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AZ

Ground: AFAS Stadion

Visits: 1

Date: 3rd November 2018

Match: AZ - De Graafschap  1-0  (Eredivisie)

Attendance: 15 428

After two days in Rotterdam in was time to move on. The fifth and final game on this tour was in Alkmaar, AZ v De Graafschap on Saturday evening. Not being in a rush I slept late before making the short walk to Rotterdam Centraal. Via Utecht I then arrived in Alkmaar around 12.30. My hotel was a short walk from the train station and to my delight my room was ready. The weather in western Netherlands was quite nice with around 10 degrees and sunshine. Alkmaar has a population of around 100 000 and is probably most famous for its traditional cheese market. The city centre is surrounded by canals and as I left my hotel I realized there would be many medieval houses to look at. First stop was Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk. There were people strolling around and I have to say I really like the central part of Alkmaar. Being quite hungry I found an Italian restaurant where I had something to eat. The waiter said something like “Aah, Mr Bean” but once again I have heard that for many years. Anyway, I continued my sightseeing and passed several of the small bridges  crossing the canals before finding a windmill. From there I once again made it to Sint-Laurenskerk before returning to my hotel. Kick-off at AFAS Stadion was at 20.45 and from my hotel it would take around 40 minutes by foot. Thankfully the club put on Pendelbussen from the train station and with one of those it took around 10 minutes. The buses were from the other side of the train station and strangely enough you couldn´t go there via the main entrance unless you had a ticket. I had to make a detour but it wasn´t that bad and at least I got some extra exercise.

AZ (Alkmaar Zaanstreek) was found as AZ’ 67 in 1967 and the club has twice, 1981 and 2009, won the Eredivisie. In 1981 the club lost the UEFA-Cup final to Ipswich Town. In 2006 the new AZ Stadion (nowadays officially AFAS Stadion) was opened and the ground has a capacity of just over 17 000. As is the case with Excelsior you need a Dutch bank account to buy tickets online. I sent the club a mail and was told to do an international money transfer and they would then send me a pdf-ticket. That worked out and with a seat in row 20 of Vak P in the Molenaar Tribune I had a great view of the action on the pitch. Inside the Molenaar Tribune there is a sports café and that opened some two hours before kick-off and plenty of fans were already there when I arrived. The café was also a great place to keep warm as the temperature dropped during the evening! This game was unfortunately quite poor with few chances but after 12 goals in Rotterdam I guess I have no right to complain. With 20 minutes to go AZ scored though and that goal was enough for the Alkmaar side to win 1-0. After the final whistle I rushed to the shuttle bus and 25 minutes after the game ended I was back at hotel. Excellent organization with the buses! Another tour was coming to an end and I have now been to 12 grounds in the Netherlands, 10 of those in Eredivise. My next trip will most likely be to England around the New Year btw.

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Canal, view from outside my hotel

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Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk

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Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk

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Bridge and church

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Canal

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Canal

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Windmill

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Windmill

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AFAS Stadion at night

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Stadium map

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Rear of the Victorie Tribune

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Van der Ben Tribune

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Victorie Tribune

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Alkmaarder Hout Tribune

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Molenaar Tribune

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Sports café

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Players and officials entering

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Kick-off

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Van der Ben Tribune

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AZ fans

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View of play

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Victorie Tribune

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View of play

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Alkmaarder Hout Tribune

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De Graafschap fans

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De Graafschap fans

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1-0

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Pano

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Pano