Debut – 1956
Current Broadcaster – NDR / ARD
Best Result – Winner (1982, 2010)
Highest Score – 246 points (2010)
Worst Result – 27th, last (2015, 0 points)
Germany are one of the founding nations from the inaugural 1956 Contest. They have won Eurovision twice and hosted it three times (1957 being the one occasion they hosted it having not won the previous year). Prior to the German Reunification in 1990, Germany was represented by West Germany in the Contest, while its Eastern counterpart never competed. They have only been absent from the Contest on one occasion in 1996.
Until 2002, they traditionally sent their entries in German before switching to English-language songs, and since then only one German-language song has represented the country.
Germany is also one of the “Big Five” nations in Eurovision, meaning that they have an automatic place in the Final every year.
Germany started their Eurovision journey in the inaugural 1956 Contest by finishing 3rd with one of the two songs they entered, “So geht das jede Nacht”. The other song, “Im Wartesaal zum großen Glück” finished 11th.
The following year, the German city of Frankfurt hosted the contest, as the tradition of the previous year’s winner hosting the Contest had not yet been established. They finished 4th on home ground, however for the rest of the decade Germany finished near the bottom of the scoreboard.
The 1960’s began with Germany’s only top 5 result of the decade, with “Bonne nuit ma chérie” (performed by Wyn Hoop) finishing 4th in 1960. They had a middling set of results throughout the ’60s, with five more top 10 results, but with two consecutive last place results in 1964 and 1965.
Germany started the 1970’s with three consecutive 3rd place results – “Wunder gibt es immer wieder” in 1970 and “Diese Welt” in 1971 (both performed by Katja Ebstein), and “Nur die Liebe läßt uns leben” (performed by Mary Roos) in 1972.
This run of good results however didn’t last as they slumped down to the bottom of the scoreboard in the middle of the decade, including a last place result in 1974. Although by the end of the decade, Germany began to crawl back up to the top 10 again, ending with their first top 5 result in years with “Dschingis Khan” finishing 4th in 1979, an entry very much in the same vein as the hit song “Rasputin” at the time.
The 1980’s saw Germany’s best run of results in their history, as they made a more concerted effort to earn their first victory. They began their hard work with Katja Ebstein’s third Eurovision attempt “Theater”, and it paid off by giving them their first 2nd place result. They repeated this result the following year in 1981, this time with the song “Johnny Blue” performed by Lena Valaitis.
In 1982, Germany finally got their first Eurovision victory, with the acoustic Ralph Siegel-penned song “Ein bißchen Frieden” (performed by Nicole), a song about wanting peace in the world.
Germany saw another pair of 2nd place finishes in the decade, both with the band Wind performing the songs “Für alle” in 1985, and “Laß die Sonne in dein Herz” in 1987.
After their golden years of the previous decade, the 1990’s saw Germany slump into a run of bad results, including one last placed result where they only earned 1 point.
1996 also saw the one and only occasion where Germany did not appear in the final, as they failed to get past the pre-selection round. It is suggested that the fallout from losing one of the EBU’s biggest financial contributors in the Contest was the factor that led the EBU to creating the “Big Four” in 1998.
They did have a couple of bright spots however, with two 3rd place results in 1994 with “Wir geben ‘ne Party” (performed by Mekado), and in 1999 with “Reise nach Jerusalem – Kudüs’e seyahat” (performed by Sürpriz).
Although they started the new century with two more top 10 results, including a 5th place finish in 2000 with “Wadde hadde dudde da?” (performed by Stefan Raab), Germany slumped back into another run of middling-to-bad results throughout the 2000’s, including one last place result in 2005.
In 2010 however, they drastically turned their fortunes around… a special talent show was set up by former entrant Stefan Raab to select that year’s performer and find a suitable song for them, and teenager Lena Meyer-Landrut was selected with the song “Satellite”. It went on to be Germany’s second Eurovision victory, as well as being a hit song across mainland Europe. The following year, Lena became the first Eurovision winner in over 50 years to defend her title on home soil, and finished a respectable 10th with the song “Taken by a Stranger”.
In 2012, Germany’s good run of results using Raab’s talent show format continued when the song “Standing Still” (performed by Roman Lob) gave them another top 10 result. However, Raab left after that and German results went on a downward spiral in the following years, culminating in Ann Sophie’s “Black Smoke” getting nul points in 2015.