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ESC Reporter | January 18, 2018

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Get to know Eurovision Island

Get to know Eurovision Island
  • On September 9, 2013

When the Eurovision circus descends upon Copenhagen next year, Refshaleøen in the city harbor will transform into Eurovision Island, the heart of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014.

The name of the island, which is actually a peninsula, comes from the danish word, rævehale, meaning foxtail, as some thought it to look like a foxtail when viewed from above. The area was originally sand dunes, which was filled with dirt by the municipality in 1872.

The island is rich with industrial history. Until 1996, it was home to the shipyard Burmeister & Wein, founded in Christianshavn in 1846, which at its height employed 8,000 employees, making it the biggest workplace in Denmark. Since it closed, the area has undergone a change from industry to recreational space, hosting several events and concerts, while also being home to restaurants and entrepreneurs.

The main buildings that will be used as the venue currently work partly as a storage space for large props from the Royal Danish Opera. High up under the ceiling, a high roping course has been installed. On top of all this, the largest paintball course in Europe also resides here.


Refshaleøen becomes Eurovision Island

UPDATE: Revised plans for Eurovision Island, released November 27, can be read about by clicking here!

Preliminary plans outlined in the Copenhagen host city bid utilizes the many old industrial buildings on Refshaleøen. Below is an illustration of the submitted plan laid over a Google Earth image.

Eurovision Island plan resized

The largest of the buildings, S2, will host the show itself. Ship hulls were constructed inside this massive structure, before they were launched into the harbor to be finished on site. It is 60 meters tall, compared to last year’s venue, Malmö Arena, which had a ceiling height of 22.5 meters.

Directly next to S2 is S1, which according to the 2014 Head of Show, Jan Lagermand Lundme, will be utilized for further audience space and green room. Currently they are separate spaces, but they will be combined into one by pulling down room dividers.


Must be fit for stilettos

This isn’t the only change coming to the old buildings. On the DR2 morning show “DR2 Morgen” on September 3rd, Lundme explained what’s to come. “We will make the space suitable for TV. The site is full of history, but we have to make some changes to make it work for such a great event. Audience podiums will be constructed all the way up to 30 meters tall. The floor must be fit for stilettos, which it isn’t right now. All surfaces will be changed and we will cover it all in black cloth, so it won’t seem so messy.”

The essence of industry won’t be entirely removed though. “The building exudes industry, that will never go away. And it might just be that the stage designer will add a touch of it somewhere.”

As the site is left in such a raw state of its industrial heritage, extensive renovations will have to take place. This will be managed and funded by a collective of public entities, consisting of Copenhagen Municipality, the Capital Region, the tourist organization Wonderful Copenhagen, and the Refshaleøen Holding Company.


Emmelie de Forest visits Eurovision Island

Emmelie in BW

The winner of Eurovision Song Contest 2013, Emmelie de Forest, got a chance to see the 2014 venue in person. “I’m very happy, I just went to see it inside for the first time. I think it’s a very exciting and different choice to have these raw surroundings, the old industrial buildings and the water surrounding Refshaleøen. I think there will be plenty of opportunities to think outside the box and express one’s creativity,” she said to Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet.

When asked about the idea of Eurovision Island, she responded, “I think the social aspect is very important. It’s a place with room for everybody, with room for lots of parties, and lots of nationalities, and music, of course. In Malmö, an important part was the EuroClub, where artists, fans, and press could party every night.”

Emmelie isn’t yet sure if she will be a part of Eurovision Song Contest 2014. “I don’t know yet, we haven’t made any deals, but I hope so! I would really like to feel the Eurovision spirit again and hope to be a part somehow.”


Photo/screen dumps: DR, Ekstra Bladet, Peter Hove Olesen @ Politiken

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