and development of the stadium. As you may well have noticed, they also have their name attached to the arena - something that was agreed before it opened in 2013. As well as hosting Gent matches the stadium is also used for concerts and other events. During the 2014 World Cup all of Belgium’s games were shown live on big screens within the arena and concerts took place featuring some of the country’s best-loved artists.

Future Developments

By Bigili1988 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Although there are no current plans to develop the stadium at all, it has been designed to allow it to be converted to a 30,000 or 40,000 seater-stadium relatively easily. This is unlikely to happen any time soon, however.

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