Johan Cruijff ArenA (formerly Amsterdam ArenA) is the home of AFC Ajax football club and is the largest sporting stadium in the Netherlands. Located at the south-eastern part of the city the stadium is open to the public for various guided tours.
The Johan Cruijff ArenA hosts Ajax home games as well as occasional Netherlands football internationals and big concert/dance events.
The Stadium: The ArenA was completed in 1996 and has a retractable roof which can be closed during bad weather. The total capacity (all-seater) is 56,120 for football matches and up to 71,000 for concerts.
Music concerts from the likes of artists Michael Jackson, U2, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Ed Sheeran and Robbie Williams have been held.
The ArenA was used for 5 matches during the Euro 2000 tournament including the Netherlands-Italy semi-final; it has also hosted the UEFA Champions League final of 1998 and the UEFA Europa League final of 2013. The stadium was recently refurbished and hosted 4 matches in June 2021 as part of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
In 2018, the stadium was renamed Johan Cruijff ArenA in honour of the legendary Ajax and Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff (1947-2016). There is a bronze statue of Johan Cruijff near the main entrance, just outside of the Ajax store. It was designed by artist Hans Jouta and was unveiled in 2020.
The Club: AFC Ajax is the most famous and successful Dutch club having won the European Cup / UEFA Champions League 4 times and the Dutch Eredivisie 35 times. Their peak years came during the early 1970s.
Ajax’s form has improved of late with Eredivisie title wins in 2018-19 and 2020-21 (the 2019-20 season was abandoned). Ajax has an average attendance of around 50,000 at the ArenA.
Watching Events: Try to see a game of the Netherlands Football team (Nederlands-elftal) if at all possible. The Dutch fans adorned in orange are one of the most colourful sights in world football. The Dutch national side has a rich footballing history including World Cup runners-up in 1974/1978/2010 and winning the 1988 European Championship with Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten.
Not all international home games are played in Amsterdam – the occasional game is also played at Rotterdam’s De Kuip and the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven – all are easily accessible via public transport.
Tickets are available online from the Dutch FA (KNVB) – the big games do sell out so buy your tickets well in advance. You could consider getting tickets for friendly matches – these are not so popular and are cheaper – priced from around €30.
Visitors can also attend Ajax home games by buying a package directly from Ajax, with prices from around €35.
During the football season you may be able to watch Ajax in daily training for free. The training pitch (at the De Toekomst sport complex) is found by walking a few hundred metres west past the Ziggo Dome, over the foot bridge and across the car park. Training sessions normally start at 1030, lasting 90 minutes – note, some sessions are closed to the public.
Ajax Women and Ajax Youth teams also play matches at De Toekomst. Entrance is free. To double check hours call De Toekomst on 0900-232-2529.
The area around the ArenA also contains a multiscreen Pathé cinema complex, the AFAS Live and Ziggo Dome (concert halls), the Woonmall Villa Arena (furniture mall) and a number of large stores such as Decathlon / Perry Sport (sporting goods), Prenatal (baby gear) and MediaMarkt (big electronic retailer).
There is an official Ajax Fan Shop selling club merchandise at the stadium (Arena Boulevard 1-3).
Convenient hotels for the Bijlmer ArenA area are: Jaz Amsterdam, Hampton by Hilton (these 2 are closest to the stadium) and not far away at all are the Holiday Inn ArenA Towers, Holiday Inn Express ArenA Towers and the Courtyard by Marriott
Johan Cruijff ArenA Stadium Tour Essential Info
The Johan Cruijff ArenA Stadium tour (75 minutes, from main entrance E) takes you around the stadium – either by a guide or a self-guided tour. It includes walking through the tunnel to see the pitch, the dug-outs and the main stand. You also get to see the mixed zone, press room and Ajax Gallery of Fame. The dressing rooms are accessible when Ajax are not playing.
Self-guided tours run at weekends and public holidays. An audio guide is available via app in 6 languages – Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
|Opening Times||Daily 0930-1630. Can be closed on game days and special events. No tours 1-17 July 2022.|
|Admission Prices (2022)||€18 for adults, €13 for children 5-12. FREE entry to children 0-4 and Iamsterdam City Card holders.|
Or consider booking the 2 hour ArenA VIP tour which gives access to more exclusive areas of the stadium. This costs €45 for adults and €25 for children 5-12.
You can order the Iamsterdam City Card online here which includes entrance to attractions and transport around Amsterdam.
|Getting There||Johan Cruijff ArenA is located in Amsterdam Zuidoost (south-east) and is very close to Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA train and metro station. Take metro line 54 from Amsterdam Central / Amstel stations or line 50 from Amsterdam Zuid / RAI / Sloterdijk stations. From Amsterdam Central you can also travel by NS Sprinter trains (15 minutes).|
From Amsterdam Schiphol airport there are direct Intercity trains running 4x hourly to Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA station.
Johan Cruijff ArenA, ArenA Boulevard 1, Main Entrance E, 1101 AX Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 311 1333, johancruijffarena.nl
Last updated 30 March 2022. This article was first published in 2008 and has been regularly updated.