The Olympic Stadium Amsterdam was the hub of the Olympic Games of 1928, which were held in Amsterdam that year. The architect was Jan Wils, who won an Olympic gold medal for his design at the Artistic Olympics in that same year. In those years, the stadium was called a brick city of sports.
On the 17th of May 1928, the first official event was organised in the stadium with the opening of the Olympic hockey tournament. The official opening of the Olympic Games of 1928 took place on the 28th of July 1928, and lasted until the 12th of August. After the games of 1928, American sports journalists dubbed the stadium a ‘model for the future'. A number of the illustrious heroes of 1928 were the American swimmer Johnny ‘Tarzan' Weissmuller, the Finish athlete Paavo Nurmi, the Dutch swimmer Zus Braun and the Australian rower Bobby Pearce.
At these Games the Olympic Flame was lit for the first time ever. Many people don't realise this was a Dutch invention!
The Olympic Stadium Amsterdam wasn't abandoned after the Games ended - quite the opposite. The The Dutch national football team played 77 home matches here. Blauw-Wit was the Stadium Club for decennia, just like FC Amsterdam in the seventies. Ajax played their most important home matches here in the stadium, such as the legendary ‘Mist Match' against Liverpool in 1966 and a number of international finals. The most famous football match ever to be played on the Olympic pitch was in 1962 when the Europe Cup-1 final was played here between Real Madrid and Benfica. In a sizzling final battle, tens of thousands of Dutch fans watched the Portuguese win 5-3.
Other important sports which were practiced here before the renovation were cycling, athletics and speedway. Fanny Blankers-Koen ran her ‘home games' here, Dutch Tour-riders were honoured, world champions were born and broken in the Olympic Stadium and all this before the eyes of tens of thousands of enthusiastic supporters.
As well as being a sports temple, the Olympic Stadium grew to be a national gathering place, a place of celebration and memorial. Queen Juliana was welcomed into the Olympic stadium as the new sovereign, but the stadium was also the site of the first memorial after the Second World War. Not to forget that thirty years ago thousands of young people danced till they dropped at a Pink Floyd concert.
Since its birth in 1928, up to the renovation in 2000, the Olympic Stadium has become a hub of national and international happenings. It can therefore rightly be dubbed a city - in our case a brick city of sports.