On Friday 30 August 2019, Rotterdam was announced as the Host City for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. What does this city have to offer for the 65th Contest? Let's find out!
When you ask someone to describe Rotterdam, words like 'diverse', 'creative', 'innovative' and 'dynamic' are often mentioned. Those are indeed in line with what Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer Event, and Jolanda Jansen, CEO of Rotterdam Ahoy, had to say about the city. "We are a young, vibrant and international city," Jolanda told us. "We described this in our bid book as well. Rotterdam fits well with what the Eurovision Song Contest stands for. We want to bring people together, and with 175 different cultural backgrounds in one city, it really fits."
About the city
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands, only out-sized by Amsterdam. It is located in the province of South Holland, a one-hour drive from the international Schiphol Airport. The birth of the city dates back to 1270 when a dam was built on river Rotte, and a community settled around it for safety.
Since then, Rotterdam hasn't stopped growing; it is now home to almost 650.000 people and 175 different nationalities. Rotterdam is also home to Europe's largest port where 469 million tonnes of goods transferred through last year. From a logistical point of view, the Europoort is of great importance when it comes to the import and export of goods for Europe.
During the Second World War, the city centre of Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed. This resulted in a re-build with a varied architectural landscape, designed by renowned Dutch architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Piet Blom and Ben van Berkel.
Rotterdam has become world-famous because of this architecture. Throughout the years the city has been nicknamed 'Manhatten at the Meuse'; the Meuse is a major European river which rises in France and flows through Belgium and the Netherlands. The city has 38 skyscrapers, with many more planned or under construction.
If you plan to visit Rotterdam for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, be sure to take a walk along the Erasmus Bridge, one of the most iconic bridges in the Netherlands. It's named after Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch philosopher and Christian Humanist who is widely considered to have been the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance.
After walking along the Erasmus Bridge, you can continue on to the Markthal for a delicious meal. The Markthal is a roofed market with food stands that offer treats from all over the world.
Rotterdam is familiar with hosting large events. Each April, thousands of runners from all over the world travel to the city to run the world-famous marathon. It is also home to a spectacular annual summer carnival, with a colourful street parade and many other festivities attached. The city also hosts Rotterdam Pride each September, and the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament where over 120.000 visitors attend.
Rotterdam is also home to Ahoy, the venue from which the Semi-Finals and Grand Final of the Contest will be broadcast to nearly 200 million people worldwide.
Jolanda Jansen, CEO of Ahoy, told us about why the venue is so suitable for an event of this magnitude: "It has an arena which is renovated in 2011, with the ability to hold heavy equipment, and the acoustics are amazing. Besides the arena, we also have a lot of exhibition space, all under one roof. This is perfect for the press centre and delegation bubble."
Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest added: "It is a very modern venue and has lots of capacity. There are much more audience seats than in past years and it has lots of side facilities around the venue."
As you can see, Rotterdam and Ahoy have lots to offer Eurovision fans during their stay and the city is just as excited to host as fans around the world are to visit.