Måneskin Eurovision May 2021 Billboard 1548 1622217944
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The hearts of all the Eurovision fans in Rotterdam started beating faster in 2019. After the Dutch singer Duncan Laurence won the Eurovision Song Contest, the city of Rotterdam was selected to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020. Rotterdam Festivals was commissioned by the municipality of Rotterdam to set up and coordinate an extensive City Programme to accompany this international event in order to promote the city to a global audience (of over 180 million viewers!) and to let everyone living in Rotterdam enjoy this exciting music event. Unfortunately, the 2020 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. A year later the 2021 edition went ahead, but it faced severe lockdown restrictions.


A party for everyone! That’s what the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam was all about. We really did our very best to make it just that: a party for as many people as possible – despite the Covid measures. It did not become a major offline event with a large crowd celebrating on the streets of Rotterdam as planned initially, but an extensive event that mainly took place online. There were hundreds of activities, organized by a project team at Rotterdam Festivals and more than 40 organisations in the city of Rotterdam. Thanks to the efforts of so many citizens here in Rotterdam, the Eurovision Song Contest was enjoyed and celebrated by many – even if it was only online like the spectacular Eurovision Village events.

There were daily events near the count-down clock in Rotterdam’s Museum Park in the run up to the Eurovision Song Contest.


The City Programme to accompany the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021 was clearly visible, both on social media and on television. We produced 5 episodes and a compilation with RTV Rijnmond (the regional radio and television broadcasting corporation). With OPEN Rotterdam we produced 9 daily talkshows. The people of Rotterdam submitted their own version of a famous Eurovision song or a new song written and performed especially. So much talent!


The City Programme was also clearly visible on the streets of Rotterdam. In the shopping areas, on weekly market days, in care homes for the elderly, and at the children’s hospital Sophia Kinderziekenhuis. Every event was 100% Covid-proof of course. For example, there were concerts on rooftops, in the world port, in the living rooms of musicians and in theaters. Children were singing songs in schools throughout Rotterdam, and they could join in by writing their own song.


The City Programma and the Eurovision Song Contest were very good for the reputation of Rotterdam. As many as 89% of the citizens of Rotterdam were proud of their city, the events giving them a sense of confidence and connection. The City Programme scored a 7.8 out of 10. This iconic festival for music lovers became visible and tangible in the city of Rotterdam, despite the Covid restrictions. This is how the City Programme contributed to the major success of the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam.


Alderman Said Kasmi (Education, Culture & Tourism) in Rotterdam: “I am very pleased with the excellent and successful 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Rotterdam showed its best side. Our city enjoyed the international spotlights. This is really great for the city of Rotterdam – also in the longer term. Thanks to everyone who has made this happen. Many

thanks to all the citizens of Rotterdam who joined in and wholeheartedly celebrated in many creative ways.”

Alice Vlaanderen, Project Director at Host City Rotterdam: “I am very proud that in close cooperation with EBU, the broadcasting corporations organising this music event and all the Host City partners, we showed that – even during a pandemic – we were able to organise an unforgettable event.”

Nearly 100 songs were submitted to the music competition ‘Rotterdam, let’s hear you!’ As many as 75 of them were published on a YouTube channel. They enjoyed more than 35,000 views and were broadcast on the regional broadcasting corporation RTV Rijnmond.