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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Enschede is a University City located in the east of the Netherlands close to the border with Germany, and may be most famous for the Fireworks Disaster of May 2000. The city is home to the De Grolsch Veste Stadium where local club F.C. Twente play in the Eredivisie league. The stadium is named after the club's sponsor, Grolsch the Brewery located in the city.
There is an all seated capacity of 24,000. The stadium was built in 1998 and is located in the Science and Business Park close to the University of Twente. It is expected that the Stadium capacity will be increased to 32,000 in the summer of 2011. The design of the stadium is such that this can be achieved without demolishing any of the stands.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Upon arrival at the stadium there is a wide selection of food and drink available on the stadium concourse. Here you will find the normal selection of Hot Dogs, Burgers and Fries reasonably priced and of good quality. A club bar is located under the stand adjacent to the club shop. Directly across from the stadium is a cinema complex containing a handful of restaurants and bars. Meals in any of the bars are priced between 6 and 14 Euro and beer sells for 2 Euro. Once inside the stadium you will need to pre purchase plastic tokens to buy food and drink from the kiosks. A hot dog can be purchased for 3 Euro.
I attended the KNVB Cup Semi Final against Utrecht and the near full stadium produced an electric atmosphere. The clubs selection of drummers and bugle players initiate the chanting from behind the goal to the left of the main stand, so avoid this part of the stadium if you're looking to concentrate on the game. The closed in corners of the stadium ensure that the singing vibrates around the rest of the stadium.
Situated a ten minute drive outside of the city centre, the stadium neighbourhood is a mixture of new and old development. Most of the surrounding houses appear to be student residences and although an hour can be passed in the Cinema Complex most of the bars and eating houses are located in the area of the Old Market Square in the City centre.
The club is currently experiencing the most successful period in its history. Following the appointment of Ex England manager Steve McLaren in 2008 the club finished runners up and then champions the following season whilst at the same time becoming eligible for entry to the Champions League. Following the departure of McLaren to Wolfsburg (where he has since been sacked) the club has gone on to reach the KNVB Cup Final and the last 16 of the Europa Cup.
The stadium is easily reached by car using the A1 or A35 motorways. Parking is available in the adjoining side streets if you do not want to get caught in the slow exit from the official car parks. Alternatively the train, which takes less than ten minutes from the City Centre, halts at the specially designed Stadium Station.
The first thing to remember if you intend to visit a top level stadium in the Netherlands on a game day is that you will need a club membership card. These cost about 6 Euro for the season and the card and your ticket both need to be swiped to gain entry to the stadium. However this can sometimes be avoided by contacting the club in advance and explaining that you only intend to be here for the one game. On this occasion, the club took a copy of my passport and I was just required to produce the passport and my ticket to enter the stadium. Ticket prices ranged from 11 to 32 Euro and a 25 Euro ticket bought me a good seat in the middle of the Main Stand.
There is an excellent club shop selling a variety of souvenirs located near to the Main Reception. These range from replica team strips to books and key rings at the lower end of the market. In addition there are also a number of souvenir stalls as you enter the stadium complex from the railway station. A very small but novel match day programme sells for 1 Euro and is a regular issue for each home game.
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