Eurovision 2020: Utrecht’s bid also faces challenges

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 1,167 views

Utrecht’s chances of hosting the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest are getting smaller due to lack of financial support according to the latest local media reports. With the 2020 Eurovision Host City race in full swing, it is getting more and more exciting in the Netherlands.

Jaarbeurs (Utrecht)

A week today candidate cities must submit their bidbooks to the Eurovision 2020 organizing body (NPO/AVROTROS/ NOS). The Muncipalities and City Councils of the six candidate cities are in full steam this week holding meetings and outlining their respective bids.

It seems that the City of Utrecht has to overcome certain hurdles in order to be able to host the forthcoming 2020 Eurovision Song Contest next year according to the latest news reports in the Netherlands.

Financial hurdle

The chance that the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Utrecht next year has become considerably smaller. The majority of the Utrecht City Council, unlike other candidate cities, does not have millions of euros left for the event.

Utrecht is one of the six Dutch cities that are still in the race to hold the event next year. Other candidates are Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Arnhem and Den Bosch.

The largest party on the council, GroenLinks, is not in favor of a contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest, as well as various opposition parties such as the PvdA, Stadsbelang Utrecht and the SP.

Tim Schipper (SP) says:

We have a Spring Memorandum that is tied together with adhesive tape, the money has run out. We already have the Vuelta next year and an unknown post of at least millions for the restoration of the ramparts and hermit walls. I don’t feel like earning an amount of unknown size for this party.

Reportedly, the organizing city has to come up with a substacial financial contribution. Breda’s City Council, withdrew its candicay to host the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this week due to the financial risks that entail hosting such a large scale event.

Other cities, such as Den Bosch and Arnhem, are reportedly willing to pay millions or to guarantee this.

Now that a majority of the Utrecht city council is not in favor of this, the city is at a considerable disadvantage.

Jan Wijmenga (Christian Uniono Coalition Party) says:

I do not consider the candidate position of Utrecht as promising, given the financial contribution that is likely to be made and the financial position of Utrecht.

Jaarbeurs’ roof too low to host Eurovision?

Money is not the only hurdle faced by Utrecht’s bid, the city’s proposed venue also does not meet the specified height requirement. None of the halls at Jaarbeurs are 18 meters high. This height is necessary to furnish the studio with all equipment.

Of all the potential candidate cities in the running only three venues meet the height required to host the event:

  • Gelredome (Arnhem)
  • Ahoy (Rotterdam) 
  • Brabanthallen (Den Bosch)

According to a spokesperson for the Jaarbeurs, Utrecht has “found a suitable solution”. She doesn’t want to say what that is :

We’ll put that in the bidbook.

Support for hosting Eurovision

VVD and D66 are the enthusiastic advocates for the Eurovison SOng Contest in the City Council. VVD party leader Mr.Dimitri Gilissen knows the attitude of his colleagues in the City Council:

The VVD does like a party, but it is waiting for a coherent proposal from the college. Only then can we decide how high our contribution should be.

D66 party chairman  Ms. Jony Ferket also remains optimistic. She does not yet want to comment on the costs, because it is not yet clear how high they will be for Utrecht:

I am confident that there will be a nice proposal. I think we have a good chance in terms of organization. The Jaarbeurs is a large party venue with a lot of experience.

Will Utrecht submit its Eurovision bid?

It is unclear whether a college proposal will be sent to the City Council in the short term.

A spokesperson of the Municipality of Utrecht says:

We are currently working hard with the Jaarbeurs to prepare a bid book. In that, we list wishes and requirements. On that basis, we determine whether and under what conditions we officially apply.

Utrecht an ideal Host City

  • Central location :No city other city more accessible from all parts of the Netherlands and Europe.
  • Extensive experience:  The municipality, companies and organizations in Utrecht have extensive experience in organizing major events, with the absolute highlight being the start of the Tour de France in 2015.
  • Musical city: Utrecht is a musical city. The best proof of this is at Vredenburg, where the Tivoli Vredenburg music palace attracts year in, year out crowded halls.


The 2020 Host City Bid Process

Initially a total of nine cities applied to host the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, but only six remain in the battle now.

A total of six Dutch cities/regions are in the 2020 Host City  race: 

  • Amsterdam
  • Rotterdam
  • Utrecht
  • Maastricht / Limburg,
  • Arnhem 
  • Den Bosch

Breda withdrew its application yesterday, following Leeuwarden and The Hague who have also decided not to proceed with their bids. The remaining candidates have until 10 July 2019 to submit their respective proposals to the organization via the so-called bidbook. The 2o20 ESC Host City is expected to be unveiled in August.

The Netherlands will have the grand honour of hosting the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest thanks to Ducan Laurence‘s magnificent victory in Tel Aviv last May.