Mensen houden Rotterdam Make It Happen sjaal omhoog

The Eurovision Song Contest organization heads towards May with determination and realism

03 February

The Eurovision Song Contest will definitely be taking place in the host city of Rotterdam this year. The semi-finals and finals will be held in Rotterdam Ahoy on 18th, 20th and 22nd May 2021. We have been working on four flexible and creative scenarios since the end of March last year, in order to be able to fulfil that promise. It’s the EBU, Host Broadcaster and Host City’s joint ambition to focus on scenario B. A corona-proof Eurovision Song Contest edition, with strict observance of the one and a half meter distancing rule, which will allow all 41 artists to perform in Rotterdam Ahoy. The Municipality of Rotterdam is delighted with this choice of scenario. This scenario means we will be able to safely welcome all delegates to the city. This makes us feel both hopeful and optimistic. After all, the song contest will result in a definite boost for the local economy.

The current and expected circumstances in May mean it’s unfortunately impossible to hold a ‘normal’ Eurovision Song Contest like in previous years. The organisation is doing everything in its power to create as fantastic an edition as possible within the reality we currently find ourselves in. We will reach a decision as to whether or how much of an audience can attend the shows and/or activities in the host city of Rotterdam at a later stage.

Rotterdam is still very much looking forward to hosting the biggest music event in the world. This will naturally demand creativity and flexibility, but Rotterdam is a resilient city. That’s why the Municipality of Rotterdam, together with the Host Broadcaster (NPO/NOS/AVROTROS) and its Host City partners, have focussed on finding out exactly what is possible within the various different scenarios. The aim is to offer everyone (fans, stakeholders, Rotterdam residents) the most positive experience possible within the current situation.

It may well seem slightly odd or surreal to be thinking about festivals or parties, but we strongly feel a message of hope, an offering of perspective and to firmly place a positive dot on the horizon are all incredibly important in these trying times. The need for culture, for events and to experience things together is simply enormous.

International exposure
We still see organising the Eurovision Song Contest in Ahoy in May 2021 as a unique opportunity. And it continues to be a great opportunity for Rotterdam to be able to present itself to the world as the host city. The Municipality of Rotterdam still wants to do everything possible to get the very most out of these opportunities. It will offer both fans and Rotterdam residents perspective, whilst also offering the city’s partners and entrepreneurs some fantastic opportunities.

The Eurovision Song Contest Final generally attracts around 180 to 200 million viewers. Images of Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and Ahoy will be circulating right around the world. This will offer an opportune moment for the city to present itself to a broad and international audience, as well as the (inter)national media. This will certainly also result in numerous longer term prospects for incoming tourism and the acquisition of any possible new (international) conferences and events. Rotterdam is committed to generating maximum visibility. Sincerely hoping that people will feel inspired to visit Rotterdam once it’s safe to do so again.

“The Song Contest in Rotterdam, live from Ahoy, is a ray of light we can all look forward to together. We, as the host city, are all incredibly optimistic, enthusiastic and realistic. We are going to do everything in our power to turn this into a truly amazing event, naturally within the realm of possibility! Let’s hope this Song Contest, which will definitely be somewhat different to its 64 predecessors, will offer some fantastic opportunities for the city’s partners and entrepreneurs. But regardless: Rotterdam will open up again!”

Side Events
The Eurovision Song Contest is going to be about a great deal more than simply the shows in Rotterdam Ahoy. We have also worked on a major city programme, with all manner of different activities being organised throughout the city. There would usually also be a fan zone, referred to as the Eurovision Village, as well as a place for after parties, the EuroClub. Despite the extraordinary situation Rotterdam currently finds itself in, we are constantly looking at ways of creating a unique atmosphere for the Eurovision Song Contest fans, whether this is physical and/or digital.

  • Eurovision Village
    The host city of Rotterdam is currently looking into the possible interpretations/alternatives for the Eurovision Village. Should it be possible to set up a Eurovision Village with a limited audience, we will look into the possibilities of creating various blocks of seated areas, which (small) groups can be admitted to. We are currently not yet able to estimate whether and, if so, how much of an audience can/may be present in the Eurovision Village. The organisation will reach a decision regarding this at a later stage.
  • Euroclub
    This scenario will not include a Euroclub, nor will there be an online alternative. However, there will be an alternative as an internal occasion for the accredited delegation members.
  • City Programme
    An impressive 75 enthusiastic organisers were ready to transform Rotterdam last year, from the city centre, right through to the various individual Rotterdam neighbourhoods. It’s truly heart-warming to see these parties are still just as enthusiastic and keen to contribute to creatively interpreting the variety of activities in the city. Either online, or at various locations within the city where possible. It goes without saying they also hope certain activities will be permitted to go ahead, naturally whilst observing the one and a half meter distancing rule. But they have definitely also identified a great deal of added value and possibilities for an online programme. Exactly how the City Programme and Eurovision Village will be interpreted will be announced in due course.
  • Red Carpet Event – Opening Ceremony
    The Opening Ceremony/Red Carpet Event in this scenario will also be taking place with consideration for the RIVM’s guidelines. No visitors will be able to attend this event.

City Dressing
Rotterdam’s city dressers and artists will be using their extraordinary skills to decorate the city. This will include fashion, photography, light art, street art and insta-art. Initially mainly digitally and remotely, but they will hopefully be able to gradually start working towards visibility in Rotterdam’s streets too. Rotterdam will continue to closely monitor what’s possible, what’s permitted and what is appropriate to the Netherlands’ current situation. The exact plans will be announced at a later stage.

Positive Energy
Rotterdam wants to show the world what it’s made of. Resilient, flexible and brimming with positive energy. It’s truly fantastic to see how all the organisations involved with this major music event are so incredibly committed to turning it into something wonderful. Naturally with the aim of creating an edition of the song contest which is as beautiful and unforgettable as possible within the current circumstances. Volunteers are eager to get started and Rotterdam Ahoy is more than ready to host this amazing event. The Municipality of Rotterdam is grateful and most certainly looking forward to a very memorable edition.

“We are very happy that all parties have expressed the ambition to commit to the most optimal scenario for the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, whilst at the same time all being fully conscious of, and realistic about, the fact that we find ourselves in the midst of some very challenging times. We thereby feel very aware of the resilience and agility which are so typical of both the event sector and Rotterdam. We will do everything possible from Rotterdam Ahoy to help the team in Hilversum to extend a very warm and heartfelt welcome to the delegates and to contribute to Rotterdam’s continued promotion.”