As we reported to you earlier, the Finnish public broadcaster YLE has received bids from seven cities to host the upcoming contest. From the Finnish capital Helsinki, YLE received bids from two venues. We give you a closer look into the seven potential host cities for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest and their bids, proceeding with Espoo, Tampere and Lahti.
City of Espoo
Espoo, a city where 230,000 people live, is a city on the Southern coast of Finland. It is part of the Helsinki metropolitan area along with Helsinki, Vantaa and Kauniainen. It's decentralised nature has led to Espoo being jocularily called "Finland's only highway with city privileges". Another soubriquet is "Los Angeles of Finland", meaning no decent city center but a cluster of area centers. Nevertheless, YLE received a serious bid to host the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest.
The only considerable venue Espoo has to offer is the LänsiAuto Areena, which can host up to 6,800 people. The arena hosted its first event in 1999. Although the venue has a relatively small capacity, it's not significantly less than the Saku Suurhall, where the 2002 contest took place, and the Skonto Hall, the 2003 venue.
Although Espoo has a good infrastructure, the city itself has only 15 hotels, which almost rules out the place to host the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest. Unless, the bid contains a creative solution to this weakness, we won't be going to Espoo next year…
One potential venue in Tampere
Tampere, 200,000 inhabitants, is a city in southern Finland located between two lakes: Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi. Since the two lakes differ in level by 18 metres, the Tammerkoski rapids linking them have been an important power source throughout history, most recently for generating electricity. Tampere has always been an important railway junction, because tracks from many parts of the nation merge there. The city also has an airport, Tampere-Pirkkala airport, which connects with several Scandinavian cities, as well as Helsinki, but can also be reached with low-cost airline Ryanair.
With a capacity of 7,800 people, the Hakametsä venue is the only suitable venue in Tampere. Nevertheless, the city has a limited amount of accomodation facilities. Just like Espoo… unless Tampere comes up with a creative solution for the accomodation challenge, it won't be Tampere hosting the 52nd edition of the contest.
100 kilometers from capital Helsinki, we can find the city of Lahti. Lahti has almost 100,000 inhabitants and it's best known for its annually held World Cup winter games called Salpausselän kisat. Lahti also harbours cultural ambitions, and recent years saw the building of the large congress- and concert center, the Sibelius Hall (photo). This has sparked much controversy amongst the population, many of whom feel that the money used for these purposes would be better spent on health care and education (source: Wikipedia). However, the Sibelius Hall is more suitable for orchestra concerts instead of pop concerts and events like the Eurovision Song Contest. The city also has the Lahden Jäähalli to offer, with a modest capacity of 8,000.
Although the venue is obviously the weakest link of Lahti, the city and its surrounding areas have quite a lot of accomodation opportunities. Relatively close to Helsinki, the city can benefit from the capital's infrastructure when it comes to international connections. However, as the city doesn't stand out in any of the requirements to host a Eurovision Song Contest, a 2007 contest in Lahti seems unthinkable.
- Lahti's official travel portal
- The official city of Lathi website
- The Sibelius Hall website
- The Lahden Jäähalli website