World of Ajax Tours

  ArenA Boulevard 1 ,   Zuidoost          (+31) 203 11 13 36     more than a year ago
If you're like many of Amsterdam's visitors, a ticket to an Ajax match would be at the top of your wish list of things to do in the Dutch capital. Unfortunately, this is seldom an option as games sell out quickly and the team probably didn't consult you before scheduling its season. In that case, a visit to the Arena, the hallowed home of the players in red and white, might be a good alternative.

You can join a guided tour of the stadium in South East five times each day after you've paid the €14.50 fee, which is, of course, much cheaper than a ticket to an actual match. Although the district once made headlines for its relatively high crime rates, all this is now a thing of the past. These days Zuidoost is one of the city's most lively districts. The area around the Arena in particular, has been given a great boost with the arrival of several large chain stores and shopping centres.

This neighbourhood is also crucial to the Dutch music scene since the Ziggo Dome, a cutting edge concert venue, was completed, but we digress. Back to football! The stadium is easily reached by metro or train from the Central Station. The super modern Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena station is worth a visit itself. From there it's only a few minutes' walk to the massive concrete monster, which was the first stadium in Holland to have a sliding, retractable roof. Prior to each game, the management consults weather reports and decides whether or not to open the stadium to the elements.

According to our guide Jim, the colossal stadium's roof can be opened in as little as 18 minutes. This chatty lad was as Dutch as can be, with red cheeks and a blond mop of hair. His genuine Amsterdam accent also betrays the fact that he is a so-called 'boy of the club'. During games, he and his mates can be found in section 410, the stand for the younger fans. The F-side is another notorious area of the arena that's traditionally occupied by die-hard fans.

But the suspense lasts a little longer as we were shown a short, informative film about Holland's most famous club. Then we all headed over to the players' tunnel where each person can almost feel what it's like to walk out onto the pitch and hear the roar of tens of thousands of screaming fans. From here you can take a look at the team's dugout and even touch the grass of this hallowed ground. If you're lucky and the players aren't training that day you'll also be lead into their locker room. You're next stop will be at the so-called Mixed Zone. After each match the two trainers give their opinions and comments about the course of the game and the result here. You'll probably also notice that the visiting team's trainer sits closest to the exit. The psychological message is clear.

When we took the tour the number of foreign visitors was surprising. In fact, the group was as diverse as the nationalities that play for Ajax. A quick check revealed that many of our fellow tourists hailed from South America and Asia, as well as nine different European countries. Naturally, even some Yanks from across the pond were in attendance. But none of this could phase our guide Tim. It's just another day at work for him. He confided in us that on some days he doesn't even need to speak Dutch, as the groups consist entirely of foreign fans. English is spoken during the tour, which can lead to amusing scenes when for example someone who can barely speak the language themselves, attempts to translate Tim's words to bewildered friends.

The same scenario is also played out by the Spaniards, Italians, French and Portuguese. There's always someone in the group who feels it's his duty to translate the guide's stream of words into his compatriot's language. But anyone can actually avoid all of this by simply downloading the Ajax Tour app to their smart phone. Then you'll have the whole history of the famous club in the palm of your hand.

Obviously, the climax of the tour is a visit to the actual stadium. Even if you're not a fan, it's still a brilliant feeling to set foot in the ArenA, even when it's empty. At full capacity, 53,052 supporters sing, scream and yell from their brightly coloured seats.
About an hour later you're back where you started, and the tour predictably ends at the club shop where you can express your newly acquired love for Ajax by purchasing lots of red and white souvenirs.

Price/Additional Info

Open 11:00 - 16:30 (except on event days). Admission: adults €14.50, children 5 - 12 years €9.50. Take metro line 54 from the Central Station to the Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena stop and then follow signs to Main Entrance E.


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