The Netherlands has set all kinds of records at the Eurovision Song Contest. The country performed the very first Eurovision song at the very first contest in 1956. And it became the first country to win the contest for a second time in 1959 (following its earlier success in 1957). Sadly it’s also known for one less illustrious record. With eight non-qualifications in a row between 2005 and 2012, it holds the record for the most consecutive eliminations in the semi-finals. Ouch.

Thankfully the country has emerged from that drought to show consistency and strength. So let’s celebrate the good times — and look back on the bad — by reviewing The Netherlands’ last ten participations.

The Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest

Over the past ten years The Netherlands has occupied all manner of places on the Eurovision scoreboard. It’s gone from dead last — 43 out of 43 in 2011 — to runner-up in 2014. From sad singalong songs to onstage hurdy-gurdy, The Netherlands has brought it all.

In 2008 and 2009 Dutch broadcaster NOS oversaw the Dutch representative. Sadly after both Hind and The Toppers failed to reach the final, the broadcaster decided to sever ties with the show after 50 years of participation. Luckily TROS (since 2014 AVROTROS) took the reigns.

The broadcaster’s first attempt marked a new low for the country. A national final resulted in the selection of Sieneke for Eurovision 2010. Her performance of “Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-la-lie)” was incredibly old school and included two living dolls on stage. (Eliminated Swedish act Anna Bergendahl compared it to a circus show). The two following years were not much better, as the Netherlands finished last in its semi with the Volendam boyband 3Js and the year after with Joan Franka, whose feathered headdress offended Native Americans and whose vocal performance offended fans of in-tune music. Insert your favourite distress emojis here.

But in 2013 salvation came in the form of Anouk, who took an immense interest in the contest — and in doing things her way. Countless people told her she was crazy for throwing her famous name into a contest where the Dutchies were repeatedly ignored. She shocked everyone by reaching the final and finishing in the top ten. The year after The Common Linnets — led by Anouk’s frenemy Ilse DeLange — went even better, finishing as runner-up behind Conchita Wurst.

A final bump in the road came when Trijntje Oosterhuis failed to reach the final in 2015. We still ask ourselves why-aie-aie-aie. But usually the reply is “somewhat empty staging that failed to make an impact” and “questionable costume”.

Thankfully the country appears to be back in form. Both Douwe Bob and O’G3NE reached the final — and with their very different sounds. Coincidentally they both finished in 11th place.

Recent history

2017 – O’G3NE with “Lights And Shadows”, 11th place in the final with 150 points

2016 – Douwe Bob with “Slow Down”, 11th place in the final with 153 points

2015 – Trijntje Oosterhuis with “Walk Along”, 14th place in the semi final with 33 points

2014 – The Common Linnets with “Calm After The Storm”, 2nd in the final with 238 points

2013 – Anouk with “Birds”, 9th in the final with 114 points

2012 – Joan Franka with “You And Me”, 15th in the semi final with 35 points

2011 – 3JS with “Never Alone”, 19th (last) in the semi final with 13 points

2010 – Sieneke with “Ik Ben Verliefd (Shalalie)”, 14th in the semi final with 29 points

2009 – The Toppers with “Shine”, 17th in the semi final with 11 points

2008 – Hind with “Your Heart Belongs To Me”, 13th in the semi final with 27 points

Fun facts

The Toppers use the word “shine” twenty times in their Eurovision song.

Sieneke traveled to six different destinations in her Eurovision song: Lisbon, Paris, Oslo, Trinidad, Berlin and Moscow.

“Calm After The Storm” from The Common Linnets only has eight camera shots on stage.

Of the four times The Netherlands qualified to the final in the last decade, they were the ninth or tenth country to be revealed as finalists three times. Nail-biter!

The Netherlands’ best scoring entry

The Common Linnets with “Calm After The Storm”, 2nd in the final with 238 points

When The Common Linnets revealed their Eurovision song to Dutch audiences, there was a wave of disappointment. How could they have chosen this after Anouk last year? Based on the studio version and a live performance on a Dutch TV show, the Wiwi Jury ranked the song 30th in a field of 37.

