Amsterdam ArenA presents new development plans for 2020

Amsterdam ArenA is preparing for a large-scale renovation project that will result in significant quality and service improvements for stadium visitors. The lower tier and upper tier concourses will be enlarged. Particularly the fans seated in the upper tier will benefit from the improvements. In addition, the stadium will undergo a makeover in appearance, as the shape of the Amsterdam ArenA will change from concave to convex. This will be the largest renovation project since the official opening in 1996.

Continuous improvement is a goal that the Amsterdam ArenA and Ajax share in common. All of their efforts have always been and will always be dedicated to the purpose of ensuring that fans have the best stadium experience possible. Over the past decade, some progress has been made towards achieving this goal by means of the installation of escalators (2005), the construction of a new main building (2013), the rollout of a WiFi and 4G network (2014) and, partly as a result of the filling up of the moats by the long sides, expansion of the number of seats (2013 and 2015) to a capacity of over 53,000. In the next few years, investments will be made towards further quality improvement as ambitious plans unfold in the new programme entitled: Plan 2020.

Upper tier concourse
UEFA has chosen the ArenA to host four matches in the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship. In the time leading up to UEFA Euro 2020, the concourse at level 7, which is behind the upper tier of the stadium, will be upgraded extensively. This concourse will be widened to three times its original width, giving fans a lot more accommodation space as well as introducing more natural light and a climatized environment. Furthermore, additional lifts, toilets, concessions and escalators will be installed. Although the number of seats in the ArenA will remain the same, the 28,000 fans seated in the upper tier will benefit greatly from these adjustments in terms of convenience and comfort.

From a concave to a convex shape
Enlarging the concourses will result in a complete metamorphosis of the ArenA, transforming the stadium from a concave to a convex shape. In addition, a new facade will wrap around the stadium, adding to the dramatics of its metamorphosis. The entire renovation project is designed to introduce as many extra sustainable and innovative measures as possible. The new facade will be equipped with integrated photovoltaic cells, for instance, and rainwater will be harvested and used to flush the toilets. Indoor lighting will be restricted to LED lamps exclusively.

Positive reaction from Ajax
The board of directors of Amsterdam ArenA has recently presented the design to the board of directors of Ajax. The club’s management responded with a positive reaction. On behalf of the board of directors of Ajax, Edwin van der Sar stated that they are looking forward to the improvements: ‘The plans of the ArenA are in close alignment with Ajax’s views. They are innovative and ambitious, as well as functional. As a club and as a stadium, we need to keep up with progress. With these adjustments, the ArenA will be ahead of the game again, just like it was at the time of the opening in 1996. That is why our first impression is positive.’

New look and feel
Henk Markerink, CEO of the Amsterdam ArenA, is pleased with these new steps towards quality and service improvement. ‘The ArenA permanently invests in its future. This stadium renovation offers us the opportunity to provide the best possible quality and service to our visitors. We currently have 2,800 m2 of concourse space available for 28,000 visitors in the upper tier, which leaves hardly any space to accommodate comfortably. The ingress and egress of visitors could be more optimized as well. Over the next few years, we will improve this situation dramatically. Starting from 2020, the ArenA will be going strong for another 25 years.’

Planning
Preparations will be completed during the final quarter of 2015. This includes permit applications and coordination with stakeholders in the surroundings as well as partners of the ArenA, such as Ajax and other lessees, the certificate holders, the municipality, and emergency services. The renovation will commence in the first quarter of 2016 and will be executed in three phases. Initially, the east side of the stadium will be renovated (phase 1), followed by the south side and, lastly, the north side (phases 2 and 3). Each construction phase will take about a year, so that the entire project is expected to be completed by 2020.