In his Eurovision 2019 winning song, Duncan Laurence describes himself as small town boy lost in a big “Arcade”. Now that he’s made his way out of it — and into the international spotlight — he wants to bring Eurovision 2020 as close to his home as possible.
The revelation came during an interview with local news channel 1Limburg, which covers Limburg — the southernmost of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands. Its capital Maastricht is known for its world-renowned university and stunning medieval architecture. But also for being the site of the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, which led to the creation of the European Union and the euro. Those are some reasons why locals think their city should host the song contest next year.
Duncan was in the province on Monday to perform at Pinkpop — considered the oldest and best-known of all pop festivals in the country. A reporter offered Duncan a t-shirt that said, “Douze Points Maastricht.” But, as they point out in their report, it’s unlikely he’ll be wearing it any time soon.
Speaking to 1Limburg he said: “I prefer the city near to where I come from and that is Rotterdam.”
Duncan was born in Spijkenisse, a small town in South Province, and grew up in the even smaller city of Hellevoetsluis, also in South Province. While The Hague is the capital of the region, Rotterdam is the largest city and considered a major contender to host Eurovision 2020.
Rotterdam or Maastricht?
While it’s known as The Netherlands’ “second city” after Amsterdam, Rotterdam is riding a wave of cool. In recent years it has been a staple of travel magazines. Bombed heavily during the Second World War, it’s had the chance to re-invent itself with experimental architecture. It’s now known for a vibrant restaurant and food scene and cutting-edge design, as seen at its iconic Markthall.
Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena has a capacity of 15,000 and a winning track record for hosting large scale events. Among other things, it has hosted the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, the MTV Europe Music Awards and the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2007.
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Maastricht is very keen to host. On May 21 it revealed its intent in a press release uploaded to the web site of the Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Centre.
Annemarie Penn-te Strake, the mayor of Maastricht, said:
“It goes without saying that as the most European city in the Netherlands, Maastricht is putting itself forward as a candidate to host the Song Contest. MECC Maastricht has repeatedly demonstrated its abilities as an excellent organiser of major international events. Thanks to its renowned hospitality and location in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion, with Belgium and Germany literally just around the corner, Maastricht is the ideal city to represent the Netherlands and proudly welcome artists and fans from all over the world in 2020.”
Rob van de Wiel, General Director of MECC Maastricht, said:
“We have everything we need to facilitate a production like Eurovision, and Maastricht has sufficient lodging capacity and an excellent international reputation. Maastricht is the perfect fit for the Eurovision Song Contest; after all, the city is located in the heart of Europe. We’re only a few kilometres away from Germany and Belgium. I sincerely believe that the event will be held in our city for this very reason. I’m already even having dreams about it.”
As 1Limburg reports, MECC’s general director has already made sure 3,000 hotel rooms in and around the city will be available in the event it secures hosting duties.
While initial hype in the fandom suggested that Amsterdam was the obvious choice, momentum has shifted away from the most famous Dutch city.
Following Eurovision the Dutch Tourism Board — the NBTC — said they do not want Amsterdam to win this race.
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This street, the Koestraat, is one of the most vivid and cosy streets in Maastricht. During the day you can take place for a lovely lunch and in the evening this is the hotspot for a lovely diner. ? . . . . . #repost #regram [email protected] #visitmaastricht #maastricht #beautifuldestination #visitholland #netherlands #thisisholland #artofvisuals #hotspotnetherlands #bestofnetherlands #hotspotmaastricht
The NBTC, whose aim is to promote The Netherlands, argued that Eurovision is the perfect opportunity to show Europe there is more to The Netherlands than just Amsterdam.
“Please no images of romantic Amsterdam canals,” they wrote on their web site. “Use the song festival to show lesser known places in our country. In 2014 we saw Ilse de Lange and Waylon with tulips on a houseboat as an introduction to their song. In 2020, things must change.”
Do you want Duncan’s wish to come true? Are you #TeamRotterdam or #TeamMaastricht? Let us know down below!