But staging can break — or in this case make — a song. Following the semi-final The Netherlands started shooting up the odds table. In the end only Conchita finished higher. Ilse later said that she regretted how the duo first presented the song. But no matter. Their actual Eurovision performance set a standard for romantic, atmospheric performances.

Most memorable lyrics: “Driving in the fast lane counting mile marker signs. The empty seat beside me keeps you on my mind.”

The Netherlands’ worst scoring entry

3JS with “Never Alone”, 19th in the semi final with 13 points

It was the year after Sieneke, so basically everyone thought it could not go any worse in Düsseldorf. When the 3JS performed their song in Dutch it actually made sense and, even though it was not excellent, it still sounded okay. Unfortunately the English version was incredibly flat. Making matters worse, they did literally nothing with the massive stage, which made the song seem so small and forgettable. The Netherlands had the lowest total points of all participants in competition.

Most memorable lyrics: “Though the road is long, there are golden gardens at the sweet end of your trail.”

What some of our other bloggers think

Denise: If you would have asked me this question years ago, I would have said that I was so dissapointed in The Netherlands and that no on takes it seriously anymore. But now — on the other side of our recent history — I can say the exact opposite. The Netherlands is going for quality. They look past typical Eurovision songs with ‘ok’ singers and they actually consider staging and storytelling. Now there’s a plan and the plan is paying of every single year. A win for the NL in the next decade? I see this happening.

Jordi: The Netherlands has always been refreshing and surprising for me. People don’t have high expectations for the country, and that makes it dangerous and competitive. Following a two-year-streak of strong results, more people are starting to pay attention. And as they do they find variety — country to pop to ballads. Let’s hope they can keep exceeding expectations.

Kristin: I have always been rather fond of The Netherlands at Eurovision. They’ve had their swings and misses, but most of the time I find the country to be severely underrated. After a very bleak decade they’ve finally found their mojo again, and not a moment to soon. No one should frown upon a country that has sent us masterpieces like “Shangri La”, “Rechtop In De Wind”, “Hemel En Aarde” and — never forget — “Calm After The Storm”. Welcome back to The Netherlands. How I have missed you!

Mikhail I have loved the Netherlands since their return to the final! They send quality entries, charismatic performers and know how to turn a trick with staging (just exclude that moaning Teletubby in 2015). Victory is coming. Europe, beware!

Renske The Netherlands has such a rich history at Eurovision. We have had years where our scores weren’t that good and decades where we scored high every year with some songs becoming evergreens. We basically live and breath Eurovision in May. People say they don’t care, but when it comes to Eurovision week, the average Dutch family stocks up on crisps and nuts, while tuning in to NPO1. It’s a people’s party and we love to do well. I hope AVROTROS keeps sending great acts. Watch this space…

Read more Netherlands Eurovision news

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47 Comments on "Country profile: The Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest since 2008"

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Music Is the Key
Guest

The moral winner – in ALL possible ways – of ESC 2014!

esc freak
Guest

In your dreams, maybe.

Music Is the Key
Guest

Well, bigger chart succes with the entry, bigger record sales, touring succes, critical acclaim, important music prizes, still doing well…:Conchita has not been ANYWHERE close….

No wonder many eople say they were the moral winners!

CW was a freak show act which had her 15 minutes of fame. She had nothing special, and soon got lost….a freakshow is not enough to have a real carrere in the long run.

A boring song. Tragic act. Worst moment of ESC ever was CW winning for me!

Kermit
Guest

Austria should never have won! Netherlands should. Of course!

Polska
Guest

Calm after the storm should win. Conchita only win because Russia had anti-Gay thing and People want gay to win because people hate Russia.

Bart
Guest

I also think that Calm after the storm should win (a similar song than Amar pelos dois, by the way). But what you are saying about Conchita’s victory is ridiculous

Music Is the Key
Guest

You are right Polska. CW won for all the wrong reasons. Tragic! I was REALLY angry when Austria won! A tragic chapter in the ESC history book! Crappy song, won only for the freakshow act….and the silly gay chauvenists votes

Fatima
Guest

When it comes to Pays-Bas, I’ve always been a Ding-a-Dong man.

lalala
Guest

Welcome by Euro’s vision .

The Tigg
Guest

This is what annoys me about Wiwibloggs. They only ever concentrate on recent activity whereas The Netherlands have had a proud, yet varied history in Eurovision.

