Thursday 25 February 2021

Eurovision organisers still pinning hopes on live show in Rotterdam in May

The set for the abandoned 2020 Eurovision. Photo: NPO/AVROTROS/NOS

Organisers of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest are still hoping to put on a live show in front of an audience of thousands despite the prospect of an extended lockdown.

The event was cancelled for the first time in its history last year because of the coronavirus outbreak, but it will go ahead in Rotterdam’s Ahoy arena in May.

Organisers came up with four possible scenarios for this year’s competition in January, but have already ruled out holding an unrestricted show in front of 16,500 spectators.

A ‘socially distanced’ event is the preferred option, with all 41 acts performing live in Rotterdam and an audience of up to 80% capacity.

If more stringent conditions apply the alternatives are a ‘travel restricted’ version, with performances being streamed into the arena and a limited number of associated events in the city, and a ‘lockdown’ edition with no side events and only the hosts in the arena.

Executive supervisor Martin Österdahl said: ‘The Eurovision Song Contest will definitely make its welcome return this May despite the pandemic but, in the prevailing circumstances, it is regrettably impossible to hold the event in the way we are used to.

‘We very much hope to be able to gather in Rotterdam in May and will do all we can in the coming weeks to achieve this.’

Sietse Bakker, executive producer for the Dutch broadcasting service NOS, said he wanted to put on ‘the best possible Eurovision Song Contest under the circumstances.’

‘Our primary goal is to get the 41 artists to Rotterdam, to all perform on the same stage, and to welcome journalists to cover the contest,’ he said.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.