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Amsterdam ArenA

Amsterdam Arena (often stylized as Amsterdam ArenA) is a stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The stadium was built from 1993 to 1996 at a cost of €140 million, and was officially opened on 14 August 1996. It has been used for association football, American football, concerts, and other events. The stadium has a retractable roof combined with a grass surface. It has a capacity of 52,960 seats during football matches and 68,000 places during concerts if a centre-stage setup is used ; for end-stage concerts, the capacity is 50,000, and for concerts where the stage is located in the east side of the stadium, the capacity is 35,000. It held UEFA five-star stadium status which was superseded by a new system of classification.

Amsterdam was one of six cities that bid to host the 1992 Summer Olympics. In 1986, a new Olympic stadium was designed, with a football field and an athletics track. It was to be built in the area of Strandvliet in Amsterdam Zuidoost. After Amsterdam lost the bid to Barcelona in October 1986, the plans for the new stadium were abandoned. In 1987, the Stichting Amsterdam Sportstad (English: "Amsterdam Sports City Foundation") was established, which made new plans for a sports stadium with an all-seated capacity of 55,000. In 1990, a new design was made based on both previous designs, with a football field, an athletics track, and completely covered by a roof. By this time, AFC Ajax needed a new stadium, because their old stadium, De Meer, no longer had sufficient capacity.

Once more, the design was altered – the athletics track was removed, the capacity was reduced to 50,000 seats, and the fixed roof was replaced by a retractable roof. In 1992, the Government of Amsterdam authorised the plans for the stadium with a Transferium where people could transfer from their car to various forms of public transportation. In 1993, the Government of Amsterdam changed the development plan of the location and gave a permit to build the stadium

The first pile of the deep foundation of the stadium was placed on 26 November 1993. The construction work, undertaken by Ballast Nedam and Royal BAM Group,[1] would take almost three years. The highest point of the building was reached on 24 February 1995, after the roof construction was raised. The fly-over from the public road to the parking facilities was opened on 13 March 1996. The Amsterdam ArenA received 180,000 visitors during the construction work, until the stadium was closed from 1 July 1996 until the opening ceremony. The Amsterdam ArenA was officially opened on 14 August 1996 by Queen Beatrix.

The Queen opened the Amsterdam ArenA by making a curtain fall inside the stadium. This revealed the world's largest painting De Zee (English: The Sea) of 80 × 126 metres. Two-dimensional ships were placed on the sea representing the clubs in the Eredivisie. Tina Turner opened the stadium with three concerts with 160.000 people in the arena, from her world breaking Wildest Dreams Tour. Trijntje Oosterhuis sang the hymn De Zee, composed for the opening ceremony by John Ewbank. An eight-day torch relay with 375 runners over 1400 kilometer through the Netherlands reached the stadium. The first runner was Johan Cruijff starting in the old stadium De Meer, the last runner was Frank Rijkaard arriving in the new stadium Amsterdam ArenA. After the grass was revealed and the roof opened, an inaugural football match was played between AFC Ajax and Milan.

The construction of the Amsterdam ArenA cost €140 million.

The stadium combines a retractable roof with a grass surface. This caused some problems in the beginning: the grass rolls would not grow in the shade of the open roof and had to be replaced up to four times a year.
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