Johan Cruyff Arena: AFC Ajax / Netherlands

ArenA Boulevard 1, Amsterdam, 1101, Netherlands
By Alf van Beem (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Johan Cruyff ArenA (formerly Amsterdam ArenA until 2018) opened in 1996 and is the largest arena in all of the Netherlands. It took three years to build and cost around €140 million. Over the years since it opened it has been used to host football games - specifically for Ajax and the Dutch national side - as well as American football matches and concerts. The surface is grass and there is a retractable roof that can be moved to cover the pitch if the weather turns.

The ArenA is the home of Ajax and has been ever since it opened. It has also hosted numerous tournaments such as the Champions League final in 1998, the final of the Europa League in 2013 and the European Championships in 2000. It was also be one of the venues for the 2020 European Championships which was held in numerous countries throughout the continent.


Johan Cruyff Arena Stats
Year Opened1996
Average Attendance50,905
Record Attendance53,502 ()
Pitch Size105 x 68 (7140)
Nicknamede Arena
Former NameAmsterdam ArenA
OwnerGemeente Amsterdam Stadion Amsterdam N.V.
Clubs HostedAFC Ajax (1996–present), Amsterdam Admirals (1997–2007), Netherlands national team
First FixtureAFC Ajax v AC Milan (14/08/1996)
Netherlands Stats
Year Founded1905
NicknameOranje, Holland, Clockwork Orange, The Flying Dutchmen
RivalsGermany, Belgium, Spain
KitOrange (Home) / Blue (Away)
Training GroundKNVB Campus
Team OwnerRoyal Dutch Football Association
Record GoalscorerRobin van Persie (50)
Record AppearancesEdwin van der Sar (130)
AFC Ajax Stats
Year Founded1900
Nicknamede Godenzonen (Sons of the Gods),[1][2] de Joden (the Jews), I Lancieri (The Lancers), Lucky Ajax
Club MascotLucky Lynx
RivalsFeyenoord, PSV, FC Utrecht, FC Twente, FC Groningen, AZ
Previous Stadiums Het Houten Stadion, Olympic Stadium, De Meer Stadion
KitRed & White (Home) / Blue & Black (Away) / Black (Third)
Training GroundSportpark De Toekomst
Shirt SponsorZiggo
Team OwnerAFC Ajax NV
Record GoalscorerPiet van Reenen (273)
Record AppearancesSjaak Swart (463)

Johan Cruyff Arena Photos

Johan Cruyff Arena Seating Plan & Where to Sit

Felix Wagner /

Owing to the fact that it opened in the late 1990s, Johan Cruyff ArenA follows the modern European approach to stadiums that sees it have a bowl of continuous seating going around the perimeter of the pitch, as opposed to the more ‘English Style’ of a different stand on each side of the playing surface. Here’s some detail on each section:

  • North Stand - The North Stand is behind one of the goals and it contains the away section. Like the rest of the stadium it has two tiers that are below one half of the retractable roof.
  • South Stand - Directly opposite the North Stand and also sitting under half of the retractable roof, the South Stand is home to the club’s most passionate supporters.
  • East Stand - Running along one side of the pitch, the East Stand is opposite the Main Stand of the ground.
  • West Stand - This is the Main Stand of the stadium and houses things such as the dug-outs, the changing rooms and the players’ tunnel. There are also executive boxes separating the two tiers of seating.

Netherlands Ticket Prices

Similar to Ajax, the Dutch national team plays matches against teams from all over the world. It plays both unimportant friendly games and crucial qualifying matches for major tournaments such as the European Championships and the World Cup. Ticket prices will vary and the individual match ticket costs are decided by the country’s football associations.

How To Get Netherlands Tickets

You can buy tickets for Dutch games through the Netherlands Football Association, the same group that decides the ticket prices. They’re the people you’ll want to get in touch with if you want to watch Oranje play live.

Where to Buy

AFC Ajax Ticket Prices

As is the case with most major clubs throughout Europe, the amount you’ll pay for tickets to see AFC Ajax play depends on who it is that the match is against, where about you’d like to sit and how old you are. If you’re an adult hoping to see a middle of the range match then you can expect to pay between €20 and €70.

How To Get AFC Ajax Tickets

In order to watch Ajax football matches you normally have to be a club ‘member’. There are numerous official locations throughout Amsterdam where you’ll be able to buy tickets including AKO newsagents in places such as Schiphol Plaza. You can also get tickets from the club’s official website and over the phone.

