Amsterdam ArenA becomes Johan Cruijff ArenA

From 1996 till 2017 the name of this football stadium was Amsterdam ArenA. After a long period of discussion the Amsterdam ArenA is renamed to the Johan Cruijff ArenA. This decision was made public on the 25th of April 2017, supposed to be 70th birthday of Johan Cruijff.

Johan Cruyff was born in 1947 in Betondorp, Amsterdam. During his childhood Cruyff played for AFC Ajax, the football team of Amsterdam from  1959 till 1964. Some years later he played in the first team from 1964 till 1973. After a succesful career in foreign countries, Cruyff came back to Amsterdam to play for AFC Ajax. Later he became trainer of the first team of AFC Ajax. After that he still kept tight relations with Ajax and is still considered one of the most influencing and best Football player at all times. For the Dutch, Johan is a hero. Johan Cruyff died in 2016 due to lung cancer.

The Amsterdam ArenA

The ArenA was opened by our Queen Beatrix in 1996. After the opening ceremony Ajax, the football club of Amsterdam, played a friendly match against AC Milan. Ajax lost the match with 0-3 in their brand new stadium.

Since the opening in 1996 the Amsterdam ArenA makes use of leftover city heat to heat the stadium. Since 2015 the ArenA became a CO2 neutral stadium. The stadium is completely powered by city heat in combination with the latest technology in sun panels.


On the 18th of August 1996 first edition of the Johan Cruyff Scale was played in the Amsterdam ArenA. The match was between Dutch national winner AFC Ajax and cup winner PSV. This match is the start of a new football competition every year. It takes place in July or August.

On the 21st of August 1996 the first official Dutch national league match was played. This match was between AFC Ajax and NAC Breda. The first goal in the stadium considering the first Dutch national league was made by Kiki Musampa.

On the 20th of May 1998 the Champions League Final between Juventus and Real Madrid was held in the Amsterdam ArenA. Real Madrid won this match with 1 -0. In this final former AFC Ajax players Clarence Seedorf (left) and Edgar Davids (right) played against each other.


Except a football stadium, the ArenA is also a concerthall.

  • Michael Jackson, The King of Pop, gave three sold out concerts in the ArenA. When he came to Amsterdam to held one of his ‘History World Tour’ concerts, tickets were sold out within 3 hours.
  • In 2001 Bon Jovi gave 2 concerts as part of his ‘One Wild Night Tour’.
  • David Bowie gave a concert in the Amsterdam ArenA in 2004. Unfortunately this concert was not sold out. Next to songs of his album he sung classics like ‘Rebel Rebel’ and ‘Under Pressure’

Do you want to see a concert in the ArenA? On the 29th and 30th of July U2 gives a concert as part of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. On the 30th of September the old legends of The Rolling Stones come to the ArenA as part of their European Tour.

Besides concerts there are also electronic music festivals taking place in the ArenA. One of the most famous electronic music festivals is Sensation. A Dutch concept that is exported all over the world. Over 40.000 people dance all night and enjoy the beats and an awesome lightshow in the ArenA!

Do you want to see the Johan Cruyff Arena this with your own eyes? Take a look behind the scenes of Ajax Amsterdam and hear everything about the club and the stadium during a 75-minute guided tour through the ArenA. During the tour you will feel the grass, walk through the changing rooms of Johan Cruijff and see which stars originate from Ajax. Buy you tickets HERE!

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