Debut – 1956
Current Broadcaster – AVROTROS
National Final – Nationaal Songfestival
Best Result – Winner (1957, 1959, 1969, 1975)
Highest Score – 238 points (2014)
Worst Result – 21st in Semi-final (2007 – 38 points)
The Netherlands are one of the most successful nations in the Contest’s history, having won Eurovision four times. They are also one of the founding nations of the inaugural 1956 Contest, and have participated almost every year since with the exceptions of 1985 and 1991 (both due to the Contest being held during the Remembrance of the Dead), 1995 and 2002 (both due to relegation).
The Netherlands traditionally send their entries in English whenever the free language rule has been in place.
The two songs The Netherlands sent in the very first Eurovision Song Contest had mixed results: the first, “De vogels van Holland” (performed by Jetty Paerl) finished last; the other, “Voorgoed voorbij” (performed by Corry Brokken) fared better in 7th. The following year in 1957, Corry Brokken returned to the Contest with “Net als toen”, and scored the Dutch their first victory in only the second Contest. Unfortunately when she represented the host nation a third consecutive time in 1958, she finished last with only one point.
Dutch fortunes flipped to the other extreme yet again in 1959, when they scored their second victory with “Een beetje” (performed by Teddy Scholten).
The Sixties were mostly not kind to The Netherlands, with them lingering in the lower half of the scoreboard, including three last place results in 1962 and 1963 (both scoring ‘nul points’) and in 1968.
The decade however ended on a high note, as the Dutch were one of the four countries declared joint winners in the 1969 Contest alongside France, Spain and the UK. Their entry was Lenny Kuhr performing “De troubadour”.
The Netherlands was the country who was given the privilege of hosting the 1970 Contest in Amsterdam, and they had a set of mainly decent results throughout the decade, starting with three consecutive top 10 results between 1970-1972. In 1974, they finished 3rd with “I See A Star” performed by (Mouth & MacNeal), having been an early favourite for that year’s Contest.
The following year in 1975, they opened the show with the group Teach-In performing “Ding-A-Dong”, a song very much in the same vein as the previous year’s winner, and proceeded to give the Dutch their fourth (and to date, most recent) victory.
When Israel declined to host the 1980 Contest after back-to-back wins, The Netherlands stepped in and held the Contest in Den Haag. The host nation made a good showing with former Mouth & MacNeal singer Maggie MacNeal finishing 5th with the song “Amsterdam”.
The rest of the decade saw middling results for the Dutch, with another top 5 result in 1987 by finishing 5th with “Rechtop in de wind” (performed by Marcha). They also scored top 10 results in 1981 with “Het is een wonder” (performed by Linda Williams), in 1983 with “Sing Me a Song” (performed by Bernadette), and in 1988 with “Shangri-La” (performed by Gerard Joling).
The 1990’s were a mixed bag for The Netherlands, although they did score four top 10 results during the decade: in 1992 with “Wijs me de weg” (performed by Humphrey Campbell) finishing 9th, in 1993 with “Vrede” (performed by Ruth Jacott) finishing 6th, in 1996 with “De eerste keer” (performed by Maxine & Franklin Brown) finishing 7th. As well as their last top 5 result to date coming in 1998 with “Hemel en aarde” (performed by Edsilia Rombley) finishing 4th, followed by “One Good Reason” (performed by Marlayne) finishing 8th.
Results since the introduction of the Semi-finals in 2004 have not been kind to The Netherlands to say the least. They did qualify in the Semi-final at the first attempt in 2004, with the duo Re-Union performing “Without You”. However, they didn’t do enough in the Final to secure an automatic place in the 2005 Grand Final.
It would be a long 9 year wait for the Dutch until they would finally qualify for the final once again, with acclaimed singer Anouk reaching a respectable 9th in the final with “Birds”, their first top 10 result since 1999. The following year would prove to be even more successful, with the previously unfancied The Common Linnets
suddenly shooting up in popularity after their semi-final performance with the country song “Calm After The Storm”, and went on to achieve The Netherlands’ first top 5 result in over a decade after finishing 2nd.