During the Eurovision 2020 host city bidding process, Rotterdam had to put together a bid book explaining how it would welcome the world to the song contest and how it would help them fill their time. Now that it has secured the gig, it’s turning to its greatest resource — its people — to help build out activities and events.

Rotterdam is setting up a city program with the goal of having Eurovision felt throughout the city. From small festivals in specific neighbourhoods to Eurovision-themed catering, Rotterdam wants visitors (and indeed locals) to enjoy their time in the city.

You submit your ideas. If they’re into it, you may get funding to make it happen.

On the official web site of the of the Stadsprogramma Eurovisie Songfestival, organisers spell out the over-arching theme of their vision. It says: “OPEN UP TO CELEBRATING TOGETHER! The Eurovision Song Contest is OPEN to the world and Rotterdam welcomes the world with OPEN arms.”

But what exactly does the program entail? The organization describes it in the following way.

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place on 12, 14 and 16 May 2020 in Ahoy Rotterdam. Before and during Eurovision, from Friday 8 to Saturday 16 May, there will be a city program with events at different locations. The program takes place throughout the city, focusing on the city center and Zuidplein, around Ahoy Rotterdam.

Everyone can register to contribute to the city program. From experienced organizers, hospitality entrepreneurs and cultural institutions: everyone is welcome.

Rotterdam Festivals is happy to receive your plans. If you have a good idea and experience with organizing events, you can submit your plan. Rotterdam Festivals has a budget to support the best plans financially.

The organized event must meet one of the following themes:

• The theme of the Eurovision Song Contest is ‘Open Up’! The Eurovision Song Contest is OPEN to the world and Rotterdam welcomes the world with OPEN arms.

• The Eurovision Song Contest stands for connection, diversity and togetherness. We want to see this reflected – in his Rotterdam – in the program.

• Talent and creativity are paramount when choosing a city program. We are looking for a mix of genres, so that the cultural richness of the city can be seen.

• It must be a party for everyone: from young to old.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, you can write a concise and clear plan of a maximum of two A4 sheets. Explain how the idea fits in with the themes and principles above.

You submit the plan via the Rotterdam Festivals website. You can apply from the first of November until the 15th of December 2019. From 1 November you will find a registration link on their website.

The goal of the organization is to present a coherent and diverse program. The most appealing ideas from the plans received will be selected. The organization will get advice from a committee that has been specially composed for this occasion.

Do you like the concept? Do you think it fits well with the Open Up theme? Let us know in the comment section down below!

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That shows once again that it was an excellent choice of city. Judging from other Festivals, namely the North Sea Jazz Festival, I am sure they will bring Eurovision in many corners of the city. Well done!


Some interesting ideas that I’ve read before was playing all types of known and unknown ESC songs in the metro stations, shops, department stores, malls. Organise ESC (game) or karaoke events at bars. Maybe in elderly homes only keep it to the older songs from the past like ABBA or the Dutch entries for elderly so they will be engaged too. Maybe a hall of fame in the city center with small billboards honoring (winners) artists from the past with small information texts. Maybe honouring different cultures and nationalities since Rotterdam consists of almost all nationalities participating in ESC, by… Read more »


But not only ESC related; visitors will of course notice that the city is modern in the city center; since it’s the anniversary of 75 liberation from WOII try to educate visitors, not in a mourning way but in a festive optimistic way, show how the city has risen from bombed to the ground to a prosporous city with many skyscrapers under construction, with many different cultures living together and many daring outside-of-the-box architecture. Give tours for visitors through the once largest Port of the World, now largest sea port of Europe. It is what made Rotterdam big, not only… Read more »