Tour of De Kuip, home ground of Feyenoord Rotterdam

Rotterdam - De KuipRotterdam - De Kuip 07.10.2015: It has been the home ground of one of the best-known Dutch clubs, Feyenoord Rotterdam – the famous De Kuip. In March the stadium celebrated its 78th anniversary. Although the club management presented an ambitious project to build a brand new stadium, it is clear that the legendary De Kuip will not be forgotten. It has left a permanent trace in the history of football. Plans for construction of De Kuip were devised in the 1930s, when the then President of the club Leen van Zandvliet came up with an idea of building a modern stadium, which would, unlike any other stadium in Europe, have two-tier stands.

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The project was assigned to famous Dutch designers Johannes Brinkman and Leendert van der Vlugt, who were asked to design a stadium made of glass, concrete and steel, all cheap materials at that time. The stadium was co-financed by billionaire Daniël George van Beuningen, who made his fortune out of exporting coal from Germany to England through neutral Netherlands in World War I. The designers drew their inspiration from the Yankee Stadium in New York and later also from Highbury in London. It is interesting to note that in the 1950s the design of De Kuip inspired the architects of Camp Nou, the famous stadium in Barcelona.

The construction began in 1935 and ten months later De Kuip was completed. However, as the Rotterdam municipal government were unable to build infrastructure around the stadium in time, Feyenoord played their first home match there on 27th March 1937. It was against the Belgian club Beerschot, and the home team won 5-2. The original capacity of the stadium was 64,000. Later, after World War II, the stadium was renovated and the capacity was increased to 69,000.
Photo: Stephan Hoogerwaard

Over the following decades De Kuip was one of the main venues for finals of various European cups. The first one was a Cup Winners’ Cup final between Tottenham and Atlético Madrid. And the tenth and also last final was played at De Kuip in 2002. It was a rather special match, as Feyenoord, the home team, beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in the UEFA Cup final!

De Kuip was also chosen to host the 2000 European Championship final, receiving preference over the newer and more modern Amsterdam Arena. During the championship, the stadium hosted three group matches, the quarter-final between the Netherlands and Yugoslavia and the final between France and Italy.

By that time De Kuip had already undergone major renovation. In the early 1990s the facilities at the stadium got into such a poor state that renovation was inevitable. The stadium got its current look in 1994 as it was necessary to improve its safety and comfort. On that occasion, the stands were rebuilt, new corporate facilities were created and the stands, uncovered up to then, got roofed over. The stadium was also turned into an all-seater, which meant that its capacity was reduced to 51,117.

Fhoto: Stephan Hoogerwaard

In May last year the management of Feyenoord Rotterdam made public an ambitious project to build a brand new stadium – it will have a capacity of 70,000 seats and its construction will cost 196 million EUR. At one point renovation of De Kuip was also considered, but this seems to be a less probable option now.

Author: Jiri Vojkovsky |


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