No Comments

Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna: A Monument to Football and History

ernst happel stadion vienna

The Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna, formerly known as Praterstadion until 1992, stands as one of the most significant landmarks in Austrian and European football. Located in the Leopoldstadt district, it is Austria’s largest stadium, boasting a seating capacity of 50,865. Built between 1929 and 1931 initially for the second Workers’ Olympiad, it has undergone several transformations over the years, evolving into an icon of Austrian football and sporting culture.

Follow us on social networks to stay updated on the latest foreign football newsInstagramFacebook e Twitter.

An Architectural Masterpiece

ersnt happel stadion ucl

The original design of the stadium is credited to German architect Otto Ernst Schweizer, who created a cutting-edge structure for its time. Constructed in just 23 months, the Praterstadion symbolized modernity, with its short discharge time of only 7-8 minutes. Initially designed to hold around 60,000 spectators, its role has evolved over the years, becoming the pulsating heart of Austrian football.

Praterstadion: Witness to Dark Moments

During the period of National Socialism (1938-1945), the stadium suffered a dark fate, serving as a military barracks, rallying area, and even as a temporary prison for the deportation of Viennese Jewish citizens. Between 1939 and 1940, over a thousand Polish-born Viennese Jews were detained under the grandstands in Section B before being deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp. In 1988, one survivor, Fritz Klein, received compensation from the Austrian government. In 2003, a memorial plaque was unveiled in the VIP area to commemorate these tragic events.

praterstadion wien vienna

During a bombing raid in 1944, the stadium sustained significant damage to the German military staff offices. However, after the war and subsequent reconstruction, the stadium returned to its original function.

From Attendance Records to Covered Stands

In the 1950s, the stadium’s capacity was expanded to 92,708 seats by Theodor Schull, but it was later reduced in 1965. The attendance record, with 90,726 spectators, was set on October 30, 1960, during a match between Spain and Austria. In the 1980s, the stands were covered and fully equipped with seats, marking an era of modernization. The reopening was celebrated with a friendly match against Germany, where Austria emerged victorious with a 4-1 scoreline.

In 1992, in honor of the legendary Austrian player and coach Ernst Happel, who passed away in 1992, the Prater Stadium was renamed Ernst Happel-Stadion. This change added further prestige to a venue that had already hosted finals of prestigious European tournaments in 1964, 1987, 1990, and 1995.

A Stage for Epic Events

The stadium has continued to be a prestigious venue in the world of football. In 1970, it hosted the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Final, where Manchester City defeated Górnik Zabrze 2-1. During UEFA Euro 2008, the Ernst Happel-Stadion hosted seven matches, including the final where Spain triumphed over Germany.


In preparation for Euro 2008, modifications were made, increasing the stadium’s capacity to 53,000 seats. One of the most significant innovations was the introduction of a heated pitch in 2005. In May 2008, a connection to the Vienna U-Bahn was established, facilitating access from all over the city.

The Future of the Ernst Happel

Today, the Ernst Happel Stadium is much more than a sports facility. It is a monument that tells the story of Austrian football and society over the decades. Managed by Wiener Stadthalle Betriebs und Veranstaltungsgesellschaft m.b.H., it continues to be the focal point of Austrian football, hosting matches for the national team and Viennese clubs in UEFA competitions.

The future of the stadium looks bright, with its role in sporting and cultural events destined to endure. Ongoing innovations and improvements ensure that the Ernst Happel Stadium remains at the forefront, offering unforgettable experiences to present and future generations of football enthusiasts.

Latest articles
Tags: Stadiums

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.