Mention the Dutch city of Rotterdam to any football supporter and the team the comes to mind will almost always be that of Feyenoord.
Established on 1st April 1888 Sparta Rotterdam is the oldest professional team in the Netherlands. The club were founded a full 20 years before giants city rivals Feyenoord.
Like many clubs of the time Sparta has its roots in the sport of cricket – when they were founded as Rotterdamsche Cricket & Football Club Sparta. However, it was 1888 before a football branch of the club was established and 1890 before a competitive football match was played.
The history of the club is bundled up in a modern stadium thanks to its historical exterior and modern interiors.
The first version of Het Kasteel was built in 1916 to a design by architects J.H. de Roose and W.F. Overreijnder. The first purpose built football stadium in Holland opened during October of 1916 and is located in the neighbourhood of Spangen.
Originally Stadion Spangen the name ‘Het Kasteel’ (the Castle) is derived from the small building with two small towers which backs onto the south facing tribune of the stadium. The castle building, which is currently located along the length of the pitch, was originally positioned behind one of the goals.
Sparta have a museum but the historical traditions of the club are evident in the various stands being after club legends including Tonny van Ede, Denis Neville and Bok de Korver.
Like many stadia several periods of renovation have taken place since the 1920’s but in the late 90’s the stadium was almost completely rebuilt.
The playing field was turned 90 degress, so that “The Castle pavillion” is now part of the stand on the long side of the stadium, when it was actually first located on the short side (behind the goal) of the stadium. The only remaining part of the old stadium is the castle pavilion, the rest got demolished and replaced with four new enclosed all-seater stands.
The name of the new stadium is Sparta Stadium “Het Kasteel”. It has a modest capacity of 10,599 places.
Official club name: Sparta Rotterdam
Address: Address: Spartapark Noord 1, 3027 VW Rotterdam
Founded: April 1st 1888
Transport: Het Kasteel is a 5 to 10-minute walk away from Marconiplein metro stop.