Tenants: AFC Ajax (Eredivise)
The Johan Cruyff ArenA is the largest stadium in the Netherlands, opened in 1996 and originally known as Amsterdam ArenA. The stadium was renamed after the legendary Dutch footballer ahead of the 2018-19 season following his death in March 2016.
AFC Ajax, the club who Cruyff played for and managed, and the most successful club in the Netherlands, play their home fixtures at the stadium. They moved their from the now demolished De Meer Stadion, although they played European matches and big midweek fixtures at the Olympic Stadium as De Meer became more unsuitable.
The Johan Cruyff ArenA was the first football stadium in Europe to have a retractable roof. The stadium was officially opened on the 14th August 1996 by Queen Beatrix, with a match then played between Ajax and AC Milan in which Milan won 3-0, with the first goal scored by Dejan Savicevic.
In 1998 the UEFA Champions League final was played at the stadium in which Real Madrid defeated Juventus 1-0 thanks to a goal from Predrag Mijatović. The 2013 UEFA Europa League final was also played in Amsterdam, with Chelsea beating Benfica 2-1.
UEFA Euro 2000, jointly hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands, came to the (then) Amsterdam ArenA. Three group matches (including the Netherlands defeating Czech Republic 1-0 and the Dutch also beating eventual winners France 3-2), a 2-0 Quater-Final win for Portugal over Turkey and a semi-final in which the Dutch lost 3-1 to Italy on penalties after a 0-0 draw. The championships will return to the stadium for UEFA Euro 2020, as the venue was chosen to host three group matches and a Round of 16 fixture.
The stadium also regularly hosts Netherlands international matches as the national team has no fixed home venue, with the first match they played their being a 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifcation match against San Marino on the 29th March 1997, in which they won 4-0.
Concerts are also regularly held at the stadium and the venue was also the regular venue of the Amsterdam Admirals between 1997 and 2007, of the now defunct NFL Europe.
AFC Ajax – It is possible to buy tickets for the majority of AFC Ajax matches if purchased in advance. Tickets usually range from €25 to €50, although they are increased for the big fixtures against Feyenoord, PSV or European matches. Some matches require you hold a club card, which you can only purchase if you live in the Netherlands but the majority should be available to purchase through the general sale.
To purchase tickets and for further information for foreign visitors, visit the official website here.
Netherlands international matches – Tickets for Dutch international matches are usually popular, with priority given first to Oranje ClubCard members (costing €17,50 per season) before being released on general sale.
Tickets usually start at around €25 and are available to purchase through the official KNVB website here.
Location & Travel
The Johan Cruyff ArenA is located in the south-east of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, in a modern office park about 10 kilometres from the centre.
Air – Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the main international airport of the Netherlands and the third busiest airport in Europe. The airport is the hub for KLM, as well as several low-cost carriers. Therefore Schiphol is extremely well connected with flights across much of Europe as well as many destinations across Asia, North America and South America.
Schiphol Airport has a major railway station underneath the passenger terminal, with trains running frequently to Amsterdam-Centraal in less than 15 minutes. It is possible to catch a train directly to the Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA train station, with a trains up to 4 times an hour that run from the airport to across the country stopping at the station. Alternatively, bus 300 runs ten times every hour during the day or night bus N30 which runs once an hour go from the airport to Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA, with a journey time of about 30 minutes.
Bicycle – With cycling being so central with Dutch and Amsterdam culture, why not consider cycling to the stadium? There are a number of bicycle sheds in the area with space for over 3,000 bicycles.
Bus – As well as bus 300 and N30 (as above), the Amsterdam ArenA is served from districts outside of the city by buses 29, 59, 60, 62, 137, 158, 174 and 175, stopping at Bijlmer.
Coach – Although it takes longer than flying or the train, it is possible to reach Amsterdam by coach and is usually much cheaper. National Express services stop at Sloterdijk in western Amsterdam, with it possible to reach Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA station from here via several train services of line 50 of the Metro.
Metro – Metro lines 50 and 54 both run to Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA station, with the 54 running from Amsterdam-Centraal or the 50 going from the south and west of the city.
Parking – There are seven car parks at the stadium, offering over 9,000 spaces. Parking cards cost 7 Euros (P-2 to P-10) and 14 Euros (P-1 – located under the stadium), these can be booked online through the official parking supplier here (in Dutch).
Park and Ride – There are several stations that offer park and ride – Veenendaal de Klomp (free parking), Breukelen (free parking) and Amsterdam Sloterdijk (€1) where you can then catch a train/metro to Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA train station.
Train – Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA train station is a 5 minute walk from the stadium, with trains from Amsterdam-Centraal taking less than 15 minutes or services from across the country stopping at the station.
Amsterdam-Centraal also has direct rail services from Basel, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Paris and a range of other European cities.
Where to stay in Amsterdam
Johan Cruyff ArenA Stadium Tour
A stadium tour is available at the Johan Cruyff Arena between 10:00 and 16:30 every 30 minutes on weekdays and every 20 minutes on weekends, excluding events days. The tour lasts about an hour and includes a visit to the Gallery of Game, where the history of Ajax is displayed. Tickets costs €16.95 for adults, €11.50 for for Children (aged 5-11), free for Children under 5 and €56.90 for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children).
To book the tour and for further information, visit the official Johan Cruyff ArenA website here.
Sportpark De Toekomst
An alternative if you are unable to watch an Ajax or Dutch international match is to see the Ajax team train, the stars of the future or the Women’s team at the team’s training complex at Sportpark De Toekomst, located a few hundred metres west of the Johan Cruyff ArenA.
AFC Ajax Training – Sometimes training sessions for AFC Ajax are open to the public for free, they usually last 90 minutes and start at 10:30. It is recommended to call De Toekomst on 0900-232-2529 to check the latest training hours.
Jong Ajax – The reserve team of AFC Ajax plays in the Eerste Divisie, the second highest tier of Dutch football but are not eligible for promotion to the Eredivise (they have won the league on several occasions). Tickets to watch their matches at De Toekomst cost €10 (€5 for club card members), with information regarding upcoming matches available on the official website here.
AFC Ajax Women – The Ajax women’s team play in the Women’s Eredivisie, with their matches free to enter at De Toekomst. Check for upcoming fixtures on the official website here.
AFC Ajax youth teams – Ajax youth team matches (except UEFA competitions) to watch the next generation of stars from one of the world’s best academies are free to enter. Matches are usually played on Saturday’s at 14:30. Information regarding upcoming matches available on the official website here.