Whenever I travel I am often amazed at the number of people who go to such a great effort to see the ancient venues where men used to do battle in a sporting arena and yet ignore the modern day equivalent. The Colosseum in Rome is a fantastic attraction and one in which the modern day gladiatorial battles of its day were fought in front of crowds of 80,000 or so fans. We can stand in the Colosseum and try to imagine how the events would have unfolded and I highly recommend a visit to this attraction if you ever visit Rome. But what about also ensuring that when you travel that you also take the opportunity to view in real-time now, what others will likely be enjoying in another 2000 years time. The modern sports stadium tend to be ground-breaking in their design and architecture, using the latest technological developments and many of these stadia have organised tours. One such stadium is Amsterdam Arena which is home to one of the most popular football teams in Holland, Ajax.
I have visited many stadiums over the years and Amsterdam Arena for me is one of the most interesting given the way in which technology is used in the stadium and the image above shows the advanced technology they use for growing the grass. A clever all-in one style system which uses heating lamps, small wind turbines and a watering system, site over the playing surface and sculpts the perfect playing surface.
Sit in the most expensive seats, in one of the blue leather seats with a great view of the pitch, and you will also find that you are in sat in a temperature controlled zone. No matter what the external temperature is, whether it be in summer of winter, as a spectator you will sat in the same regulated temperature, the air pumped around the chairs. The seats though are not for the poorer of us supporters!
Amsterdam Arena also has a retractable, moveable roof and this makes the stadium more versatile in its use all year round. With over 50,000 seats the stadium is set up to be used for a variety of sports and which perhaps are needed (in order to pay the £100+ million it cost to build the stadium over a 3 year period.
Designed by Rob Schuurman, the stadium is compact but with its 50,000 plus capacity, the arena generates a powerful atmosphere at games and you can also get a sense of this on the guided tours.
The tours take place seven times a day but do not occur every day and every week. Matches, concerts and other events mean that the stadium tours are not a 7 day a week affair. The best way to check if to visit the stadium tour calendar and check the specific dates of availability.
In addition to a standard stadium group tour (you can normally just turn up and buy tickets on the day from the box office, as I did) you can also choose the option of match day tours (includes a match ticket and meal) or if taking youngsters such as your local boys club, go on one of their specialised kids tours.
The arena can be matched directly on the Amsterdam train system. If you are staying in the centre of Amsterdam then just head to Amsterdam Central Station and catch the train to Bijlmer ArenA train station. You will then esily see signs which guide you the 5 minutes walk to the football stadium. The journey from Centraal to the stadium should take you roughly 14 minutes.
If you decide to walk or to drive to the stadium, this Google Map below might be of help:
You can learn more by visiting these sites: