By hosting UEFA's annual Congress this week, Amsterdam will kick-start the Netherlands' build up to EURO 2020. As one of the tournament's 12 host cities, the Dutch capital carries the hopes and expectations of four key football audiences.
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1. The fan
The Netherlands will play all three of their UEFA EURO 2020 group matches at Amsterdam's Johan Cruijff ArenA, which will also host one of the round of 16 matches:
• 14 June: Netherlands v Ukraine
• 18 June: Netherlands v Austria
• 22 June: Play-off winner D or A v Netherlands
• 27 June: Second place Group A v Second place Group B
Dutch fans' optimism for EURO 2020 is based on more than home advantage. Having failed to qualify for EURO 2016 and the FIFA World Cup two years later, the national team is enjoying a renaissance, and reached the UEFA Nations League final in 2019.
The Netherlands have a rich EURO pedigree, crowned champions in 1988 and reaching the semis on four occasions (1976, 1992, 2000, 2004). Their victory on German soil in 1988, masterminded by legendary coach Rinus Michels and delivered by European greats such as Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, remains fresh in the memory.
Van Basten’s volley in the final, a 2-0 win over the USSR, is one of the truly iconic moments in the tournament’s 60-year history.
2. The young footballer
In 2000, the Netherlands combined with Belgium to host the EUROs. Although the national team fell to a penalty shoot-out defeat against Italy in the semi-finals, the tournament helped a new generation of Dutch children discover the beautiful game.
With four matches scheduled to take place in Amsterdam, the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) is hoping EURO 2020 will trigger a new legacy for the future of football in the Netherlands.
"We think it's great that young kids are able to see famous players from other teams in the flesh in Amsterdam," says UEFA Executive Committee member Michael van Praag, former KNVB president.
Women’s football in the Netherlands is already attracting a new generation of young girls thanks to the inspirational achievements of the national team. The Netherlands triumphed at UEFA EURO 2017 and finished as runners-up at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.
3. The football administrator
Like all 55 member associations, the KNVB receives funding from UEFA to help protect, promote and develop football. Most of this funding is generated through profits from the EURO held every four years.
By helping the KNVB fund major infrastructure projects, EURO profits have already helped lay the foundations for the current strength of both mens’ and womens’ football in the Netherlands.
The KNVB Football Campus at Zeist boasts state-of-the-art training facilities, performance analysis and medical centres, and will be the basecamp for the national team at EURO 2020. It also acts as the KNVB’s headquarters, from where they can deliver education classes and host conferences to continue improving the national game at all levels.
4. The broadcaster
From March, the 24,000 square-metre Expo Haarlemmermeer in Vijfhuizen, west of Amsterdam, will host the international broadcast centre (IBC) for UEFA EURO 2020 – the central distribution hub for all live broadcast signals from the 12 stadiums hosting European Championship matches.
Over a four-month period before, during and after the tournament, over 1,000 guests and staff working either for EURO 2020 rights-holding broadcast partners or UEFA’s own host broadcast and information technology teams will be based at the IBC.
The centre will boast the latest broadcast equipment, including technical, production and satellite distribution facilities, to deliver quality sound and images of EURO 2020 to UEFA’s broadcast partners.