“A Visual Spectacle: Sorba Projects and the New Facade of Ahoy Rotterdam”

Ahoy Rotterdam, known as a versatile event venue, underwent a large-scale renovation ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. Sorba Projects, which specialises in facade engineering, played a crucial role in the construction of a striking new facade for Ahoy. This bespoke project, featuring 7-metre-long black panels, is not only an eye-catcher for the Song Contest but also contributes to the international image of Ahoy and the Netherlands.

From Concert Hall to Song Contest stage

Ahoy Rotterdam, built in 1968, evolved from a concert hall to a multifunctional complex with offices, catering and meeting facilities. The renovation for the Eurovision Song Contest, originally scheduled to take place in 2020, was already in full swing when the pandemic broke out.

Big Challenges

A unique aspect of this project is the size of the panels – 7 metres long and over a metre high. Only a few parties were able to carry out this project because of its complexity. The project manager emphasised the challenge: “These are huge panels that are difficult to handle. That made the assembly a challenge, which we eventually carried out with a small crane.””

Aesthetically pleasing Black

Black as a colour is known for its challenges, especially its tendency to expand, distort or discolour under the influence of heat and sunlight. Sorba chose Alpolic, a UV-resistant aluminium composite material, to avoid these problems and ensure the façade’s durability.

Render International Congres centre Ahoy in Rotterdam | Sorba ProjectsInternational Congres centre Ahoy in Rotterdam | Sorba Projects

Light and Shadow play

The façade’s black panels, each 7 metres long, give Ahoy a modern look. The use of Alpolic eliminates concerns about expansion or discolouration. Noteworthy are the white strips that turn into beams of light at night, giving the façade a contemporary and dynamic look.

Made-to-measure for Eurovision

In view of the Eurovision Song Contest, timeliness was essential. Thanks to close cooperation between all parties involved, the deadline was met. Sorba is proud of its contribution to Ahoy and the Netherlands, putting itself on the map as a specialist in high-quality facade technology.

Sorba: Surface Creators

The new façade of Ahoy Rotterdam, realised by Sorba Projects, is not only a showpiece for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, but also a lasting asset for the city and the international image of the Netherlands. With perfection as its standard, Sorba remains iconic in the construction industry, demonstrating the power of customisation in a world of challenges.


Aluminium composite (Alpolic) material in Graphite Black colour was used for the panels.

Surface area of materials used

  • A total of approximately 5,650 m² of aluminium composite material (Alpolic) was applied.

Gert-Jan Nietsch

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