The World’s Leading Smart ArenA

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The World’s Leading Smart ArenA

The ‘smart’ concept is often associated with cities and buildings, but there is much more that can be developed under this banner.

Amsterdam Innovation Arena is Europe’s first multifunctional stadium, rated by UEFA as one of the best stadiums in the world. It combines all aspect of cities, hotspots and venues into a powerful place to innovate, and it aims to become the leader for the creation and introduction of new unique smart applications in the field of sustainability, safety and customer experience.

The city of Amsterdam hosted the Olympic games in 1992 and after that experience they realised they needed a new venue for football matches, concerts and events, so in 1996 they officially opened the ArenA.

After 20 years and 50M Euro of investments in improvements, it is now the world’s leading smart playground: it can host more than 50,000 people during matches and 68,000 during concerts, it has 500 parking spots available to visitors and a retractable roof.

The team at the Amsterdam Innovation Arena believe that collaborating with partners can help create innovation, and for this reason it started collaborating with companies such as Microsoft, TNO, KPMG, Nissan, Philips Lighting, Huawei, Amsterdam Smart City and the municipality of Amsterdam. They want to share data with neighbours, other stadiums, cities and municipalities, to inspire them by showing that their solution is highly scalable and can be delivered all around the world.

‘We are no longer happy with the standard solution from the past. We want a new solution for the future’ this is what Henk Markerink, CEO of Amsterdam Innovation Arena, thinks about the future of the Netherland’s largest and most innovative stadium.

This is how the architects predict the Innovation Arena will look like in 2020.

The ArenA is currently getting ready for the UEFA Euro 2020. The projected cost of the renovation is 60M Euro, and it will include projects across different areas of interest.


  • The new façade will incorporate solar panels to generate energy, and will be able to run the whole stadium for 3-4 hours on just batteries that will recharge again thanks to the solar panels.
  • Within this sustainable energy project, they are also developing a partnership with local neighbour businesses like IKEA and ING Bank, who also have solar panels, to store all the power together and exchange it when they need it the most.
  • The partnership with Philips Lighting led to the change of all the lighting to LED, to reduce costs and optimise operations.

Safety and Security

  • A new shell will be created around the whole stadium, to widen the concourse behind the tribunes and give fans more space;
  • A new technology for crowd management will make the stadium environment safer and more secure.

Customer Journey/Mobility

  • They are currently looking for technologies that will allow them to help cars and people navigate the environment and improve the flow in and out of the stadium.
  • Thanks to the architectural lighting installed by Philips, fans can be easily guided to seats, restaurants and exits around the venue.

Fan Experience

  • All the old seats will be replaced, to allow fan to enjoy the experience more.
  • More space will be created on the first and second ring, to allow for better facilities like toilets, catering and merchandising.
  • The dynamic lighting helps cameras capture the action and give spectators a clear view of the actions on the field.
  • Digital connectivity is indeed part of the fan experience, and allowing internet connected systems in the environment, will also enable the gathering of huge amount of data that can be later used and analysed for future operations.

 Facilities Management

  • Technology is also being implemented to move towards a more data-driven operation programme. Sensors are being installed around the venue to signal, for example, when toilets need to be cleaned, or need maintenance.

As we can see, the ArenA has a lot of projects in place and it’s going from being process driven, to data driven, integrating multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment.

The renovation started only a couple of years ago, and the aim is to complete the East Stand before the end of 2017, the North Stand by summer 2018, the South Stand by summer 2019, and the West Stand right before summer 2020, when the UEFA Euro will take place. So far, we can say that in theory it all sound amazing, but we’ll have to wait a little bit more to actually see the first results.

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