Nine cities entered the race to host Eurovision 2020 six days ago and now only eight are left.
That’s because Leeuwarden has today withdrawn from the bidding process due to the ceiling height of the proposed venue.
The WTC Expo roof is too low and local government has now determined it can’t be raised in time for Eurovision.
Hours after Leeuwarden announced they will withdraw due to their venue roof being too low, the city of Maastricht has come forward. Dutch outlet 1Limberg reports that the ceiling of Maastricht’s venue the Maastricht (MECC) is also too low to meet the regulations.
Maastricht’s ceiling is 12 centimeters below the regulations. However, 1Limberg reports the NPO says this is not a problem for Maastricht.
Director of the MECC Rob van de Wiel says, “We would not do this (bid for Eurovision) if we did not meet the requirements. There is no reservation whatsoever.”
Venues must meet a limit of 18 metres. Leeuwarden’s withdrawal has not referenced the exact height of their ceiling.
Speaking to Dutch outlet AD, Deputy Mayor Sjoerd Feitsma says the withdrawal is a “pity”:
“We knew from the start that the height of the WTC Expo could be a bottleneck. But you don’t miss out on the chance to bring a Eurovision Song Contest to your city. That is why we have applied ourselves with full conviction.”
The news is doubly frustrating for Leeuwarden, in light of the fact the city met all the other requirements:
“The height of the room is actually the only requirement that we cannot meet. We were confident that we could continue to manage the organization.”
Even before the Dutch broadcaster sent its’ list of demands for candidate cities, the roof issue had been investigated.
Unfortunately over the weekend it emerged raising the roof in time for the contest will not be realistic.
The NPO responded to the news to thank Leeuwarden for it’s interest:
“We as an organization are happy that the cities / regions have responded so enthusiastically,” said a spokesperson for the NPO.
The NPO, together with AVROTROS, NOS and the EBU is responsible for organizing the contest in the Netherlands.
Local government will now investigate whether it can create live viewing areas in the city to broadcast the contest in May 2020.
The withdrawal leaves eight cities in contention to host. They are: Amsterdam, Utrecht, Arnhem, Den Bosch, Maastricht, Breda, The Hague and Rotterdam.
Where do you want Eurovision to be? Do you think more cities will withdraw before an announcement is made? Let us know in the comments below