Last Friday — on the 28th of August — Dutch broadcaster NPO finally revealed its hand. Rotterdam has been given the honour of welcoming the Eurovision family in 2020 as the host city. The very impressive Rotterdam bidbook was made public afterwards, and we’ve already pulled out the most important details — like the potential of a “recycled gold carpet” ahead of the opening ceremony — in a separate post.
But beyond the official announcement, even more news came out over the weekend. So we’ve taken a dive and captured a few gems and tasty nuggets that you may have missed. Get excited and let’s do this…
Sietse Bakker informed the host city candidates via telephone.
Given all the hard work and effort that both Maastricht and Rotterdam put into their bids, it’s only fair that they received notice prior to the official announcement.
Half an hour before the announcement on the Dutch national TV channel, Eurovision 2020 producer Sietse Bakker called the cities himself to inform them. This is what Sietse said to both:
Here’s a bit of what he said to Maastricht’s bid team: “I’m going to really disappoint you. We have unfortunately not chosen Maastricht. I would like to explain why. You have showed the best of what Maastricht and the province of Limburg has to offer. Unbelievable, professional and committed. And in our eyes, also very welcoming and hospitable. You have put so much energy in this, we have seen that. We acknowledge that. And therefore we find it important that we substantiate our decision.”
The phone call with Rotterdam went like this.
“NPO, NOS and AVROTROS, with the full support of the EBU, have decided that the Eurovision Song Contest of 2020 will take place in Rotterdam. And so I want to hereby, in the name of the whole team, congratulate you.”
Mayor of Rotterdam responds via video message.
” What wonderful news for Rotterdam today. In 2020, Rotterdam will host in Ahoy the biggest song contest — the Eurovision Song Contest. Big gratitude to the broadcasters and for the trust we’ve received from the organisation (EBU). Also thanks to City Councillor Kasmi, the team of Rotterdam Partners and Ahoy for working so hard the past weeks on lobbying and showing that Rotterdam can do this. Rotterdam, people of Rotterdam, people from The Netherlands, we’ll organise this grand festival together next year. And they will show themselves in the best possible way to the world. And now, there is no time to lose, City Councillor and team, roll up your sleeves and let’s keep moving to be ready in time for 2020″.
Rotterdam Ahoy joins in on the excitement.
Rotterdam Ahoy has been involved in the bidding process from the very start. Rotterdam City Councillor Kasmi has worked really closely with director of Ahoy, Jolanda Jansen, in recent weeks. The venue was eager to show itself off once again — and to prove that it’s capable of epic shows beyond the MTV Awards. The excitement shared by the Ahoy team only took the Rotterdam team higher.
“Yesssss. The Eurovision Song Contest is coming to Rotterdam. What an honour to host such a large event!”
Yeaaahh! Het Eurovisie Songfestival komt naar Rotterdam!! Wat een eer om zo’n groot evenement te mogen huisvesten. https://t.co/q0fEL4g3Jg#Rotterdam #Ahoy #Eurovision #Songfestival #Eurovisie #Netherlands #duncan #music #festival #rotterdammakeithappen pic.twitter.com/RtSklKPgnY
— Rotterdam Ahoy (@rotterdamahoy) August 30, 2019
The police force of Rotterdam will get help from across the country, as ESC has been given the official status of “National Event”.
One of the challenges that come with hosting Eurovision is safety and security. Let’s face it: it’s one of the world’s biggest events and troublemakers see opportunities to wreak havoc. Thankfully the various forces of the Police of Rotterdam fully understand that and are prepared to take the responsibility for that. To show that they’re ready to welcome the Eurovision family, the police force released a short clip a day after the announcement.
“In 2020, the Eurovision Song Contest comes to Rotterdam. To my city. And my city. To our city. To the city where we, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, work hard to secure the safety. We do this on the streets, in the air, under the ground and…on the water. We are visible and non-visible. We are here for you. And you. For everyone. So let the Eurovision Song Contest arrive, we are ready.”
— Politie Rotterdam eo (@Politie_Rdam) August 30, 2019
Speaking on the evening talkshow ‘Jinek‘, Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said that ESC2020 will be classified as a national event, which gives it elevated importance and allows for greater resourcing. He agreed this with a minister. ‘There will be a massive safety operation set up. Colleagues have been abroad in regards to that and they know what it entails. We can also use the organisation’s experience, we will use that a lot. We will mobilize a lot. I had a phone call with the minister this afternoon. It will get the official status of a national event.
In terms of the Dutch government structure, the official status of national event means that the national government gets involved in safety and security, including the NCTV — the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism.
Who is going to pay for Rotterdam 2020?
The province of South Holland confirmed earlier in the bidding process that it would contribute one million euros if Rotterdam was named host city. A day after the announcement, the province of South Holland has released an official statement, confirming their support and contribution.
