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Official Review by Thomas Miller, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Utrecht is a beautiful city. Designed similarly to Amsterdam with its canals, without the chaos of millions of tourists. Unlike the tourist-trap that is Amsterdam, in Utrecht you can find peace and quiet. You can also find a soccer/football match to attend at Stadion Galgenwaard, home of FC Utrecht of the Dutch Eredivisie.
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There is not much variety and not anything unique in terms of food selection inside Stadion Galgenwaard. Smokies or hamburgers for 3"'¬, beer for 2-3"'¬.
The concessions are unique in terms of paying procedure, and that's not a good thing. You must buy special coins from machines in order to pay for food but you can't exchange these coins later if you don't use them all. The smokie was decent and plenty of snacks were available, but I was hoping for some Dutch specialties and I was quite disappointed.
Stadion Galgenwaard was recently renovated and it has the feel of a relatively new structure. It is not routinely sold out, though. The game I attended had a large section fenced off for away supporters, but there were only a handful of them in attendance. Because the stadium was not at all full, the atmosphere suffered as a result. The team enters to the song "Eye of the Tiger," which is pretty intense, but they cut off the song too early.
Most everything was closed in what is a mainly residential area after the game (it was an 8:45 p.m. kick-off). Pregame festivities were basically non-existent outside the stadium. Due to a driving rain, the fans went their separate ways in a hurry following the game.
The fans were very easily agitated. They were quite knowledgeable of the game and very proud of their home-grown players. Before the game there was plenty of singing coming from the supporters' section, but during the game they seemed more concerned with setting off flares or flash bangs than supporting the team. After goals or chances the crowd got fired up but very quickly died back down. Aside from the supporters' section, it was very quiet.
Travel to and from the stadium with public transit is very easy due to shuttles leaving the central bus/train station frequently before the game and from the stadium directly afterwards. Parking is difficult to find. It looked like many people parked quite far away and had to walk. After the game the stadium clears out quickly, and the shuttles are overfilled.
An average ticket goes for 19"'¬. You should note that for certain matches you need a club card to purchase tickets. I felt like I got my money's worth because the game was entertaining, although the level of play was not very high (the opponent was Roda JC). I think that Utrecht plays an exciting brand of football and is definitely worth watching if you are in town. That said, I wouldn't plan a trip to Utrecht just for the stadium. It would definitely be an interesting atmosphere for European competition.
Stadion Galngenwaard is a fairly standard stadium with no real bells or whistles. The chairs are incredibly uncomfortable, but I had the impression that there wasn't a bad sight-line in the house. There is only one scoreboard, though, and it is not visible to the supporters' section. At the security check-in, I was told my camera's lens (18-55mm, pretty standard) was too large and I was not allowed to use it. There was no one to enforce this rule, however.
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