The Netherlands is easing restrictions on concert venues. That’s the big takeaway for Eurovision fans following the last COVID-19-related press conference before the summer holidays. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that earlier restrictions on concert venues will be loosened, but social distancing rules will remain in place until further notice. As you’d expect, Eurovision 2021 organisers were watching closely. Executive Producer Sietse Bakker tweeted that “careful optimism about the year ahead is appropriate.”

In their fight against COVID-19, the Dutch government put the Netherlands in lockdown back in March. This led to the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, which was supposed to take place in May.

These efforts have helped shield The Netherlands and protect its health care system. Thankfully, the number of hospitalisations due to coronavirus has been on a downward trend over the past two months. That means the Dutch government, like many others across Europe, can now ease restrictions across several sectors, and that includes culture.

In short, this means that the Eurovision 2021 venue Ahoy is allowed to open from July 1.

How is Ahoy Rotterdam allowed to re-open?

Concert venues such as Ahoy in Rotterdam, which was specially mentioned by Mark Rutte, are allowed to host events again. Nevertheless, they must adhere to strict rules and restrictions. Here are the most important ones.

  • All attendees must do a pre-check confirming that they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. This is a questionnaire, not an actual test for coronavirus.
  • All attendees have to be seated and remain seated for the duration of the event.
  • A distance of 1.5 metres is required between each attendee. This is also the case for families and people living in a common household.
  • Attendees are not allowed to scream, shout or sing loudly during the event. This rule is also in force in football stadiums and places of worship. Only those on stage are allowed to perform, and they must maintain distance from each other. Advice is forthcoming on specific rules for choirs and singing ensembles.

Naturally, it’s impossible to know whether these rules will still be in place by the time of Eurovision 2021. The pandemic is unpredictable. However, both Mark Rutte and Hugo de Jonge underlined that they do not expect to return to a stricter lockdown as long as people adhere to the rules. At the same time, they did say that they encourage people to follow social distancing guidelines until a vaccination or treatment against COVID-19 is in use.

Eurovision will come back better prepared

Meanwhile, the preparations for Eurovision 2021 are in full swing. The date of the Grand Final has been set for 22 May 2021.

Former Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand said the EBU is better prepared to organise next year’s contest. As part of that, the EBU relaxed the rule that previously said all the vocals have be performed live. Instead, the delegations may opt to use pre-recorded backing vocals. It’s thought this will help them save money and reduce the size of their delegations in Rotterdam.

In Hilversum, the production for Eurovision 2021 is also going ahead. The Dutch broadcaster recently appointed Astrid Dutrénit as the new Executive Producer, alongside re-appointed executive producer Sietse Bakker.

Read all our Netherlands news here.

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Alex
Alex
11 days ago

Attendees are not allowed to scream, shout or sing loudly during the event. —> this is ridiculous, they know they cannot force anyone not to scream or sing.

Also, the distance will not be respected and they cannot really put seats with 1.5m distance in the arena.

I think Eurovision will do take place but it will be completely different from what we know so far. UNLESS they found a vaccine/drug for coronavirus.

I believe they might make the arena even smaller so that they don’t have to show empty seats and they would need to redesign the seats plan.

Eurovision fan
Eurovision fan
13 days ago

I hope for 11 months the arena will work normally

Denis
Denis
14 days ago

How do you stop people from shouting and singing along? That is the point with concerts!
Would make it a very sombre event.

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
14 days ago

Maybe we can snap with our fingers like they do at jazz concerts in movies

Joe
Joe
14 days ago

If worse comes to worse and Eurovision 2021 is run this way, it won’t be that different from pre-late ’90s contests where the audiences were mostly calm and observant. Just more flags and Union Jack costumes than ties and tails.

On the bright side, this is very encouraging on the whole! Looks like things are starting to slowly but surely ramp up.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
14 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I’ve been thinking about this, like maybe they could turn it into a retro Eurovision experience, with audience members in pearls and gowns and tuxedos. And how do you stop a crowd from cheering and singing along? Instead of an audience warm-up act, there would need to be someone to get the audience into a calm, chilled-out state!

Joe
Joe
14 days ago

Send on Serhat to tell everyone to calm down in his dulcet tones. Rather than the cranky Israeli lady who told everyone to shut up and stop waving their goddamn flags during the songs with heavy pyrotechnics.

Jonas
Jonas
14 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Even back then, though, the audience members weren’t 1.5 metres apart from each other.

Joe
Joe
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Worse comes to worse, they can just tie their flags around their faces to use as masks.