- Chris Tuck
Feyenoord Stadium – Feyenoord Rotterdam
Photos by Chris Tuck, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Feyenoord Stadium Vam Zandvlietplein 1, Ijsselmonde Rotterdam 3077 AA, Netherlands
Feyenoord Stadium (De Kuip) website
Year Opened: 1937
Feyenoord Stadium (AKA De Kuip)
The Feyenoord Stadion in Rotterdam is one of the most iconic footballing arenas in the whole of Europe. That it is in danger of being demolished should be of concern to all who value such structures over the new and often soulless stadia we’ve seen in recent times.
Inaugurated in 1937, the ground is known to all as De Kuip (The bowl) due simply to its attractive curving footprint. It is home to the Dutch footballing giant Feyenoord Rotterdam. Such is the De Kuip’s prestige it has also hosted Dutch national team matches, a European Championship final and many European club finals too.
Feyenoord Rotterdam began life as ‘Wilhelina’ became SC Feyenoord before settling on the current name in 1978. They’ve won their domestic league on no fewer than 15 occasions and the KNVB Cup 13 times. In Europe they have also had success, winning the European Cup in 1970 and two UEFA Cup trophies in 1974 and 2002.
Whilst plans have been mooted to move away from the De Kuip before, the current iteration, a new 63,000 sports hub on the nearby river bank seems to have traction and could open by 2023. Most Feyenoord fans do not want to leave their current ground, whether they can stop the move seems unlikely.
Rotterdam itself is the gritter and tougher sibling of the country’s capital city Amsterdam. Whilst Amsterdam attracts tourists and acclaim from across the world, Rotterdam quietly gets on with its shipping and its finance industries with a stoic outlook, far removed from their ‘flashy’ compatriots up the road. Think Glasgow to Edinburgh or Belfast to Dublin and you get the picture.
Food & Beverage 3
The stadium boasts its own restaurant called the Brasserie. Open for drinks or lunches this is an option more if you are visiting on a non-match day as the restaurant closes at 2pm on the day of a game.
On match day, on the Olympiatribune side of the ground there are mobile food kiosks selling the usual fayre just outside the stadium itself.
Inside, you will need to first purchase your Feyenoord tokens (munts) as the bars do not take cash. These can be bought from a shed within the confines of the stadium, 10 tokens cost 14.50 Euros. A Pepsi will then set you back one token. Heineken Light is served for 1.5 tokens as well as 7-Up, iced tea and Red Bull to name but a few – an impressive array of drink choices! Food wise a small burger cost 2.5 tokens and Kroket (Croquet in a bun) is 2 tokens.
Food and Drink Kiosk, Photo by Chris Tuck, Stadium Journey
Raucous and intimidating are two words often used to describe the atmosphere in the De Kuip when it is full. Before kick-off, Feyenoord fans will often reveal tifo style displays and belt out their club anthem. To a certain extent the atmosphere will depend on the competition and opposition. For this visit, a pre-season friendly v Southampton, only 2/3rds full, it was the away fans who made most of the noise. The home fans not particularly pleased with their team’s performance on the day.
The ‘bowl’ layout of the stadium and low roof contribute to the noise staying in the ground. The locals normally play their part vocally, no prawn sandwiches and half-time flasks here, Feyenoord fans come to support their team.
Due to its shape there are additional ‘temporary’ stands at pitch level on all 4 sides. These ensure supporters are close to the pitch with the main stands themselves a little further back. These stands however are more open to the elements, so you may choose to sit back in the main stands to avoid a soaking. Seats in the main stands are generally tightly packed together with not a lot of leg room.
There are scoreboards behind both goals that are not particularly large but display the time and remind you of the latest score line!
There is very little of note in the immediate vicinity of the ground. A few restaurants and fast food outlets however have popped up to the north of the stadium such as Hollywood’s, just across the dual carriageway from the ground. This or drinking inside the ground is your main choice locally. For all main amenities therefore, you will need to start and finish your visit in the city centre.
The ‘in place’ to eat in Rotterdam is the Market Hall (Markthal). The building itself is a masterpiece of architecture, an arched ‘upside-down’ horseshoe shape with a myriad of market stalls selling foods from across the world. Just wander in and see what takes your fancy! If not head to the Fenix Food Factory if you like your beer, cider and food. You can then jump on a water taxi to the stadium!
The central area itself has all the usual museums, cinemas and theatres you’d expect in a modern city. For history lovers, the Pilgrims Fathers Church can be visited, where the intrepid explorers worshipped before setting off on the Speedwell to the USA in July 1620.
