The Dutch singer Duncan Laurence won the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night, and now cities across the Netherlands are feverishly preparing offers to host the festival next year. Leeuwarden alderperson Sjoerd Feitsma says that Leeuwarden and Friesland will be throwing their hat into the ring.
Translation by Traci White
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that Feitsma says the city and province will be submitting a formal letter presenting themselves as a potential host destination. The Dutch public broadcaster NPO will ultimately decide which city and venue will get to host the high-profile and extremely expensive event.
Big cities in the west – Maastricht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam – have already put themselves forward, all of whom have multiple large venues that could host the thousands of musicians, technicians, fans and journalists. Feitsma says that Friesland and Leeuwarden’s recent experience as a European Capital of Culture in 2018 gives them a leg up over other would-be hosts.
Leeuwarden’s biggest venue is the WTC Expo, which hosted “De Stormruiter” during LF2018 and can fit up to 30,000 people. The Thialf ice skating rink in Heerenveen has a capacity for 12,500 people. Arno Brok, the King’s Commissioner in Friesland, and outgoing Leeuwarden mayor Ferd Crone are also in favour of the city hosting the event, which draws thousands of fans to the host city and millions of viewers across Europe.
Whichever city ends up hosting the event will be faced with a steep bill: on average, the live finale of the ESF cost between 15 and 30 million euros. Around six million euros is covered by the broadcasters, but the remainder had to be paid for by the hosting country. NRC writes that it may be difficult for the broadcasters to cough up their share of the funding: the channels have been undergoing budget cutbacks in recent years, and prime minister Mark Rutte has said that the government will not be footing the bill.
De Volkskrant reports that even though the events is treated as an hours-long promotional opportunity for the host countries, the increased tourism revenues associated with the event does not come close to covering the investment.
The Groninger Internet Courant reports that even the Frisian Wadden island of Schiermonnikoog, with its population of 947 inhabitants, has nominated itself to host the massive event (in jest): island mayor Ineke van Gent tweeted on Saturday night that the island should get the honour because it is always the first place in the country to complete counting its votes on election night.