As we’re all preparing for the Eurovision Song Contest, the questions are coming in rapidly. Where are the Netherlands going to host it? Who is going to host it? But first and foremost: When are the Netherlands going to host it? In this article, we’ll attempt to take a look at the possible Eurovision 2020 date.
The month of May
It is fair to say that the month of May has become a holy month in Eurovision circles. It is highly unlikely for the contest to be moved forward to April and moving it to June is also not really an option. That means we have five possible dates for our Eurovision Grand Final: 2, 9, 16, 23 or 30 May. Time to dive into the Netherlands’ and Europe’s events that month! We’ll rank these from least likely to most likely dates.
30th May: UEFA Champions League
The Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest is not going to take place on 30th May. EBU have always stated that the contest cannot clash with the final of the UEFA Champions League. A clash would cause both events to have a significant loss of viewers, so it is the least desirable option.
With the final of the Champions League taking place in Istanbul on 30th May, we can safely rule this date out.
2nd May: Semis in April?
The month of May is holy, we said before. With a final on the first Saturday of May, you’d have semifinals on 28th and 30th April. It would mean that the Netherlands also have way less time to actually plan the contest, with their venue being needed from mid-March onwards.
Such a short time to plan, schedule and develop is not doable, nor is it a good idea to move the semis away from May.
9th May: Liberation Day
The Netherlands have a double-header in national days at the start of May. These dates are 4th and 5th May. The Dutch remember war victims on Remembrance Day on the 4th, with celebrations kicking off a day later on Liberation Day. Once every five years, Dutch people are allowed to have a day off.
A final on 9th May would mean you’d hold the first semifinal on Liberation Day, with the jury rehearsal of that semi taking place exactly one hour after the national moment of silence on Remembrance Day. Even moreso, 2020 is the year where the Dutch have a national day off on the 5th. Surely not even Eurovision rehearsals would get in the way of that?
A further reason with 9th May is the potential clash with Formula 1. Just last week, F1 owners Liberty Media announced a return to Circuit Park Zandvoort for a race in 2020. That race is said to take place ‘as the first European race, before the Monaco Grand Prix’. They have not chosen an exact date yet, but 10th May sounds like the most logical option for the Dutch GP. With both weekend days expecting a turn-out of over 100,000 on the track, Eurovision shouldn’t clash with the event.
16th May: Rehearsals and Formula One?
There seem to be no conflicts on the 16th May. The weekend itself is potentially without any problems, except for the potential F1 race, which will take place on any of those first three Sundays in May. Therefore, any of the problems that might arise exist for the weeks of rehearsals – and potentially the Opening Ceremony. The 16th of May is the ideal date, but without the ideal circumstances.
However, many of the problems we summarised above, will be an issue for this day. If the F1 race does take place on 10th May, the organisers really wouldn’t want to schedule the Opening Ceremony of the Eurovision Song Contest on the same day. Also, taking this year’s rehearsal schedule into account, you would need to start rehearsing two weeks before the final: On 2nd or 3rd May. Once again, you would have a clash with Liberation and Remembrance Day, where the Dutch still have that day off in 2020. These days are not easy to miss out on if you’re Dutch.
If the EBU and the Dutch organisers can find a solution to work around the 4th/5th May problem and Formula 1 don’t cause an issue, 16th May is an option. The only city out of contention for that day would be The Hague, as they are hosting the Invictus Games that week.
23rd May: A German Cup Final
The 23rd is by far the least problematic date of them all. It is highly unlikely that Formula 1 is going to take place on 17th May, as the organisers promised an ‘early May’ race. Rehearsals would also not clash with the national celebrations with a contest on 23rd May. The only issue for this day is the German cup final in football being scheduled. However, it remains to be seen whether this weighs up against the potential trouble in the Netherlands with earlier dates.
There is an issue slightly earlier that week. On 21st May, the second semifinal would have to take place. That day is Ascension Day. Not a reason for the Netherlands to pull out of Eurovision if they ever had to compete in a semi on that day, but it is not ideal for a live event.
In case The Hague are awarded the hosting duties of the Eurovision Song Contest, you also would not clash with the Invictus Games taking place there until 16th May. Ahoy in Rotterdam would only need to move the Frank van Etten concert a few weeks to accomodate Eurovision. The public agenda for Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam is still empty in both April and May.
Are we heading for 23rd May as the date for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020? We’ll keep you updated on the Eurovision 2020 date as info comes in!