Dutch Language Blog

Amsterdam ArenA – Largest Venue With Roof in Europe! Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in Culture, Dutch Vocabulary

I visited the Amsterdam ArenA last week, and joined a guided tour. It is the stadium of the Dutch Eredivisie (“Honor Division”, the Dutch Football Premier League) club AFC Ajax. But it is more than that – much more. What? Read on…

The largest stadion of the Netherlands

The Amsterdam ArenA seats more than 53,000 people, making it the largest stadion (stadium) of the Netherlands. It was opened in 1996 by former Koningin (Queen) Beatrix, and first voetbalwedstrijden (football / soccer matches) were played. But the home to Ajax has a trick to it. It is much more than a voetbalstadion – it is the largest event venue with a roof in Europe. Within 18 minutes, the roof of the stadion can be closed. This opens a world of possibilities!

The first optredens (gigs) by famous artists like Michael Jackson were organized there. The stadion can be transformed into a huge event area for all kinds of events, including conferences, exhibitions, other sports…

An optreden by De Toppers, a Dutch band that draws a lot of people!

An optreden by De Toppers, a Dutch band that draws a lot of people!

Because it can be used as an entertainment venue of which the roof can be closed completely, it is the largest venue with a roof in Europe! (At least, so they claim)

After such an event, the grass needs to be replaced. The grass is grown in Limburg, in the southernmost province of the Netherlands. This must be high quality grass, because it is used by many voetbalclubs (soccer clubs) all over Europe.

De kleedkamers

The kleedkamers (locker rooms) in the stadium couldn’t be more different. While the one for the thuisclub (home club) Ajax is luxe (luxurious), the one for the uitclub (away club) is saai (boring), simpel (simple) and kleurloos (colorless). If you thought that the only advantage for the home club is on the grass, you are wrong!


The kleedkamer for the uitclub…

... and the kleedkamer for the thuisclub Ajax!

… and the kleedkamer for the thuisclub Ajax!

The thuisclub has nice seats, one for each player, with each a locker and power outlet to charge their devices. The uitclub has wooden seats, and some power outlets here and there.

Also the coach of the thuisclub has a huge advantage over his counterpart. The thuisclub has a gigantic touchscreen TV for all tactical overwegingen (deliberations) before the wedstrijd (match) and during the pauze (break). The coach of the uitclub only has a meager whiteboard with a pen!

The Touchscreen TV of the Ajax coach!

The Touchscreen TV of the Ajax coach!

The uitclub has only 10 showers at its disposal, whereas the thuisclub has 11 showers. We were not even allowed to see the showers and bathroom area of the thuisclub!

De kleuren


The stadion. Notice the different colors?

The kleuren (colors) of Ajax are rood (red) and wit (white). Yet the stadion seats have many different colors: rood, wit, blauw (blue), groen (green), and geel (yellow). Why? 

When the stadium was built, it was actually an Olympic stadium, so the seats had the Olympic colors. The club is planning on changing them all to rood and wit – but changing tens of thousands of seats is quite an ordeal. There are rumors that they want to get it done before the game that will be played in the stadion during the Europees Kampioenschap (European Championship) in 2020. Let’s see!

1972: The Big Five


1971/72 was the most successful seizoen (season) of Ajax. With legendary players like Sjaak Swart (also known as “Mr Ajax”) and Johan Cruijff, the team was unbeatable. They won the “Big Five”: They became kampioen (champion) in the Eredivisie (Honor Division, the First League in Dutch Football), the KNVB Beker (KNVB Cup – Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (Royal Dutch Football Federation)), the Europacup I (European Cup I, now the UEFA Champion’s League), and then won the overall Europacup, and the Wereldbeker (Intercontinental Cup). In the entire season, they only lost one game! This incredible season is honored in the stadion with cool murals like on the picture above.

Are you a fan of voetbal? Would you like to visit this stadion? Have you visited a stadion similar to this one? Let me know in the comments below!


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. Ann McCloskey:

    I lived in the Netherlands for a year, July 1972-July 1973, and there was a simple but popular song then titled “Ajax heeft de wereld cup!” I can still sing it today.