Jeangu Macrooy

Eurovision Song Contest highlights the uniting power of music live in Rotterdam

The Netherlands is proud that the city of Rotterdam can host the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest – live! – from 18 to 22 May. Jeangu Macrooy will represent our country with his song, ‘Birth of a New Age’. With the theme ‘Open Up’, Eurovision fans are invited to delight in the uniting power of music and open up to each other’s culture, traditions and creative expressions. With a multitude of innovative and fun activities, fans around the world can also take part in the festivities.

“The spirit and tradition of the Eurovision Song Contest are about uniting Europe on one stage and we are still determined to achieve that,” said Martin Österdahl, European Song Contest’s Executive Supervisor.  “We are committed to produce a safe Eurovision Song Contest, with all artists performing live in Rotterdam.”

A lot of hard work has been done so that this year’s Eurovision Song Contest can be held responsibly in the Netherland’s largest multifunctional venue Ahoy Rotterdam. A robust health and safety protocol has been drawn up, which include extensive testing, mask-wearing, hygiene measures, proper ventilation and innovative measures – all to ensure the health and safety of everyone attending.

“We will create an environment in which crew, artists, and the press can work as safely as possible,” says Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer Event of the 2021 Contest.

A long tradition of respecting cultural diversity

The Eurovision Song Contest is a unique event aiming to promote inclusivity and freedom of expression. Values that are important to uphold, which is why the Netherlands has been part of this multicultural tradition since 1965. 

The journey of the Eurovision Song Contest began far back after World War II. A time where a devastated Europe took various measures to unify the continent in the hopes of preventing a war from ever happening again. Some of these measures still exist today: a continental political structure (the European Union), a common currency (the Euro) and the European Song Contest, which brings together countries around a light entertainment programme.

Opening Up to each other

With the theme ‘Open up’, the Eurovision Song Contenst aims to encourage openness and respect for diversity.

Sietse Bakker: “We find it important to choose a theme that reflects the spirit of our times.  People are concerned about increasing polarisation, and freedom isn’t as self-evident for everyone as it should be. With the slogan ‘Open Up’, we invite everyone to open up to others, to different opinions, to each other stories and, of course, music.”

Reflecting the cultural diversity of the Netherlands, the lyrics of Jeangu Macrooy’s song ‘Birth of a New Age’ are partially written in Sranan Tongo, the local language of his birth country, Suriname. Sranan stemmed from Dutch and English-based creole language. Initially used by slaves, the language is still is an important part of intercultural communication in Suriname.

In an interview with the Dutch NPO Radio 5, Jeangu explains why he incorporated the Sranan language to his lyrics:

“I grabbed back to my roots and I used Sranan, because it empowers me a lot. I know where I come from. The [Sranan] saying on which the song is based on — Mi na afu sensi, no wan man e broko mi [meaning ‘I’m half a cent, but you cannot break me’] — is a way to say that although I seem small and useless, I know that I cannot be broken and that I know my own values.”

While the European Song Contest must follow strict health and safety measures to prevent Coronavirus transmission, its impact reaches far and beyond: over 180 million audience in 41 countries.

Join the worldwide celebrations!

Albeit mostly digitally for now, the Eurovision Song Contest Rotterdam 2021 shows by combining innovation and the right measures in place, we can continue to enjoy entertainment together. At Holland.com, the official Netherlands tourism website, you can visit Rotterdam virtually, and experience all the city has to offer from the comfort of your couch. With an expansive overview of the best online events that transformed Rotterdam into a true digital city throughout May, this portal offers visitors worldwide a front row seat at all live streams, digital shows or the Eurovision Village. 

Rotterdam also shows that the celebrations can be more interactive, inventive and more inclusive than ever. With a multitude of initiatives and projects, Rotterdam invites fans locally and around the world to take part in the festivities. From the virtual 3D EuroVillage wherein fans can immerse themselves in the Eurovision Songfestival, to #SINGALONG and #SWINGALONG contests and more! There are also special street art projects, cook books, an ABBA Traffic Light (watch it here) and the interactive Splash pool, to name a few. And with over 50 organisations, cultural institutions, restaurants, bars, schools and even local markets participating in the Rotterdam City Program, there’s something for everyone to experience and enjoy.

The Netherlands and Rotterdam specifically, are truly opening up to everyone.

Get in touch and join us

Want to know more about how you can work together with the Netherlands to achieve your goals? Or how you can help contribute to or spread the word on campaigns, events and initiatives? Contact us directly at info@nlplatform.nl so we can help you connect to the right people.