Where to Buy

Getting To Johan Cruyff Arena

As well as being the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is also the country’s most populous city. Consequently there are numerous ways to get there, of which the following are some methods:

Train - A train journey from London to Amsterdam will take between six and seven hours to complete its journey. You’ll go from St. Pancras to Brussels, Brussels to Antwerp and then Antwerp to Rotterdam. From there it’s just a short journey to Amsterdam-Centraal.

Once in the city you’ll want to get a train or the Metro 54 to Bijlmer Station. That journey will take about twenty minutes and then you’ll have a five minute walk to the ground.

Bus - Buses 29, 158, 174, 177 and 178 will all take you to Station Bijmer Arena station where you can get a metro towards Arena Boulevard.

Car - If you’re wanting to drive then the A10 ring road will get you onto the A2 South towards Utrecht. Get off at the Transferium and that’s where you’ll be able to park your car, too.

By Air - Schiphol is easiest the largest airport that serves the Dutch capital, so that is where most flights will head into. It’s just over ten miles away so is significantly more convenient than Rotterdam’s The Hague Airport, based about 55 miles from the centre of Amsterdam.

Taxi - If you’d like to get a taxi from Amsterdam’s Centraal station out to the ground then expect to pay something in the region of €30 and the journey will take around twenty minutes.

Parking Near Johan Cruyff Arena

The Transferium is where you’ll want to go if you’re looking for parking. It’s right next to the ground and there are plenty of spaces.

Useful Resources

Johan Cruyff Arena Hotels

Given it’s the capital of Holland and a notorious hotspot for hen dos and stag parties, it’s a fair assumption that you’ll be able to find a hotel to stay in whatever your budget range. Here are some to consider:

Courtyard Amsterdam Arena Atlas - £50+

Hoogoorddreef 1, Zuidoost, Amsterdam, 1101 BA
This hotel has 175 rooms and free Wi-Fi for the guests that stay in them. As its name suggests it is right by the Amsterdam ArenA so you won’t have much of a walk to the match. When you’re in the hotel you can eat in a restaurant, drink in its bar, head to the fitness centre or spend some time on the hotel’s terrace. More details.

Jaz Amsterdam - £70+

De Passage 90, Amsterdam, 1101 AX
The Jaz has just under 260 rooms as well as a restaurant and bar. There’s a fitness centre, a business centre and self-parking. There’s a terrace area if you like to have a chill out and there’s also a buffet breakfast included in the price of your stay. More details.

Fletcher Hotel Amsterdam - £90+

Schepenbergweg 50, Amsterdam, Noord Holland, 1105 AT
This 4-star hotel has two restaurants to choose from as well as free Wi-Fi for the hotel guests. There’s a rooftop terrace, five different meeting rooms and self-parking. The hotel is about half-an-hour from Amsterdam ArenA on foot. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Johan Cruyff Arena

If there are a number of hotels to choose from in the city then the bars are even more plentiful. Here are some of the best places you’ll want to head to for a pre or post-match pint:

Satellite Sports Café

Leidseplein 11, 1017 PS, Amsterdam (+31 20 427 2529)
This is another one of those occasions where we say ‘the clue is in the name’. This is probably the best place in Amsterdam to watch live sport, with an outdoor area full of TV screens for up to 80 more people as well as the large area inside. It also sells ‘the best’ all you can eat ribs in the city, apparently.

Three Sisters Pub

Rembrandtplein 19, 1017 CT, Amsterdam (+31 20 626 33 46)
This central Amsterdam bar has something of a classic English pub feel to it, complete with Chesterfield armchairs and seats up at the bar. There’s room for about 200 people inside and more than 20 TVs to watch sport on. There’s also a cracking menu if you fancy a bite to eat.

Grolsch Pub

Johan Cruijff Boulevard 77, 1101 DL Amsterdam, Netherlands (+31 20 40 02 505)
This bar is located at the arena itself, so it’s the closest place you’re going to be able to find for a pre-match pint. Good beers, loads of TVs and plenty of sports memorabilia - especially of Ajax - are the order of the day here. Obviously sports fans on match days are their biggest customers, so they know how to serve quickly and deal with crowds.


Though it was built in the mid-1990s, Amsterdam ArenA is an up-to-date location. Given then it’s the country’s largest stadium they do well to ensure that it keeps up with all of the mod-cons. There are plenty of places to have a drink or get a bite to eat and the views are pretty good from everywhere.


From Ajax FC

Though hospitality packages are different for Ajax games and Dutch national matches, the facilities remain the same. If you want to watch games in more exclusive environments than just a standard seat then get in touch with the specific club who are organising the matches.

