Thousands welcome Eurovision queen Loreen home to Sweden

Large crowds welcomed Eurovision Song Contest winner Loreen home to central Stockholm on Tuesday after she claimed the Scandinavian country's seventh title triumph at the weekend.

Thousands welcome Eurovision queen Loreen home to Sweden
Loreen on stage at Kungsträdgården in Stockholm. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Thousands of fans turned out in the Kungsträdgården park in central Stockholm despite gloomy weather to watch the 39-year-old artist perform her winning song “Tattoo”, a pop anthem about unconditional love.

“I’m so grateful you sent me off to represent you, with everything my song stands for: compassion, hope, love and constructive solutions,” she told the cheering crowd made up of young and old.

“That’s what we’re all about.”

“I think she’s a really great artist,” Viktor Rydefors, a 26-year-old student, told AFP.

“It really is a performance, she totally captures the audience.” Andreas, a 40-year-old unemployed fan, called Loreen a “unique” performer.

“If you’re going to win Eurovision, you have to do it with a unique song, a unique artist, and a unique performance, and in that way she beats everything that’s come before her.”

Born in Sweden to parents of Moroccan Berber origin, Loreen – her real name Lorine Talhaoui – already won the contest in 2012.

She is just the second artist to achieve a Eurovision double, 36 years after Johnny Logan for Ireland in the 1980s, and the first woman to do so.

Eurovision is hugely popular in Sweden and speculation is already rife about which city will host the show next year – exactly 50 years after ABBA’s victory with its breakout hit Waterloo.

“Perfect timing,” the daily Dagens Nyheter said the day after Loreen’s victory.

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Malmö revealed as host of 2024 Eurovision Song Contest

The southern Swedish city of Malmö which last held the contest back in 2013 will host Eurovision once again next year, public broadcaster SVT has announced.

Malmö revealed as host of 2024 Eurovision Song Contest

Since Loreen took home the trophy in Liverpool this spring, work has been underway on planning the next instalment of the contest, hosted in Sweden in 2024.

After a discussion with multiple cities, including Örnsköldsvik, Stockholm and Gothenburg, SVT has announced that the southern Swedish city of Malmö will host the contest for the third time, from May 7th-11th, 2024 in Malmö Arena.

“Welcoming all of the participating countries to Malmö is fantastic and meaningful,” CEO of SVT, Hanna Sjärne, said in a press statement.

“Hundreds of millions of TV viewers will be able to follow the broadcast from Sweden. Eurovision plays an especially important role at the moment, with a war in Europe, and it is with great respect that we take on the challenge of hosting the event,” she said.

“Malmö is a creative city with a rich cultural life which can create a festival of music for the whole of Europe in a sustainable way, not just financially, as the arena, transport links and logistics are already in place”.

SVT will be responsible for all parts of the TV production, while the city of Malmö will be in charge of events for the city and its residents, participating delegations, fans and international press, as well as logistics.

“We received strong, exciting and creative proposals from multiple cities, which we’re extremely grateful for,” executive producer Ebba Adielsson wrote.

“Engagement from Swedish municipalities has been fantastic. When we had all of the options on the table, we looked at the big picture, where multiple factors need to be considered,” she wrote.

Adielsson added that “even more than last time”, there will be a focus on allowing residents and visitors to Malmö to participate in events surrounding the contest.

“It will be a new experience in many ways.”

Delegations from around 40 countries are expected to visit Malmö, with around 1,000 accredited journalists and fans covering the event. When Liverpool hosted this year, half a million people visited the city in connection to the event.