For stadium enthusiasts you may wish to fit another game in to your trip at the other local clubs Sparta Rotterdam or Excelsior. Tickets are easy to get for either unless it’s a derby match. Excelsior’s ground is to the east of the city and Sparta to the west.
Accommodation wise, if you are using the car then the 4* Delta Hotel in Vlaardingen on the north bank of the river has fantastic views and can be booked at a reasonable cost. If not, then any hotel around the central train station would suit. For example, the Grand Hotel Central a 3* hotel is just a few minutes’ walk away. There isn’t a great deal of hotel options near to the stadium, one possibility is the Art Hotel Rotterdam, a 4* which is still a half hour walk away.
In the Dutch Eredivisie, Feyenoord’s average attendances are second only to fierce rivals Ajax. Average attendances have fallen in the last few years (16/17 47,500, 17/18 45,588, 18/19 41,771) but the hard core remains as loyal as ever.
The main fan group affiliated to the club is ‘The Legioen’ with over 40k members, the equivalent for the young fans ‘Kameraadjes’ has over 25,000 signed up. The club also has a large following from countries across the world. The club anthem is ‘Hand in Hand’ and the fans vocal support comes from all four sides of the ground instead of just one main end that is often the case.
If you are flying in for a match, use Schiphol (Amsterdam) airport. You can then take a train direct to Rotterdam in just 30 mins. Alternatively, you could fly into Eindhoven. From here you’d need to get a bus (401) to Eindhoven train station then it’s an hour train journey into Rotterdam.
Another alternative from France and the UK is to take the Eurostar to Brussels then use a local train from Brussels to Rotterdam which takes around 2 hours.
Although the stadium is ‘out of town,’ links from central Rotterdam are good. From Rotterdam Centraal station there are trains to the Rotterdam Stadion which is right opposite the ground. On non-match days, alight at Rotterdam Zuid which is a 20 minute walk to the ground.
A cheaper option is to use your match day ticket for free travel on the tram. Jump on the number 23 from right outside Centraal station and be dropped opposite the De Kuip, a stone’s throw from the above-mentioned Hollywood bar.
Alternatively, you can use the metro service, bus or even water taxi to get around. The metro was built in 1968 with 5 lines A-E. Take the dark blue ‘E’ line from Centraal station toward the stadium and alight at either Rijnhaven or Maashaven, both are still around a half hour walk from the ground.
If you are driving, you can book a parking space at the same time you book your ticket. Car parks around the ground can be expensive…25 Euros being quoted for parking on a piece of waste land just to the northeast of the stadium.
Access wise. there is plenty of space around the perimeter of the ground with fans visiting the club shops or grabbing some food from the various food stalls. Signs showing the layout of the whole stadium are on show outside to help you get your bearings. Entry into the stadium is using a bar-coded ticket and like most stadiums these days be prepared to be searched upon entry.
Once inside be prepared for lots of stairs! Wheelchair users are given a section behind the dugouts and assistance is available.
Return on Investment 3
The Feyenoord online ticket shop should be your first call for obtaining match day tickets. As ever these days, you will need to create an account first. The advice is to book your ticket before travelling, however if the game hasn’t sold out, there will be tickets on sale at the box office on the day of the match.
Tickets can obviously also be purchased via third party websites but expect to pay the usual premium. Home match day tickets cost from 38 Euros, the away fans paying as little as 19 Euros (for a friendly).
All the usual merchandise is available in the club shops at slightly inflated prices, i.e. a scarf will cost 20 Euros and a cap 15 Euros.
For accommodation and food Rotterdam prices are not cheap but the ‘cost of living’ is far lower here than the tourist trap of Amsterdam.
A tourist day ticket which allows travel on all the main transport offerings cost €13.50. Alternatively, a Rotterdam Welcome card can be purchased which does the same thing but also offers discounts.
The Feyenoord App can be downloaded which provides up to date news and access to tickets and the fan shop. Could only find a version in Dutch however so if it’s not your first language it may not be so helpful!
The Feyenoord Museum is only available as part of the Stadium tours, which can be booked in the fan store next to the ground or book in advance over the phone. Prices are from 9.50 Euros with a 1 Euro reduction if purchased online.
The match day programme cost just 1.50 Euros and was good value. Two fan shops are located at the corner of the Maastribune and the Willem Van Hanegem Tribunes.
Stadium Journey wholeheartedly recommends a visit to the De Kuip, as soon as you can!