Ding-a-dong! Euphoria! #Songfestival 2020 naar Zuid-Holland! Gefeliciteerd @Rotterdam! J’aime la vie! De komende maanden samenwerken aan een feestje voor de hele regio! #esf2020 #eurovision ? pic.twitter.com/rubHWPWlXH
— Provincie Zuid-Holland (@zuid_holland) August 30, 2019
The city of Rotterdam itself will be responsible for a large portion of the finances. During the press conference in Rotterdam, City Councillor Kasmi said that the city will contribute a ‘significant amount’. Apparently it’s been agreed within the city council that the amount of money that Rotterdam contributes will remain a secret until September. Kasmi was repeatedly asked about this, but stuck to his script.
And then there is the contribution (or non-contribution) from the Dutch Government. Almost immediately after Duncan Laurence’s win in May, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the Dutch Government would not contribute to the financing of Eurovision. However, NPO Head of Board Shula Rijxman stated last Friday evening that she will ask the government for between 15 and 20 million euros. Appearing on the talkshow Jinek — alongside Sietse Bakker and Mayor Aboutaleb — Shula said:
“We are going to ask the government for a contribution. The public broadcaster has cut costs a lot. There is again a budget cut on its way to us. This is a great event that can put The Netherlands economically and culturally on the map. It’s really a festival for and from The Netherlands. And therefore we will also ask the government for funding. It’s only now possible to make the budget overview, so we still need to look into it, but it will be an amount in between 15 and 20 million.”
Disappointment in Maastricht
Make no mistake, Maastricht really, really wanted this. So it’s no surprise that the disapointment in the southern city was huge. TV broadcaster 1Limburg (the TV station of the province of Limburg) has made a summary of the different responses on the loss by Maastricht. But the broadcaster also showed they are good sports: Since Friday the broadcaster’s official Facebook page has read: ‘Congratulations Rotterdam!’
“I congratulate Rotterdam. They really deserve it. But for us it’s an absolute disappointment. We have worked hard. We have shown that we can do this and that we have great things to offer.”
She later added in an interview: “Yes, disappointed, we didn’t get it. It doesn’t matter, as long as we can as The Netherlands pull off a great show. I have called my colleague from Rotterdam (Mr. Kasmi) and wished him congratulations and told him to make something great of it. Something we can all be proud of.”
MECC’s director admits that he has shed a few tears. The city previously came second with their bid for European Capital of Culture (they lost to Leeuwarden). Violist and orchestra leader André Rieu, also shares in the disappointment. Being born in Maastricht and a musician himself, he showed active support for the bid and even joined the delegation for the handover of the bidbook. In various Dutch media he congratulated Rotterdam and stated that despite the disappointment, he is proud that ESC is coming to the Netherlands. Producer Sietse Bakker confirmed during the press conference in Rotterdam that Maastricht lost mostly because of the limitations of the venue MECC.
Rotterdam wants an inclusive Eurovision.
During the press conference and also in the Rotterdam bid book, Rotterdam stressed above all that it wants an inclusive Eurovision. This means the focus will be on the long history that Rotterdam has with migrants (Chinese dock workers, immigrants from Suriname/Caribbean), the LGBT community, people with lower incomes (via the Rotterdam pass) and, of course, Rotterdammers at large. Council Kasmi reiterated this during the press conference.
Eurovision Village: Two locations are in the running
City Council Kasmi has confirmed during the press conference that there are two locations currently in the running to host Eurovision Village. But they cannot reveal which ones just yet. They are now in the process of talking to the people that live close to those locations to make sure that the neighbourhood is informed. The two locations are very suitable according to City Councillor Kasmi. Eurovillage should be widely open to everyone, especially to people with a limited income.
Tickets go on sale before Christmas — and the Mayor says “180 euros” is too much.
During the press conference in Rotterdam, Sietse Bakker confirmed that everything will be done to put tickets on sale before Christmas.
‘It’s important that you are accessible for a wide group of people. We are taking that into account. We can’t give any details, we are just 100 days underway. But it’s our intention to have tickets on sale before the end year. Who doesn’t want to find an ESC ticket under the Christmas tree?
Bakker reiterated that during the Jinek talkshow that they want ESC2020 also to be accessible for people with a lower income. Mayor Aboutaleb said in response that he thinks 180 euros for a ticket is too much. So we are hoping for affordable tickets, y’all!
Nothing revealed yet about the hosts.
Shula Rijxman (Head of Board) confirmed that nothing is known yet about the hosts. She did say that NOS/NPO has a good stable of talent, probably ruling out the possibility that the hosts will come from any other TV group. During the Jinek, Shula joked that she was also looking at Jinek, one of the names that has been circulating as a rumour. Both Sietse and Shula said they expect the hosts to be decided in a few months.
Are you excited for Rotterdam 2020? Will you be joining the party in The Netherlands? Let us know in the comment section below!