We all know by now that next year’s contest will be held in Malmo, Sweden. As you can imagine, most people are not too familiar with this city so I decided to use this opportunity and introduce the host city of 2013 to our readers.
What and where in the heck is Malmo?
Malmö is the third largest city by population in Sweden with a total population of 303,873. Since the construction of the Oresund bridge, Malmo has undergone a major transformation with impressive architectural developments, attracting new biotech and IT companies, and particularly students through Malmo University College. The city’s location near the southern tip of Sweden makes it closer to the Italian city of Milan than to the northernmost Swedish town Kiruna.
The weather is relatively mild compared to other locations in similar latitudes, or even somewhat farther south because of the Gulf Stream. Rainfall is light to moderate throughout the year with 169 wet days. The average high temperature in May is 16 °C.
Those who stay in Copenhagen during Eurovision week, fear not. The Øresund Bridge is a combined twin-track railway tunnel across the Øresund strait between Sweden and Denmark. The bridge is nearly 8 km long making travel between Copenhagen and Malmo a pleasant experience. Trains cross the Oresund Bridge every 20 minutes (every 10 minutes during rush hour).
There are also fast and intercity trains to Stockholm, Gothenburg and Kalmar. Malmo also has an airport; Malmo airport is mostly used for low-cost carriers, charter flight routes and domestic Swedish destinations.
Malmo has 410 kilometers of bike paths and approximately 40% of all commuting is done by bicycle.
30% of Malmo’s inhabitants are born abroad. The 10 largest groups of immigrants have arrived from:
- IRAQ (9,940)
- DENMARK (8,972)
- FR YUGOSLAVIA (SERBIA & MONTENEGRO) (8,426)
- POLAND (7,053)
- BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA (5,969)
- LEBANON (3,780)
- IRAN (3,375)
- TURKEY (2,110)
- HUNGARY (2,038)
- ROMANIA (2,014)
What to do in Malmo?
Malmo’s oldest building is St. Peter’s Church built in the early 14th century in Baltic Brick Goth. It’s a beautiful building and we suggest checking it out while you’re there.
The ModernMuseum in the old Rooseum building holds key pieces of many artists including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Sali & Henry Matisse. So if you are an art lover make sure to swing by here.
Lilla Torg, Malmö’s most charming square and one of the most popular meeting places in the city was built in 1592 as a market square. There are several interesting buildings dating from the 16th century and later around Lilla Torg. Hedmanska Gården is an enclosed courtyard where the oldest half-timbered house dates from the 16th century and the youngest building, a warehouse, is from the late 19th century and is now home to Form/Design Centre, which mounts exhibitions related to design and architecture. Outdoor concerts are held at Hedmanska Gården in July. From March to October Lilla Torg is filled with outdoor restaurants and cafés and the atmosphere is enchanting.
HSB Turning Torso is the tallest skyscraper in Sweden. It originally was the tallest building in Scandinavia upon completion (now 3rd tallest). The tower reaches a height of 190 metres (623 feet) with 54 stories and was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It’s an amazing building and be sure to at least drive by and take a few pictures.
Stortorget is a large square surrounded with some wonderful buildings. It is really enjoyable on a summer day. There is also and nice fountain. There is not much activity going on but that you will find on the neighboring Lilla Torget. The City Hall is one of Malmo’s most beautiful buildings and a must see during your stay.
There are many beautiful parks scattered throughout towns all through Sweden. They are
well used by the residents and visitors. Malmo has the Kungsparken, it’s being enjoyed by bikers, picnickers, runners, strollers and others on the canal. The sculptures throughout the park add to its beauty, as well as the flower gardens and the wind mill! So if you want to get away from all the noise and the people and just relax, check out this park I’m sure you gonna love it.
Why was Malmo chosen as the host city?
The most recent host arena, the Ericcson Globe, used for the 2000 contest was booked for the World Ice Hockey Championship, therefore was out of the running.
The night Loreen won in Baku, the chief executive of VST, Eva Hamilton, stated to Swedish media that the venues in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo were being considered as host venues. There was one alternative put forward by tabloid Expressen and that was to hold the competition at three different venues – the semis in Gothenburg and Malmo – and the final in Stockholm but that idea was dismissed by SVT due to logistics. Gothenburg withdrew Jun 20th, 2012 from the bidding process due to their hosting of the Goteborg Horse Show in late April. On top of that, there were major concerns about hotel room availability due to several events taking place during the same time frame.
On July 8th, the Malmo Arena was confirmed as the host venue for the contest. The broadcaster expressed the desire to host the contest at a smaller venue than previous years to increase the Eurovision experience. The EBU had recently discussed the possibility of decreasing the size of Eurovision to make the hosting responsibilities less daunting, particularly for smaller countries with a tight budget. However the EBU also advised that the decisions and preparations for the contest are fully up to the broadcaster so the decision was theirs to make. They decided to go with a downsized version of the contest. So SVT deserves the praise or criticism which is up for you to decide.
Did Malmo host the contest before?
Yes, they did. They hosted the 37th edition of the contest 20 years ago in 1992 thanks to Carola’s victory the year prior. It was held in the small Malmo Isstadion with an estimated capacity of 5,000. Times were different back then though and with the amount of countries participating nowadays it would be pretty much impossible to have a big event like that in a stadium of that size. Interestingly enough, the Swedish representative that year was Christer Bjorkman who became the supervisor of Melodifestivalen in 2002 and is also the Show Producer of ESC 2013. Unfortunately he only finished 2nd to last so let’s hope this is just an unfortunate co-incidence. That contest marked the last participation for the “dismembering” Yugoslavia which soon separated into independent nations. The hot favorite to win the contest was Michael Ball from the United Kingdom with his contemporary pop-ballad “One Step out of time”. However the Irish sent Linda Martin paired up with Johnny Logan and won the contest with a 16 point lead over the UK starting the chain of Irish wins in the 1990.
So Malmo as the host city. Is that a good or bad thing?
That is up to you to decide. People are basically divided into two camps.
Camp 1 feels that this was one of the best decisions made in a while. Returning to the “roots”, a lot of fans feel that a smaller venue will be a more intimate experience for artists and viewers equally. They also feel it’s unfair to let only the cities with the biggest venues host the show and it’s important to rotate the hosting duties among cities. The most recent contest in 2000 was held in Stockholm so it wasn’t their turn this year. In addition, Malmo is close to two International airports giving travelers the ability to choose which one to fly into and possibly save a lot of money.
Camp 2 on the other hand is quite upset with the decision for several reasons. The Malmo Arena will only fit 15.000 people which are a whole lot less seats available than the Friends Arena in Stockholm with 67.500 seats. Getting a ticket is nearly impossible unless you are lucky enough to get a ticket the moment they go on sale. So for a lot of fans this impacts their travel plans. Swedes in particular are upset as they feel the country will lose a lot of money in tourism as Copenhagen is just around the corner so the majority of fans will stay in Denmark instead so all the money will be spent there while Sweden gets stuck with the hosting costs without reaping the benefits. Several people also voiced safety concerns due to Malmo’s bad history with crime and racism.
A penny for your thoughts
Which side are you on? Do you agree with SVT’s hosting decision or are you against it? Let us know what you think!