Den Haag is now officially out of the race to host Eurovision 2020. The city has the capacity to welcome all the tourists and visitors that Eurovision brings. It’s proven that repeatedly as it already welcomes large numbers every year. But the city has had to throw in towel. Following a pattern we already saw with Leeuwarden, Den Haag admitted that it lacks an appropriate venue and, more specifically, a proper roof over that venue.
Well now Den Haag is supporting Rotterdam in its quest to become host city. Richard de Mos — The Hague’s councillor who was leading the bid — released a short statement on Twitter about Den Haag’s withdrawal. In the same Tweet he announced that Den Haag was throwing its weight behind Rotterdam.
Den Haag steunt Rotterdam met Bidbook #Songfestival. Geen passende locatie; daarom als regio het Songfestival binnenhalen en Den Haag daarvan laten profiteren met volle hotelkamers en leuke side-events. @rotterdamahoy @zuid_holland https://t.co/3erQgUWlPi
— Richard de Mos ? (@RicharddeMos) June 27, 2019
The Hague supports Rotterdam with its #Songfestival Bidbook. No suitable location; that is why they are bringing in the Songfestival as a region and allowing The Hague to benefit from it with full hotel rooms and fun side events. @rotterdamahoy @zuid_holland
Earlier there were rumours that Den Haag was thinking of pulling out. Neither of the two “venues” that Den Haag had in mind were realistic. The ADO Den Haag stadium lacks a roof. The alternative was a huge tent at Malieveld — that’s a big field opposite the train station. The city approached their own bid in a rational way from the start. They wanted to receive the bid book just in case they could somehow find a way to make it work.
Den Haag has now officially gotten behind Rotterdam. You could say that continues their rational approach. Rotterdam is feeling the love and they want to make sure that Den Haag will benefit if they secure the contest.
About the support from Den Haag
“It’s really great support to have from Den Haag,” Said says. “We are happy that Den Haag has explicitly spoken out to support Rotterdam from now on. If we would win the bid, it’s not only good for Rotterdam, but for the whole region, including Den Haag”.
About venues in Rotterdam and the bidbook
“We have Ahoy, and Ahoy seems to meet all the criteria to host it. We are really excited about that. So, the location is a done deal — now we are only waiting for Eurovision. We are currently working on the bid book that has to be handed over on the 10th of July. We are currently working really hard to meet that deadline. Somewhere in the first half of August we will hear if it was a good bid book or not and who can host it in the end. So the focus now is only on to hand in as good a bidbook as we can”.
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The advantages of Rotterdam
“The biggest advantage of Rotterdam is that we have the location that meets all the criteria. We also have the right infrastructure, we have the hotels. But above all, we have a lot of enthusiastic inhabitants of Rotterdam, whom all have a warm heart for Eurovision. And we have the experience of hosting big events, like the Grand Depart of the Tour De France, the MVT awards, to name just a few.”
What Rotterdam expects in terms of Return On Investment.
Kasmi admits it’s now difficult to say how much the city will benefit from organizing Eurovision financially if they win the bid. But he has looked at other cities that have hosted Eurovision before. “We see that cities that have hosted Eurovision really had an economic benefit from it — we saw numbers from it. We expect the city of Rotterdam to profit from it in the same way. Our city-marketing will be of priceless in this case.”
“Rotterdam will also benefit from it in the years to come, because of the fame it will bring to the city. Worldwide 200 million people watch the Eurovision Song Contest. People will return later to Rotterdam or visit it for the first time after Eurovision — we see that also in other cities that have hosted Eurovision. It just gives a lot of exposure. A lot of journalists are coming and they will all report live from Rotterdam. Their coverage will go over the whole world”.
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What about side events in Rotterdam during the contest?
To make sure the whole city benefits from hosting, Rotterdam is thinking about setting up extra Eurovision events throughout the city. “We are thinking about side programming, so that everyone in the city feels that Eurovision is here and that everyone in the city can enjoy it. One of the options we are thinking about is a sort of “shadow Eurovision Song Contest” with programming involving youngsters. But the final side programming is still something we working on.”
On the competition from other cities in the bidding process.
Kasmi sees all other cities that are currently in the running as serious competition, not only Amsterdam, which is a competitor since it’s the capital. “As long as they are in the race, they are in the race, and it can go to any of these cities. We focus on ourselves for now and we are going to hand in a really good bidbook. A bidbook that the organisation (EBU) can’t go around. And then it’s up to them to decide where Eurovision 2020 will be hosted.”
Lobbying for the bid.
Kasmi knows that Rotterdam holds some strong cards, but thinks Rotterdam still has to give its best. That includes a lot of lobbying work. “With Rotterdam partners we have a really good partner, who has a lot of experience in this type of lobby work to win bids for big events. The city council, together with the Mayor of Rotterdam, are also experienced in lobbying and have the right contacts and network. With that, we will give the lobbying a good go. And then it’s just waiting for the result. We are optimistic about it. Especially with Den Haag joining us and the support of the provence of Zuid-Holland, we are happy with their explicit support”.
Den Haag is second Dutch city to pull out after Leeuwarden (but before Breda). Six candidates remain: Amsterdam, Arnhem, Den Bosch, Maastricht, Rotterdam and Utrecht.