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Municipality of Amsterdam and Amsterdam ArenA sign innovation deal

In order to secure a position for the Amsterdam ArenA – the largest football stadium in The Netherlands and the home of AFC Ajax – as the most innovative stadium, the ArenA has signed an innovation deal with the Municipality of Amsterdam. Over the next few months, they will develop a joint strategy focused on areas including smart IT applications in the field of crowd management, the development of energy grids, connectivity, and applications for visitors to the ArenA and its surrounds. This is the first innovation deal the Municipality has signed with a local Amsterdam company.

Innovation and sustainability are necessary to promote economic growth and prosperity in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region. For this reason, Alderwoman Carolien Gehrels of the City of Amsterdam and Henk Markerink, CEO of the ArenA, have signed the first innovation deal. The official document contains agreements between the Municipality and the stadium to boost innovation in and around the stadium. This involves innovations including smart technological applications for the use of tablets and smartphones in the stadium, and new methods of crowd management in the stadium area.

In addition, the ArenA intends to develop into a laboratory for companies to test their inventions and ideas – the Living Lab. The innovations that are applied in the Amsterdam ArenA will be promoted by the stadium and their national and international partners for application in other venues and/or sports and recreation areas.

According to Henk Markerink, CEO of the Amsterdam ArenA, it is necessary that the stadium does not to work alone, rather to involve partners in the realization of innovations, with a particular focus on collaboration: “We want to invent and execute innovative projects together with the Amsterdam Economic Board and Amsterdam Smart City – projects that in the long run may be interesting from a financial and commercial point of view, that underscore the state-of-the-art position of the ArenA and that at the same time contribute to enhanced sustainability and quality of life.

“We, the ArenA, are happy to accept the challenge in cooperation with other companies, research and educational institutes, the Municipality, citizens and visitors. The Economic Board provides significant support in this respect, helping us to find the right innovation partners.”

The innovation deal, an initiative of the Amsterdam Economic Board, Amsterdam Smart City, the Municipality of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam ArenA, contains agreements including that the parties concerned will help each other to develop innovations.

The innovation deal focuses specifically on advancements in the following five areas:
1. Mobility and accessibility
2. Experience of the visitors to the ArenA and its environs
3. Energy and sustainability
4. Entertainment and fan experience
5. Safety and security

In the field of sustainability, the ArenA and the Municipality already reached agreement in an earlier phase by signing the ‘Green Deal’. The Amsterdam ArenA carries out the sustainability programme in conjunction with a total of almost forty Green Deal partners who invest time, knowledge, services, and funds in the greenification of the ArenA. They help the Amsterdam ArenA to reduce CO2 emissions by using smart transport, reducing waste, saving energy, using clean sources of energy, and providing or contributing to innovative and sustainable solutions.

The Municipality of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Economic Board would like to assist the Amsterdam ArenA in realizing their ambitions. Innovation is not something that can be planned at the drawing board in the city hall, it must be created in the city itself. It is important because it contributes to a sustainable and economically strong metropolitan region. The Amsterdam ArenA has high ambitions in this area, and the present deal represents a clear manifestation of the support of the Municipality of Amsterdam. By signing the present innovation deal, Alderwoman Carolien Gehrels confirms this support.

The agreement furthermore states that the Municipality of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Economic Board, and the Amsterdam ArenA will compose a team to convert all kinds of ideas into concrete reality. The results will be laid down in a long-term innovation programme.