Eurovision Song Contest in International Sign

Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2021 will take place in the Netherlands. A Dutch Public Broadcasting Association (AVROTROS) has a mixed group of interpreters who translate the songs into Dutch signs. A group of deaf individuals felt that the host country has a responsibility to make the European show accessible for all of Europe and the world, not just the Netherlands. AVROTROS would not provide accessibility in International Sign. That’s why this group started their own initiative to translate ESC2021 in International Sign. In this case every viewer has a deluxe choice of picking between Dutch sign and International Sign.

Follow the livestream with Deaf interpreters here


Meet our 37 stars! They are ready!


Introduction of the event

Engelien Kester, the chairwoman of this event, explains the idea of the event in International Sign:


Executive team

The executive team started six heads strong, but has grown to eight. The team consists of: Aruna Jiawon, Engelien Kester, Jari Pärgma, Juli af Klintberg, Laith Fathulla, Peter Hagel, Serhat Agacan and Theo Stoop. The team works closely with Dennis Hoogeveen from DoofCentraal, who will be responsible for the livestream. We’re very happy that DoofCentraal is offering their platform for us to use. Many thanks in advance for this gesture!

Check out the following video the see who in the executive team is responsible for what:



Of course, the executive team can’t possibly translate all 39 songs and other interval acts. For this we reached out to our contacts in every European country (that participates with the ESC, so also Australia). We found 37 Deaf performers, our stars, who were willing to translate a song or more in such a short time. The map underneath this paragraph shows you where the stars are coming from. The Deaf performers were coached by our two wonderful language coaches, Jari Pärgma and Juli af Klintberg, with the support of Laith and the other performers as well. There was a tight schedule and everyone worked hard to make the best of it. Many videos, questions and feedback later, we are proud to tell that most of the performances are done. They are sent to the Tech team who will prepare them for the livestream.

All the team members and the stars doing the songs are doing this entirely voluntarily. They commit themselves to provide an unforgettable evening, with full access to music to be able to enjoy this as well as a hearing audience would do.



Closer to the big show, we will share on the Facebook event and on this page how you can watch the livestream and how this will work. Other fun facts, previews and perhaps even activities will be announced when the time is right. We hope that you are as excited as we are, as we travel the road towards the Eurovison Song Contest in International Sign.

Let’s Open Up ESC2021 for the Deaf Community of Europe and the world!

Do you have any questions for this team? Please contact via (written English, written Dutch, Dutch Sign Language or International Sign only!)

Ga naar de inhoud