Olympic Stadium

Olympisch Stadion 2
Jan Wils
Gemeente Amsterdam
Tram 6, 16, 24
Tijs Tummers en Bart Sorgedrager, Het Olympisch Stadion, Amsterdam, 2000.

Monumental sports facility with commercial space in the base

When, in 1923, the Netherlands was chosen to host the 1928 Olympic Games, it was initially decided that the existing stadium in Amsterdam, situated on what is now Argonautenstraat and Jasonstraat, should be redeveloped. This commission was awarded to the architect Jan Wils. It soon became clear, however, that the stadium was unsuitable for Olympic competitive sports because, among other things, it lacked an athletics track. The city council therefore commissioned Jan Wils to design a new stadium. On 1 May 1928, seventeen days before the Olympic Games were due to commence, the stadium was completed.

The monument, executed in brick and in keeping with Berlage’s Plan Zuid, is characterized by functionalist architecture; wall surfaces are interspersed with flower boxes and projections. The elegant Marathontoren (Marathon Tower) is positioned asymmetrically in front of the Marathonpoort (Marathon Gateway) and it still functions as the stadium’s beacon; the Olympic flame burned here in 1928. In 1937, an extra ring of concrete stands, also designed by Jan Wils, was added to the stadium.

In the 1980s, the stadium was used less and less. It fell into disrepair and demolition seemed inevitable. In 1987, the city council decided to build a new stadium in Amsterdam Zuidoost and that the Olympic Stadium should be demolished. Plans for housing development on the stadium site were at an advanced stage when, at the end of 1996, a lobby succeeded in preventing the stadium’s demolition. The stadium was subsequently restored by the architect J. van Stigt. The restored stadium is now once again used for sports events, mainly athletics. The inner space in the arena houses, among other things, offices and refreshment facilities. (Stichting Olympisch Stadion)