Eurovision 2020 – What’s been said so far?

The Rotterdam Ahoy - home for the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest
The Rotterdam Ahoy - home for the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest

The orange victory banners have been taken down in Hup Holland Hup and the last empty Heineken can swept from Dutch gutters. Already, more or less every city in Nederland has plans to claim a slice of the 2020 Eurovision pie.

The EBU provides guidelines for hosting the contest. The ideal venue seats around 10,000 and has space for 1,500 journalists alongside the green room and delegate facilities. It should be free of pillars that obstruct the view and have a ceiling height of at least 16 metres. The host city needs at least 2,000 hotel beds spread across a range of prices. There must be a nearby international airport and good public transport.

Amsterdam, Amsterdam …

Let’s start with likely hosting cities. Amsterdam residents have, in recent years, complained that their city has been overwhelmed by tourism, forcing out those who want to make the city their home. Housing costs, public disorder and the character of neighbourhoods are all seen as concerns.

At the start of May, the Dutch tourist board announced plans to stop actively promoting the city as a tourist destination because of concerns that its cities and attractions are becoming overcrowded.

Despite this, Danny Damman, of the Amsterdam Ziggo Dome believes his venue could stage the show.

Rotterdam or anywhere

Focus has moved in the Dutch press to Rotterdam. The Ahoy stadium has been home to previous editions of the Dutch national final and the North Sea Jazz Festival. Work is already underway to expand the 15,000 capacity with a new 2,500 seater music venue, due to open by 2020. The city itself has the right infrastructure and is easily reached by train from Schiphol.

Ahoy director, Jolanda Jansen noted: ‘We’ve had a sneak peek at the diary and we should be able to do it with a bit of creative rejigging to free up the concert hall and the spaces around it.’

The Mayor of Utrecht, Jan van Zanen, has stated that the city will put in a bid. The Jaarbeurs is favoured. It hosts major exhibitions and concerts, and would offer a capacity similar to that seen in Tel Aviv. Like Rotterdam, it’s easily reached from Schiphol and the city boasts plenty of hotel beds, with overflow into nearby Amsterdam.

Ruud van Diedenhoven, of the World Forum Theatre in The Hague, said the city (that previous staged Eurovision in 1976 and 1980) was the obvious choice. In an interview with Nieuwsuur, he suggested ADO Den Haag’s home ground the Cars Jeans stadium would be its natural home, adding: ‘It doesn’t have a roof, but there are ways of solving that.

St. Elsewhere

Away from the big cities in the industrialised part of the country, less well-known towns and cities have thrown their keys into the fruit bowl.

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to get carried away and that’s what might have happened with the Zwolle IJsselhallen. Zwolle (population 125,000) is 93km away from Schiphol, and whilst the hall can cater for up to 16,000, the town lacks the required hotel bed capacity. Willem Uitentuis said his venue was ready, ‘We have plenty of options between mid-April and the end of May.’

Elsewhere, Rob van der Wiel made his case for the Maastricht Mecc exhibition centre: ‘For this opportunity to raise the profile of our city we will pull out all the stops to host.’

The plucky province of North Brabant (confusingly for non-Dutchies in the south of the country) is also said to be considering a bid – even though there’s no suitable closed-in arena available, or airport, or hotel infrastructure.

There is also interest from Arnhem, Leeuwarden and Den Bosch.

Working together

In the Netherlands, public broadcasters share airtime on the free-to-air public channels. Three have confirmed they’ll work together to stage the 65th Eurovision Song Contest. NPO, AVROTROS and NOS will each play a role.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte ruled out  taxpayer funds to cover the estimated €30 million bill, adding that Sweden staged the 2016 Eurovision on half that amount.

When then?

So far two weekends in May are tipped by fan sites. 16 and 23 May.