Alysia Reza

Alysia Reza

Published: 14 Sep 2023


Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, better known as Nilton Santos Stadium, is a legendary landmark located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This iconic stadium has a rich history and is renowned for hosting major international sporting events, including the 2016 Summer Olympics. With a seating capacity of approximately 46,000 spectators, it is not only a remarkable sports venue but also a symbol of Brazilian sports culture and passion.

As we delve into the remarkable facts about Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, get ready to be astounded by the incredible feats and memorable moments that have taken place within its hallowed walls. From record-breaking performances to architectural wonders, this article will take you on a captivating journey through the history and significance of this extraordinary stadium.

Table of Contents

A Modern Marvel

Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, also known as Nilton Santos, is a modern marvel located in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Capacity Like No Other

With a staggering seating capacity of 46,931, this iconic stadium holds the record for being the largest in Brazil.

A Tribute to a Legend

The stadium is named after João Havelange, a legendary Brazilian football player and former president of FIFA.

Hosting Glory

Estádio Olímpico João Havelange played a crucial role in the 2016 Summer Olympics, where it served as the main venue for track and field events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

A Sustainable Structure

The stadium is an architectural marvel, designed with sustainability in mind. It features a rainwater harvesting system and a solar panel array that contributes to its energy needs.

Home to Botafogo

Estádio Olímpico João Havelange is the home stadium for Botafogo Football Club, one of the most renowned clubs in Brazil.

A Multi-Purpose Venue

Aside from football matches, the stadium also hosts other sporting events, concerts, and cultural performances, making it a versatile and vibrant venue.

A Lifetime of Construction

Construction of the stadium began in 2003 and took a remarkable 13 years to complete, with several delays and setbacks along the way.

Innovative Architecture

The stadium features a unique roof structure that resembles waves, paying homage to Brazil’s close ties to the ocean and its vibrant coastal culture.

Historical Significance

Estádio Olímpico João Havelange holds great historical significance as it hosted football matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, leaving a lasting legacy in the world of football.

Safe and Secure

The stadium boasts state-of-the-art security systems, ensuring the safety and well-being of all spectators and participants during events.

A Spectacular Opening

The grand opening of the stadium took place on March 30, 2007, with a friendly match between the national teams of Brazil and Chile.

A Community Hub

Estádio Olímpico João Havelange has become a significant hub for the surrounding community, offering recreational facilities and hosting various community events.

The Greenest Stadium

The stadium is recognized for its environmental stewardship and holds the highest sustainability certification, making it one of the greenest stadiums in the world.

Technology at its Finest

The stadium boasts advanced technological features, including state-of-the-art video screens, high-definition sound systems, and a wireless network for seamless connectivity.

Memorable Matches

Estádio Olímpico João Havelange has witnessed numerous exciting matches throughout its history, creating cherished memories for football fans around the globe.

The Heart of Rio

Situated in the vibrant neighborhood of Engenho de Dentro, the stadium is a center of attraction for locals and tourists alike.

An Architectural Icon

The stadium’s eye-catching design and curved façade have made it an architectural icon, drawing admiration from visitors and critics alike.

A Legacy for Generations

Estádio Olímpico João Havelange is not just a stadium; it is a symbol of Brazil’s passion for sports, culture, and unity, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.

These 19 unbelievable facts about Estádio Olímpico João Havelange (Nilton Santos) only scratch the surface of the stadium’s rich history and significance. From its grand opening to its sustainable design, this iconic venue continues to captivate both locals and visitors, serving as a testament to Brazil’s love for sports and its commitment to creating unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re a football enthusiast or simply admire impressive architectural landmarks, a visit to Estádio Olímpico João Havelange is an absolute must when exploring the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro.


Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, also known as Nilton Santos, is truly a remarkable landmark with a rich history and impressive features. From its unique design to its significant role in hosting major sporting events, this stadium continues to captivate visitors from all around the world. Its capacity, state-of-the-art facilities, and architectural marvel make it a standout destination for sports enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Whether you are interested in its distinctive roof structure, the memorable events that have taken place within its walls, or the legacy it holds as an Olympic venue, Estádio Olímpico João Havelange offers something for everyone. Exploring this landmark is like stepping into a world of sporting excellence and grandeur.

When visiting Rio de Janeiro, make sure to include Estádio Olímpico João Havelange on your itinerary. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of the stadium and let the awe-inspiring architecture and history of this landmark leave an indelible impression on your memory.


1. What is the capacity of Estádio Olímpico João Havelange?

The stadium has a seating capacity of approximately 46,931 spectators.

2. What is the significance of the stadium’s roof structure?

The roof structure is one of the stadium’s most distinctive features. Inspired by the surrounding landscape of Rio de Janeiro, it resembles the profile of a mountain range.

3. Has the stadium hosted any major events?

Yes, Estádio Olímpico João Havelange has hosted numerous significant sporting events, including matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the athletics competitions during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

4. Can visitors take guided tours of the stadium?

Yes, visitors have the opportunity to take guided tours of the stadium, where they can explore the facilities, learn about its history, and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of sports.

5. Is Estádio Olímpico João Havelange accessible to people with disabilities?