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Official Review by Sander Kolsloot, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
As a younger boy in my teenage years, I was on holiday in the southern part of The Netherlands. At that time, money was still flourishing in the Dutch economy and every small football club in the country had dreams of building bigger stadiums and standing in the Champions League final one day in the near future. Examples of that building spree were the building of a new stadium Sittard, the building of the new Twente stadium in Enschede and also the rise of a new entertainment venue on the outskirts of Kerkrade.
During this holiday, we heard of the opening of the new venue in Kerkrade and somehow (the young stadium traveler in me) we got tickets. It was a great show, preceded by a friendly match and all looked shiny and blue! Well, so much can change in almost 13 years. Let me take you on my journey to Kerkrade.
The stadium, as mentioned, was part of a wave of new stadiums in the beginning of the 21st century. Opened as a multifunctional entertainment venue, its main tenant is the Roda JC Kerkrade football club of the Eredivisie. The stadium has a capacity of 19,979. It was built in the late 90s and was opened in 2000.
The name comes from the area in which the stadium is built, Parkstad stands for the area in Heerlen, Kerkrade, and Landgraaf.
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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".
The food offerings are rather limited, but the prices are absolutely reasonable. Candy bars going for only 1 euro, drinks for only 2 euro, but no alcohol is for sale in the stadium. Soft drinks include Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite. Furthermore a selection of snacks is served such as Croquettes, Frikadellen (fried meat patties), and other more common Dutch snacks. The staff is rather quick and helpful, considering the large demand and short amount of time during halftime.
In the stadium there is a small section of fanatic home team supporters, the 'Koempels' (which refers to the mining village Kerkrade once was known for. Mine workers were called 'Koempels', hence the nickname). They will be singing and chanting during the pre-game and the first part of the match. When the home team gets behind, the fans may somewhat cool down, but as the match goes on, these fans will come to life, especially when the home team is threatening to score a goal.
Next to the away supporters section, the crowd always tends to get annoying, trying to talk trash and making obscene gestures to the away crowd. It makes them look rather pathetic, but I guess it's part of the 'game' between home and away support during football matches.
Normally, the stadium sells out during big matches (Feyenoord, PSV, Ajax), but during my most recent visit in spring of 2013, it wasn't nearly filled to capacity.
The location of Parkstad Limburg Stadion is in an industrial zone. The stadium has a hotel incorporated in it,. There are some large department stores in the area, an Asian Wok restaurant, and some more retail stores in the neighborhood. But that's about it. It is somewhat near a suburban area, being wrenched in between the small cities of Kerkrade and Heerlen. There's no real bar scene in the area, except for the Golden Tulip hotel bar and a McDonalds for your fast food fix.
Fans are loyal and support their club at home, but away games are more difficult. They tend to stay in the southern area of the country. Support during home games is good, but far from the support I've seen at other clubs in the Eredivisie. One interesting thing about these fans is that they speak a dialect which most of Dutch people can't understand. It's a local dialect which is a mix between Dutch and German.
Access to Parkstad Limburg Stadion is easy. It's on the side of the small city, next to a highway, making it convenient to reach. There are plenty of parking spaces and access to the stands is good. Wheelchair access is provided on the main stand. Parking around the stadium is € 8.00.
Tickets are not very expensive, in the range of 10 euros for the youngest fans to 25 euros for the main stand, but your overall return on investment is somewhat low. The atmosphere could be better. The food offerings are average, but prices are good. Even though the location is somewhat distant in terms of connectivity to a neighborhood, it is very accessible and easy to visit for both home and away supporters.
There are no extras unfortunately when you visit Parkstad Limburg Stadion. It's a pretty average and straightforward stadium experience.
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Corio Center 12-A
Heerlen, Netherlands 6411 LX
+31 492 518 768
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Roda JC Ring 59
Kerkrade, Netherlands 6466 NH
(31) 45 543 64 70