Back in June, nine cities officially declared their interest in hosting Eurovision 2020 in The Netherlands. Since then, the candidates have been dropping out like flies. Leeuwarden bowed out because its venue’s ceiling was not high enough. Breda cited financial reasons for withdrawing while Den Haag pulled out because of a lack of a suitable venue with a roof. Now, the Dutch capital Amsterdam has also fallen by the wayside, due to the lack of an available venue.
The capital of The Netherlands had three possible venues lined up to host Eurovision 2020. With all three venues capable of accommodating the demands of hosting Eurovision, a bid from the capital appeared to be a strong one. However, interest in hosting the contest has been lukewarm among city officials, primarily due to an already overwhelming amount of tourists.
Now, AD.nl reports that it has become clear that Eurovision 1970 host venue RAI Amsterdam and the Ziggo Dome are unavailable over the Eurovision period. The other possible venue — the Johan Cruyff Arena — is home to football team Ajax. The Champions League semi-finalists would be kicked out of their home stadium to accommodate the contest. As per mayor Femke Halsema, that is not on the cards.
In a statement, Mayor Halsema said the municipality of Amsterdam attempted to set up an alternative location in tents. However, the concept has proven to be too complex, leaving Amsterdam with no viable and available venue. As such, the Dutch capital is officially pulling out of the race.
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Four down, five to go
The remaining cities in the running to host are Arnhem, Den Bosch, Maastricht, Rotterdam and Utrecht. Utrecht is also considering withdrawal due to financial reasons but remains in the race for now. Amsterdam’s withdrawal means Rotterdam is shaping up as the favourite with 2019 winner Duncan Laurence supporting the bid. The city of Dordrecht — Zuid-Holland’s fifth largest city — has thrown its weight behind the Rotterdam bid. This follows Den Haag also endorsing Rotterdam’s bid. If they win, Rotterdam hopes to put on an 8-week spectacle for the contest’s 65th edition.
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Arnhem is stepping up its game, however. The province of Gederland has promised to make a financial contribution if their bid is successful. While an exact figure has not been announced, the assistance certainly makes Arnhem’s bid more feasible. Arnhem’s potential host venue is the GelreDome, home of football club Vitesse Arnhem. The bid would involve the football club having to play its home games elsewhere in the lead up to and during Eurovision 2020.
Regardless of which of the five wins, Amsterdam’s withdrawal means that Eurovision is headed to a city which has never hosted the contest before. The 2020 contest will be the third consecutive edition to be hosted in a brand new host city, following Lisbon and Tel Aviv.
Are you sad about Amsterdam’s withdrawal? Which of the remaining cities would you like to see host the contest? Let us know in the comments below.