New calculations from the National Audit Office of Denmark (Rigsrevision) reveal that the total cost of May’s Eurovision contest in Copenhagen was 334 million kroner ($56.7 million).
That makes the Copenhagen show the second most expensive in Eurovision history, behind the 446 million kroner spent by Azerbaijan in 2011. The extravagance dwarfs that of the Eurovision put on the year before across the bridge in Malmö, where just 125 million kroner was spent on the televised singing contest.
According to Rigsrevision’s calculations, Projektselskabet, a temporary company created by publicly-owned tourist organisation Wonderful Copenhagen to put on the Eurovision bonanza, completely overshot its initial budget of 34.6 million and ended up spending 137 million kroner on the show – a whopping 100 million kroner more.
Public broadcaster DR, which on Tuesday caved to pressure and released all of its documents related to the Eurovision show, spent 197 million kroner in production, going over its budget by seven million.
The new figures have added to the chorus of criticism for the extravagant song contest, especially in light ofrecent revelation that elderly people in nursery homes are being served vacuum-packed sandwiches in lieu of fresh food due to budget cuts.
Anders Samuelsen, the leader of the libertarian party Liberal Alliance, took to Facebook to vent his frustrations, calling the spending “sick” and “embarrassing”.
“For that amount, one could hire 700 cooks (seven cooks for each municipality) for one year to make better food for the elderly instead of the seven-day old sandwiches they get now,” he wrote.
“Of you could pay for the highly professional DR Underholdingsorkestret for eight years including a tonne of concerts. The same orchestra that was eliminated to cover budget holes,” Samuelsen said, referring to DR’s decision to eliminate its 42-person orchestra that has existed for 75 years in a recent round of spending cuts and layoffs.
The Socialist People’s Party’s Lise Müller, a council member of the Capital Region, also referenced the sandwich controversy.
“Nearly 350 million kroner for some glitz and glamour. It offends my sense of fairness that so much money would be used at the same time that we talk about saving a few million kroner by serving the elderly vacuum-packed sandwiches,” she told Metroxpress.