The main hospitality experiences are to be found in the stadium’s Skyrooms and the Skylounge. Here’s you’ll find the perfect mix of the exquisite comforts you’d expect for high level business meetings as well as exceptional views of the football pitch. Café John is also open for hospitality experiences and that has an English pub like feel, so is better for more relaxed meetings and get togethers. The Tunnel Club also allows you to watch the players in the tunnel via a glass wall in the final moments before the game begins.

Private Hire

Amsterdam ArenA has a whole host of amazing rooms available for private hire for conferences and the likes. The rooms all have different themes, so you’ll have to investigate which one is right for you. The various rooms you may find yourself in include Amsterdam ’72, which gas a full length balcony overlooking it and can be used for seminars and dinners; Athene ’87, which can be used for conferences and is more industrial in its appearance; Café Johan, which is like an English pub and has a view of the pitch and Glasgow ’72 that is essentially a large Skybox.

Stadium Tours & Museum

There is a stadium tour that lasts for an hour and a quarter. It is about as comprehensive as tours can get, taking in the likes of the dressing room, the players’ tunnel and the press area. You’ll also get to go into the Gallery of Fame, which is Ajax’s equivalent of a museum. Tours run every day and the only major difference is that you can’t visit the dressing rooms on match days. There are no tours on the 27th of April, the 25th and 26th of December and New Year’s Day. Tours cost €18.00 for adults and €11.00 for children.

About Netherlands

Cartoon of a Netherlands-Belgium friendly cup match in 1905 - By Unknown cartoonist (+own work: digital retouch) (Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Under the control of the Royal Netherlands Football Association, the Netherlands national team are known as Het Nederlands Elftal, or the Dutch Eleven. They’re also called ‘Oranje’ in honour of the House of Orange-Nassau and the play in an orange kit accordingly. In football circles the team is referred to by some as Holland, though this in fact incorrect. The Netherlands team has played in more World Cup finals without winning the competition than any other team in football; a record that no one associated with the country is happy to have against their name.

They have finished second in the tournament three times, losing in the final in 1974 to West Germany, to Argentina in 1978 and to Spain in 2010. The Dutch football team may have only won one major tournament in their history in the form of the 1988 European Championship, but they have been praised for their footballing style over the years. In the 1970s Rinus Michels’s team, led on the pitch by Johan Cruyff, invented what was known as Total Football’. The ‘carousel’ style of football impressed the world when it was played in the 1974 World Cup.

About AFC Ajax

By Gzen92 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If Ajax played in England the likelihood is that the ‘AFC’ would stand for Association Football Club. As it is, however, it means Amsterdamsche Football Club, reflective of the fact that Ajax are a club based in the capital city of the Netherlands. Named after the hero from Greek mythology for reasons no one really understands, Ajax are the most successful club in Dutch football. They have, to date, won the top-flight title thirty-three times and have picked up eighteen NKVB Cups.

Since its creation in 1956 the club has never played outside the top division in the Netherlands and forms one third of what is known as ‘The Big Three’. The other two teams are Feyenoord and PSV and between them they have dominated Dutch football. As well as ruling the roost in Holland, Ajax have also impressed across the European continent. They were Europe’s seventh most successful club in the 20th century, having won the European Cup four times, including back-to-back titles in 1971, 1972 and 1973. They’ve won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Cup once apiece.

Johan Cruyff Arena History

When the International Olympic Committee began to invite bids for the hosting of the 1992 Summer Olympics Amsterdam was one of six different cities to make an application. A new Olympic Stadium was designed in 1986 as part of the bid but when the Olympics was awarded to Barcelona the idea was shelved. The following year the Amsterdam Sports City Foundation came up with an idea for a 55,000 seat capacity stadium in the country. Three years after that a new design was created that took ideas from both of the previously suggested stadia.

It was around the same time that AFC Ajax began to consider moving to a new stadium, with their then home - De Meer Stadium - unable to answer demand for those wanting to watch the club’s football games. For the best part of a decade the club had played any important matches in the Olympisch Stadion. They looked at the previous stadium designs and decided to move forward with it with a slight alteration that removed the running track. City government approved the plans on the proviso that the ground’s location was changed and in November of 1993 work began on its construction.

The stadium is often used as a concert venue, with the biggest names in the world visiting to perform for the evening, including the likes of Madonna, Bon Jovi, Beyonce, Tina Turner, and Michael Jackson. This despite the acoustics being famously terrible.

Future Developments

After the revelation that the ArenA would be used to host matches in the 2020 European Championships numerous mass renovations were planned for the stadium. These included the enlarging of the Upper and Lower tiers to have increased capacities. A new facade was added and the stadium also changed shape slightly.

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