It’s not only on the field, but also in the stands of the ArenA that an increasingly large number of Danes can be found these days. This season, nearly twice as many Danes have ordered tickets for an Ajax home game via the Ajaxtravel web shop. After Ajax – PEC Zwolle, the counter is at almost 500 Danish fans this season. And that’s excluding the large number of group bookings.
At last Sunday’s Ajax – PEC match, the Danes were again out in full force among the 51.651 spectators. Under the charge of former top referee Kim Milton Nielsen, the twenty Danish spectators saw four out of six of their Ajax countrymen play. The Danes’ visit is part of a trend of residents of Denmark come to visit an Ajax match in Amsterdam, according to figures from travel partner Oad Reizen (www.ajaxtravel.com).
It wasn’t the first time that 52 year-old Nielsen visited the Amsterdam ArenA. Ten years ago, he was active there as the referee for the Netherlands – Argentina practice interland. He was also on the match sheet three times in the nineties at official Ajax matches – all away games. Nielsen refereed Genoa – Ajax (1992), Juventus – Ajax (1997) and Dinamo Zagreb – Ajax (1999).
Nielsen knows how popular Ajax is right now in Denmark. The long tradition of Danish Ajax players reached a peak this season with no fewer than six Danes in the A-selection. Out of Christian Eriksen, Christian Poulsen, Nicolai Boilesen, Lasse Schöne, Viktor Fischer and Lucas Andersen, Nielsen says that Eriksen is the most popular Ajax player in his home country. “He was the first of the new generation of Danes at Ajax. Schöne’s popularity in Denmark has also increased a lot since he started playing at Ajax.”
The Copenhagen resident is impressed with the renovated Amsterdam ArenA. “As a referee, I’ve seen many stadiums in the world. The ArenA certainly compares to the world’s most beautiful football temples. There’s a reason that the UEFA Europa League finals will take place here in May.”
The Ajax iMagazine last year was all about Ajax&Denmark. Take a look at Ajax’s free interactive magazine via the link below, or by clicking on the cover.
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