Rotterdam braces for Eurovision 2020

The port city triumphed over Maastricht to host the beloved musical spectacle.

    Dutch balladeer Duncan Laurence secured the Netherlands's first Eurovision victory since 1975 [Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]
    Dutch balladeer Duncan Laurence secured the Netherlands's first Eurovision victory since 1975 [Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]

    "This could be Rotterdam or anywhere, Liverpool or Rome," sang The Beautiful South in their 1996 hit.

    But it is not Liverpool or Rome that has been selected to host next year's Eurovision Song Contest - it is, in fact, Rotterdam.

    The Dutch port city will host the 65th edition of the cheesy songfest in 2020, organisers said on Friday, after it triumphed over its only other rival, the southern town of Maastricht.

    With his piano ballad Arcade, singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence beat 25 other performers to win this year's contest in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, an event marked by an international boycott campaign over Israel's ongoing military occupation of the Palestinian territories.

    It was the first time the Netherlands won the contest since 1975.

    As the winning nation, the Netherlands automatically becomes the host of the next round of the world's biggest live music event, which reached more than 180 million viewers worldwide in 2019.

    The semi-finals will be held on May 12 and 14, and the final will take place on May 16 in Rotterdam's Ahoy Arena.

    Europe's biggest seaport and the second-biggest city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam had been the favourite to win in a poll on the Eurovision website, which gave it 57 percent out of roughly 26,000 votes, compared with 43 percent for Maastricht.

    Several other Dutch cities, including the capital Amsterdam, had already dropped out in a months-long bidding race to host the competition.

    By Friday, 34 countries had expressed interest in participating in the competition organised by the European Broadcasting Union. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies