Amsterdam ArenA’s old stadium seats get a second life

Almost all of the 53,000 stadium seats in the Amsterdam ArenA have been replaced in recent months. The old seats are getting a second life with sustainable recycling. Today, one section of seats is available for sale to Ajax fans. The proceeds will go to the Ajax Foundation.

After over 21 years, the ArenA seats were due for replacement. Now a long-cherished dream of Ajax supporters has come true: the ArenA has turned red-and-white. But what to do with so many old stadium seats?

Ajax Foundation
Some of the best seats – over 7,000 – have been donated to football clubs in the Netherlands, Curacao and Suriname. But there are more possibilities, according to a study by the University of Amsterdam. Their survey has revealed that Ajax fans are very keen to buy the old stadium seats. That’s why from today onwards fans can order an ArenA seat online from the Ajax web shop or pick one up at the Ajax Shop in the Amsterdam ArenA. Each sold seat delivers a donation to the Ajax Foundation. The Ajax Foundation supports projects for disadvantaged young people in Amsterdam.

Three variants
Three variants will be made available for sale: a loose backrest and seat that users can turn into a new chair themselves; a seat with steel frame; and a seat with a wooden frame. The three variants were designed and made by Koninklijke Ahrend bv and the socially aware enterprise Presikhaaf Schoolmeubelen (School Furniture). These companies have made the variants available at cost price, ranging from € 50.00 to € 65.00. The loose backrest and seat costs € 7.75.

Circularity project
 “Amsterdam ArenA is one of the most sustainable stadiums in the world,” says Henk Markerink, CEO of the Amsterdam ArenA. “That’s why it was a logical choice for us to go for circularity, the sustainable reuse of seats. Together with Ajax, Amsterdam University of Technology (Hogeschool van Amsterdam, HvA), Ahrend, Presikhaaf and the waste processors Van Gansewinkel, we have come up with a nice solution, which also fits the Ajax Foundation.”

New raw materials
In addition to chairs, it seems that more can be made from the material that went into producing the old stadium seats. Researchers in the HvA Urban Technology program have studied the constituent materials to learn if they can be turned into something new. Because what can you do with the seats that don’t get sold or go to other clubs? It seems that the polypropylene in the backrest and seat is good for digital production – such as 3D printing – even if the seats are over 21 years old. In addition, a few dozen seats are being made available for a design challenge organized by the HvA for designers in the Amsterdam Made collective. And students doing the HvA Engineering: Product Design course will design new products for 3D printing out of the remaining material. The leftover seats will be recycled by waste processor Van Gansewinkel into new raw materials.