Vitesse Arnhem - The Gelredome - Capacity: 29,600 All Seater
The Stadium – The Gelredome Batavierenweg 25, Arnhem 6800 The Gelredome opened its doors to Europe in a blaze of glory in 1998. The stadium was the first of its kind to feature a pitch that could be moved completely outside the arena area, by means of the end stand lifting up and the pitch being moved out on rollers. The stadium was also one of the first in the world to use smart card technology to create a cash free environment inside the stadium. Instead fans have to purchase a smart card in various denominations. It has also been the model used by a number of other stadiums for its next generation technology such as the retractable pitch (Gelsenkirchen), Proximity Card access (Manchester City) and the closable roof (Millennium Stadium Cardiff).
The stadium hosted a number of games during the 2000 European Championships including Italy versus Turkey, Romania versus Portugal and Slovenia versus Norway. It has been rightly awarded a UEFA 4 star status meaning it can host UEFA Cup finals, although with a capacity of just 29,600 it is unlikely to be considered when there are so many other excellent stadiums in Europe with significantly bigger capacities. The stadium has occasionally been used for international matches, and has also hosted some impressive music acts such as U2, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna. The stadium will also a number of games in the U21’s European Championships in June 2007 including England’s games versus Czech Republic and Italy as well as one of the Semi-Finals.
Who Plays There? - Vitesse Arnhem - http://www.vitesse.nl Vitesse Arnhem were for a period in the late 1990’s and early part of this century seen as a real threat to the big 3 of Dutch football. With an ambitious and rich chairman Karel Aalbers guiding the club from the depths of the lower leagues to the Eredivisie in 1989. After top five finishes in every season from 1989 until 2000 (with one exception in 1995 when they finished 6th), the club went from strength to strength. Off the field the chairman’s ambitions materialised in one of the most futuristic stadiums in Europe, when the Gelredome opened in time to host matched in Euro 2000.
The club were formed in 1892 originally as a cricket team. While they never had the success of their rivals PSV, Feyenoord, Ajax or even NEC, the club can still count on having ex-players such as Roy Makaay, Sander Westerveld and Pierre van Hooijdonk. They bounced between the top two divisions for years until the 1980’s when they teetered on the edge of bankruptcy until Aalbers took over in 1984. The rosy outlook all changed in 2003 when it was announced that Aalbers had been involved in a massive tax fraud and he was forced to relinquish control of the club to the city council.
The club was forced to sell some of its key players, and since they have struggled on the field. Last season’s 7th place finish was made all the more remarkable by the financial plight, although it does seem a long way back from the regular 4th place finishes and UEFA Cup spots of the early part of this decade. The new coach for this season was Aad de Mos who has replaced the unpopular Edward Sturing. However, he hasn’t yet found the right combination for the team and they languish firmly in mid-table, too close to the relegation zone for the comfort of the fans.
How to get to the Gelredome If you are coming by car then the easiest approach to the stadium is via the A325 motorway that ends at the roundabout where the stadium is located. There is plenty of parking around the stadium, both with the official car parks and the retail parks. If you are coming to Arnhem by train, then catch one of the stadium special buses that run from outside the station to Batavierenweg outside the stadium. After the match, the special buses line the road here to take fans back to the station.
To get a better view of the whole region, and who plays where then go to Footiemap.com to access their superb European Football map site.
How to get a ticket for the Gelredome With crowds averaging just 18,000 and a ground holding nearly 30,000, tickets in theory are not in short supply. However, bear in mind that in order to buy a ticket for any Dutch match you need to have a Club Card. Unlike PSV and Feyenoord, Vitesse do not have a scheme allowing foreign nationals to purchase tickets. Your best bet is to contact the club in advance of your trip by email at email@example.com or by calling +31 28 880 7337.
Around the Gelredome The stadium is located to the south of the town centre, across one of the infamous bridges across the River Neder. The area around the stadium has been redeveloped significantly since 1998, and now has a number of retail parks and fast food restaurants. Consequently there are very few bars and places to drink around the ground – so best stick to the city centre.
Getting around Arnhem is a small town and you will not need to use public transport to reach any major sights on anything apart from local buses, which charge €1.10 for a single journey.
Arnhem is located at the corner of the triangle of lowlands that run from Rotterdam and Amsterdam in the west of the Netherlands. It sits astride the River Neder, which is a tributary of the River Rhine. The nearest airport by distance is Amsterdam’s Schiphol, although both Rotterdam and Dusseldorf are not much further away.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is one of the busiest in the world. It is located around 20 minutes south of the city centre and can be reached by train from Central Station or by bus. From Schiphol airport you can get a train to Arnhem from the station underneath the central terminal, changing in Utrecht. The journey time is around 1hour 45mins including the wait at Utrecht.