Maastricht: A dangerous outsider
Venue: MECC Maastricht
Capacity: Up to 20,000
Population: 122,397 (2015)
Support from: Limburg province and surrounding cities
Maastricht is becoming a very dangerous outsider to host Eurovision 2020. Dutch media are even reporting that the EBU might prefer this one to host the contest. Mayor Annemarie Penn-te Strake is also sure her city is going to get the most prestigious gig of the year.
The city is located in the absolute south of the country. In fact, it’s closer to Luxembourg City and Brussels than it is to Amsterdam. That’s also one of the issues people in the country have with Maastricht as host city: It’s not easily accessible for the Dutch people. At the same time, it’s also why Maastricht thinks it has a good shot at hosting. They’re in the middle of the Meuse-Rhine Euregion, which also includes cities like Aachen and Liège. They call themselves ‘the most European bid’, also making a reference to the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht, which laid the foundations for the European Union as we know it today.
Maastricht is one of the most picturesque cities in the Netherlands. The lively squares and medieval sights make this a city which is definitely worth a visit. Many in the country visit Maastricht and the surrounding hills for a short weekend trip. It has a whopping 1677 national monuments, the second highest number in the country after Amsterdam. It may not be the biggest city, but definitely one of the prettiest.
Maastricht also has a minor international airport, which it shares with the German city of Aachen. Schiphol Amsterdam may not be the most logical choice to fly in from, as Eindhoven, Brussels, Liège, Cologne and Düsseldorf provide options closer to Maastricht. However, with the Dutch train network easily connecting all cities, a two hour train ride will get you from Schiphol to Maastricht in a direct transfer. The city organises many conferences and open air concerts, so plenty of hotel rooms will be available throughout the city, but the region will also help out there.
The venue Maastricht offer is the MECC, a convention centre. There are a couple of uncertainties. The roof seems rather low for a Eurovision show, but when the city confirmed its intention to submit a bid book, they said they could fulfill all Eurovision 2020 requirements… including roof height. We’re not quite sure how many people fit in the biggest hall, as numbers vary. Up to 20,000 is all we can say for now. We do however know that two of the largest halls, the Noordhal and the Zuidhal, can be connected by removing the wall inbetween them. This could be the key to make the Maastricht bid viable.
Pros: Plenty of hotel rooms in a pretty city
Cons: Not too central, more European than Dutch