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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Stockholm has recently become the beneficiary of two brand new stadiums, the Friends Arena and the Tele2 Arena. Unfortunately, this has seen the end of the Rasunda and the Söderstadion, but despite Djurgårdens IF moving out to the latter, the Stockholm Olympic Stadium will thankfully remain in use.
The stadium has a proud history and may be a relic compared to today’s modern developments, but when you compare this venue built for the 1912 Olympic Games to the London 2012 Olympic Stadium you can see just how much the world has moved on in the past century. This is not just a stadium; it is a piece of history and the Stockholm City Council realise this and have retained its use for athletics.
The Olympic Stadium’s current capacity is between 13,145 and 14,500, dependent upon usage, but the venue has accommodated nearly 33,000 for concerts. The world’s top pop stars including Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, and KISS have all sold the stadium out over the years.
As well as being the home of Djurgårdens IF, a top flight Swedish soccer team, the venue has also played host to the Swedish sport of Bandy.
The stadium is also unique for holding the record for the most world records. The ornamental towers, Royal Box, arches, and sculptures are the iconic symbols of the stadium. Spectator facilities may be poor and only consist of terracing and bench seating, but attending an event here will transport you back in time as the venue has remained virtually untouched since it was built by architect Torben Grut.
(Note: exchange rates are accurate as of the time of this posting, July 2013.)
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Portable food kiosks inside the venue sell beer, cold drinks, coffee, hot dogs, and crisps. Since you are in Sweden, you can be sure that these do not come cheap. However, a lack of catering facilities is a sharp reminder to those of us of a certain age who can remember life before the modern stadium era.
The atmosphere at Stockholm Olympic Stadium is top notch simply because of the quaintness of the venue, and in this particular case, I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at the last ever top flight football game to be played here. The event was marked by a firework display at the end of the game and a mass showing of club colours throughout the ninety minutes.
Similar to what I have witnessed at the Rasunda Stadium in the past, the start of the second half was held up by masked supporters letting off flares which smoked the stadium out for about ten minutes as a demonstration against the Swedish Football Association.
Stockholm itself, although expensive, is an ideal location for a city break. The city is built over fourteen islands and offers a wide range of museums and other activities. A visit to the Royal Palace is highly recommended, as are boat trips which are available from outside the Grand Hotel.
The Olympic Stadium is only minutes from the main shopping and tourist areas. Gamla Stan is a must for those that like the old town. It is here where you will find the Café Kakbrinken, whose ice cream is highly recommended. We stayed in the Elite Hotel Arcadia which was a good value, and also only a five minute walk from the Olympic Stadium.
Djurgårdens IF are one of four teams based in the Swedish capital and average crowds are between 8,000-10,000. The club's main rivals are A.I.K., and games between these two can be boisterous affairs. The move to the 32,000-seat Tele2 Arena, which they will share with Hammarby, may provide supporters with luxury, but the tears shed at the end of the last match showed that the Olympic Stadium will never be replaced in the hearts of Djurgårdens fans.
The stadium is located in the Ostermalm district of the city and is within a five minute walk of both the Stadion and Tekniska Högskolan Metro stations. Both are only five minutes from Stockholm Central Railway Station. Street parking is available if travelling by car, but it is difficult to find. Fans would be best served by taking advantage of public transportation when visiting Stockholm Olympic Stadium for an event.
Ticket prices ranged from between 160-600 kr ($24.50-$92), which is expensive for the standard of football on offer. There are reductions for seniors and children. However, attending a game at the Olympic Stadium is value for money in its own right and well worth the outlay. This is a historic treasure and well worth the overall price.
Other than free glossy programmes, there is not much to write about in terms of extras. But being able to witness the architecture and Olympic statues are extras that money cannot provide.
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Stockholm, Sweden 11129
Stockholm, Sweden 111 30
+46 8 402 60 00