The Dutch Olympic Stadium: When was it used and what is it now?

The Dutch Olympic Stadium: When was it used and what is it now?

No doubt you have passed by the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam and admired the five Olympic rings on the façade with the text Citius, Altius, Fortius. Or maybe you have just straight up wondered what they use the stadium for and when the last Olympic Games were held there.

This thought was probably fleeting and you never got round to Googling the answers. Well, not to worry, we have found them for you.

Olympic games in Amsterdam

The Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam was originally built on the then edge of Amsterdam for the 1928 Olympic Games and was designed by architect Jan Wils. The design was a great example of Amsterdam School architecture and it even won an Olympic gold medal. It features steel framing for the windows and doors and 2.000.000 bricks. 

At first, the stadium had space for 31.600 people, but this was increased to 64.000 in 1937, when the second concrete ring was added. In 1987, the stadium was listed as a national monument, this was after the city had declared plans to tear the stadium down. The second ring was removed during renovations, which began in 1996.

Above the entrance of the Olympic Stadium, you can see the five coloured Olympic rings and just below, the text Citius, Altius, Fortius, which means quicker, higher, stronger. On the walls of the entrance, you can also find the names of all the Dutch Olympic heroes.

After its renovation, the Olympic Stadium was opened by the then Prince of Orange, Willem-Alexander in the year 2000. Currently, the stadium has 22.500 seats.

The Dutch architect, Jan Wils, was also responsible for introducing the Olympic flame we all know and love today. The flame was originally meant to be smoke during the daytime and a flame in the evening / night, so as to increase visibility. It is thus in Amsterdam that the first ever Olympic flame was lit. The tall tower, called the Marathon tower, housed this epic flame.

The Dutch Olympic Stadium now

After the Olympic Games of 1928, the Olympic Stadium has been host to a whole range of sports and activities. AFC Ajax often used the stadium for European home-matches, until the completion of the Amsterdam ArenA stadium in 1996, and premiership league matches were also played there against teams such as PSV and Feyenoord.

The stadium was also used by the American football team, Amsterdam Admirals, in 1996 and 1997 for their home games. They even played their last ever game there, which they won, in 2007.  The Amsterdam Marathon’s start and finish has been at the Olympic Stadium since the year 2000 and this continues to be the case. The European Athletic Championships were also held there in 2016.

Since 2014, every year in which there is a Winter Olympics, The “Coolest Rink in the Netherlands” – a 400-metre ice rink for recreational skaters as well as athletes is set up in the stadium and events such as the Dutch All-round Skating Championships are held. In 2018, the closing event of the rink will be the ISU All-round World Skating Championships.

So, now you know, the Dutch Olympic Stadium is not only a historical and national monument with a great deal of history, it is also a sporting palace where events still take place to this day. Next time you pass by, you can admire it with the knowledge that it was, and still is, home to more than just the Olympic flame.

If you want to know more about the Olympic Stadium in the Netherlands, watch this video (Dutch with English subtitles):

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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