Ernst-Happel-Stadion sometimes known by its previous names of both Praterstadion and Wiener Stadion, is a football stadium located in Austria’s capital city of Vienna. First opened in 1931, it is the largest football ground in the country and was used for seven games in Euro 2008 including the final between Spain and Germany.
Known as the Praterstadion until 1992 when it was renamed in honour of the famous Austrian Manager Ernst Happel, the stadium was built between over a period of two years between 1929-1931 in anticipation of the second Workers’ Summer Olympiad to be held in Vienna. With the Austrian Republic less than a decade old and still very much in its infancy, the sports stadium construction project was seen as an important symbol of national pride despite being designed by a German Architect, Otto Ernst Schweizer.
With the outbreak of World War II and Austria annexed by the National Socialist Party, the stadium was used initially for military purposes such as barracks, but eventually came to be used for much more evil purposes when it was was used as a prison to detain over one thousand Polish born Jews. By 1944, a year before the war officially ended, the stadium had long been damaged by bombs and was not fit for anything, least of all football.
With Europe beginning to recover coupled with the rise in popularity of football, the stadium was expanded in 1956 to a capacity of 92,708 with the conversion to all-seating in the mid 1980s. Now suitable for the biggest of footballing occasions the ground hosted three further European Cup finals in 1987, 1990 and 1995. This perhaps made amends for the 1970 cup winners cup final which saw Manchester City narrowly beat Gornik Zabrze 2-1 in a match which was attended by just 7,968 people due to heavy rain.
Continuing the trend of being known for hosting European and International fixtures rather than domestic matches, Ernst-Happel Stadium was chosen to be the final venue for the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament which was co-hosted by Switzerland. After undergoing €40 million euros worth of renovations the ground hosted three group matches, three knock-out matches and the final between Germany and Spain which latter one one nil courtesy of a Torres goal.
Below is a seating plan of Vienna’s Ernst-Happel Stadion:
Ernst-Happel Stadion is comprised of four stands: North, East, South and West.
Click the thumbnails above to enlarge an image of each stand.
The Matchday Experience
As the largest football stadium in Austria it is naturally the home of the Austrian National Team, and it has been used by both teams from Vienna to host their Champions League and UEFA Cup matches as it not only has a larger capacity, but it also better satisfies UEFA’s stadium requirements having been heavily refurbished for Euro 2008 where it hosted the final.
Domestically, it has often hosted the Wien derby between FK Austria WIen and their great rival SK Rapid Wien, as well as the domestic cup final. Comparable to Wembley in this sense, SK Rapid Wien are currently renting the ground whilst their old Gerhard Hanappi Stadium is being rebuilt as the Allianz Stadion.
Away fans are usually housed within the south-east corner of the stadium within Sector F which is the one with clearly marked by the use of yellow seats.
For international matches involving Austria the standard allocation appears to be around 3,000 tickets which fills the third tier up, however for league matches with smaller attendances the traveling supporters might be brought closer to the pitch.
Rapid Wien operate two fan shops in addition to their official online store which is known as the Rapid Shop. The largest of the two is located at StadionCenter with the address of Olympia Place 2, 1020, Vienna.
- Monday – Wednesday: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm
- Thursday – Friday: 9.00 am – 8.00 pm
- Saturday: 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
As SK Rapid Wien are only temporary residents at Ernst-Happel they have no interest in becoming its tour operators! It doesn’t appear as if the stadium’s operators, the city of Vienna conduct tours either which is certainly a shame.
Tickets to see Rapid Vienna in action can either be purchased in person at the stadium’s box office in the days leading up to the match, before kick-off or in advance via the club’s online booking facility where you can print from home.
- Sector A: €15.00
- Sector B: €32.00
- Sector C: €22.00
- Sector D: €22.00
- Sector E: €28.00
For more information feel free to phone the club on +43 (0) 1 72743-0
or send an email to email@example.com.
Ernst-Happel is located approximately 3.5 km east of the historic city centre next to the Danube River and Prater Park with the resulting walk likely to take the average person around 45 minutes by foot.
Wien Hauptbahnhof is the main railway station of Vienna, and was built in 2012 to link all four rail lines going in and out of the city: North, East, South and West.
The stadium received its own dedicated U-Bahn station named “Stadion” in preparation for Euro 2008 which makes traveling to the stadium even easier than before.
Situated on Line U2 which is the purple one, it is the 10th stop from Karlsplatz station in the city centre where the line begins in the eastward direction.
The stadium’s address for satnav is as follows:
- Meierei Street 7, 1020 Vienna, Austria
There are a moderate number of parking spaces towards the south-west of the stadium but assuming they are available, you would need to travel there very early on matchday. You could always leave your car across the river at Wien Stadlau and catch the U-Bahn four stops westbound.
Airports and Flying
The city is served by Vienna International Airport which lies just 18km southeast of the city within the small town of Schwechat. Upon landing you can easily travel into the city via the S-Bahn commuter rail service for a few euros or a shuttle bus service if you prefer.
Some low cost airlines actually advertise Bratislava Airport 54km east in Slovakia as being “Vienna” so double check when booking! You can travel from here via train in 1 hour so work out if the time is worth your money.
The closest hotel to Ernst-Happel Stadion is the Hilton Danube Waterfront, however with a large city on your doorstep it doesn’t make much sense to be isolated 3.5km away from the centre. There are lots of affordable options around north of Preter Park such as Hotel Vienna, Hotel Cristall and Meininger Hotel.