The following Dutch cities are in the race to become Host City of the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest: Arnhem, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Maastricht, Rotterdam and Utrecht. After pitching their city and ideas to Dutch public broadcasters NPO, AVROTROS and NOS, the representatives handed their bid books to Shula Rijxman, chairperson of the board of directors of Dutch Member NPO.
No effort was spared by representatives of the 5 cities. They travelled in large numbers to Hilversum - the Netherlands' media city - this morning. Utrecht handed over their bid book via bicycle courier, Maastricht brought champagne and a brass band and 's-Hertogenbosch came with their famous pastries Bossche bollen. Rotterdam brought a suitcase with their bid book and a singer from Arnhem brought an ode to Duncan Laurence.
Shula Rijxman said: "The enthusiasm and attention these five cities bring in their bid books is fantastic. It is an extensive job, which is already being embraced by the Netherlands. But which city it will be in the end? I want to thank all the cities for the work they have done and I already look forward to a wonderful event with all these wonderful proposals."
First up: Utrecht. On why the city sent a bicycle courier with their bid book: “Utrecht wanted to be playful and different, two words which describe Utrecht perfectly. But also because it is healthy, quirky and sustainable. It suits the city,” said Karen Poot who cycled over 20 kilometers from Utrecht to Hilversum.
Next up was the Mayor of Maastricht: Annemarie Penn-te Strake.
She presented the bid book and said: "We have been working really hard over the past 2 months, and that process has brought us so much already. We can do this, we can deliver what has been asked. Maastricht is a city in a region which values unity, quality, reliability and creativity."
Representing ’s-Hertogenbosch was councillor culture and city marketing Mike van der Geld: “We want to create a Eurovision party. We stand for innovation and creation, but also for tradition, hospitality and we are very Burgundian. The Brabanthallen are located perfectly, and we can facilitate in everything because of our knowledge.”
The bid book was delivered inside a box with lights, a reference to Brabant, a popular song by Dutch singer Guus Meeuwis. The lyrics of the song are printed inside the box: “En dan denk ik aan Brabant” (and then I think of Brabant), “want daar brandt nog licht” (because the lights are still on there).
The third city to hand over their bid book was Rotterdam, the city that hosted the Junior Eurovision Song Contest back in 2007.
Councillor of culture Said Kasmi presented the bid book: “The Eurovision Song Contest is about being yourself, diversity, inclusivity and those are words which describe our city as well with our inhabitants of 175 different nationalities. The Eurovision Song Contest also stands for talent, development and giving that talent a stage. We do the same in Rotterdam. We want to give the viewers an unforgettable memory.”
Last in line to present their bid book was Arnhem. Mayor Ahmed Marcouch had the honour of pitching the bid book, which was wrapped in the same fabric as Duncan Laurence's clothes which he wore during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Marcouch: "We are very proud that the Netherlands will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020 and we want to thank Duncan for that. Arnhem is a very hospitable city, and everyone knows its history and story when you think about the battle of Arnhem. We will celebrate 75 years of freedom in 2020 and in relation to that, the Eurovision Song Contest isn’t only about the songs, but also about the deeper values: the togetherness, the connection with each other and celebrating brotherhood and freedom."
The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest Core Team will evaluate the various bid books over the next few weeks and schedule city visits. The team aim to choose the Eurovision 2020 Host City in August, so stay tuned!