Helsinki passes the torch to Belgrade

by Stella Floras 68 views

Today at 14.00 in a ceremony held at the Belgrade Town Hall the first ever Eurovision Host City Exchange took place. Lord Mayor of Helsinki Mr Jussi Pajunen, handed over a symbolic key ring to the Deputy of the Lord of Belgrade Ms Radmila Hrustanovic.

"Now, that I have met the great people in Belgrade and saw your beautiful city, I am sure that the next Eurovision Song Contest will be one to remember", said Mayor Pajunen during the ceremony.

"Culture opens all doors, culture connects, culture makes dialogue possible, and the event today is proof of that", said deputy mayor Mrs Hrustanovic. She expressed her hopes that 400 million TV viewers will see and remember Belgrade and that everyone who visits the city will wish to come again.

After the ceremony, Mrs Hrustanovic spoke to the press about the accommodation capabilities of the wider Belgrade area. Mrs Hrustanovic feels confident that Belgrade together with its suburban area will be able to provide ample accommodation for 3.000 journalists and 20.000 fans.

Helsinki Insignia, the key ring Mayor Pajunen handed over to Deputy Mayor Mrs Hrustanovic will be circulated in the future from one host city to the next. The whole idea for the exchange and the object itself were developed in co-operation between the City of Helsinki, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Helsinki Insignia was designed by the Anteeksi Group and manufactured by jewellery designer Taru Tonder. It is a large key ring with the following text engraved by hand: Eurovision Song Contest Host Cityfollowed by a list of all host cities with dates up to 2006. On the front, the key ring bears a plaque with the photo of Senate square during the contest. The future host cities can attach their own town gate key and symbols to the key ring.

You can see photographs of Helsinki Insignia here.

A very special thank you to Mihailo Stevanovic for his contribution to the article.

Stella Floras

Thanks to Johnny Logan and Hold me now I fell in love with the Eurovision Song Contest, a love that's been going strong ever since with undiminished passion. My first memories date back to 1977 and the lyrics of Rock bottom, Dschinghis Khan and A ba ni bi are still engraved in my brain.

I joined in 2006 as a junior editor after being invited by Barry Viniker, I soon became Senior Editor and during the 2007 contest in Helsinki I was appointed Head of Communications. Today I hold the post of Head of Human Resources and I am proud to be working with the best editorial team in the world.