Let’s get out of the Millenial way of thinking, let’s journey back into every country’s entire history.

thespb01
Guest

Aside from Calm After The Storm, the Netherlands always do staging fails.

SW
Guest

Slow Down was really well-staged and so was Lights and Shadows.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Ik ben verliefd is the best Dutch entry of all time. Don’t quote me.

beccaboo1212
Guest

Who’s looking forward to O’G3NE’s Three Times a Lady concert tour?

CookyMonzta
Guest

Is that really the name of their concert? First they name a song (although the title is scrambled) after a Wilson Phillips album; then they name the concert after a Commodores classic. Their father obviously has quite a collection of soft rock in his record rack.

MrBrightside
Guest

Oh, we all know that it is not the lack of staging what made the wiwijury had ranked the common linnets only 30th…

Robyn Gallagher
Editor
Never forget that ESC is and has always been a television show. Visuals matter and can kill a great song or elevate a bad song. “Calm After the Storm” was a pleasant country duet that was elevated to a magnificent, moody and moving masterpiece (mmmm!) by the outstanding staging. The Wiwi Jury does not attempt to predict the future. We can only review songs as they are available in around March/April. Sometimes studio favourites flop at ESC (hello, “Dance Alone”), other times we are delighted when a jury non-fave turns out to be electrifyingly good on stage. Tbh, if we… Read more »
azaad
Guest

Agree on everything except that Dance Alone didn’t lose ALL its magic. It lost some, but still had enough to make Jana a deserving qualifier.

Jonas
Guest

I know the clue is in the title, Euro”vision”, but the show is also carried on radio networks, so the tune still should stand alone. Calm After The Storm achieved on both ends, I felt.

CookyMonzta
Guest

Yup. You ain’t kiddin’! Again, I must say that Italy didn’t sell their song right. Francesco should have ditched the backups and brought his band on stage, and did away with the goofy graphics…

…And yes, once again, I must say that Macedonia has become the poster child for being the place where outstanding songs go to die on stage. A mini-rave, with flashing lights synchronized to the beat of the song, would have improved Jana’s standing immensely.

Bart
Guest

Sorry Robyn, as much as I adore the wiwi collective, I must say that songs from a certain non-pop genres (usually more adult-oriented balads) are crucified by the wiwi jury. Saying that staging makes all the difference is not quite fair. Was it in 16th position that the wiwijury placed Amar pelos dois? Cheers

The Anders
Guest

My overall judging of the Dutch entries since 2008:

Masterful: 2013, 2014
Great:
Good: 2016
OK/Mixed: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2017
Poor: 2015
Very bad: 2010
Horrible: 2009

The Anders
Guest

And of course if we go back in time, I really like
“Net als toen” (1957)
“De troubadour” (1969)
“Tijd” (1971)
“Ik hou van jouw” (1984)
“Vrede” (1993)
“Hemel en aarde” (1998)

Other fine songs:
“‘t’ Is genoeg” (1965)
“Amsterdam” (1980)
“Sing Me a Song” (1983)

Guilty pleasure:
“I See a Star” (1974)
“One Good Reason” (1999)

The Anders
Guest

(* “One Good Reason” under Other fine songs – it was a typo)

Roelof Meesters
Guest

I see a star finished 3rd so you arent really guilty for liking that one XD

Jo
Guest

I wanna thank the Dutch delegation for breaking “rules” about what a country should send to Eurovision. Bringing something new and good is a key for success, just like 1944 and Amar pelos Dois. Also, thankfully they decided to do their own thing instead of buying something from Sweden in a desperation for good results.

What do I love the most? How Calm After the Storm shocked *some* pathetic Eurofans, and apparently they never learn…

Erasmus
Guest

I agree. Hate when broadcasters are buying Swedish writers; Cyprus, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan… I think there should be a rule – that at least one person who composed the song should be from the native country. And because of buying writers, we have less originality, diversity etc.

azaad
Guest

Having at least one songwriter be from that country, or at least 33.3% of the songwriters be from that country if there are more than 3 of them would be good. You could get that Swedish finesse, but with some native effort. Azerbaijan used an Azeri composer and Swedish lyricist this year and they had one of the most innovative songs this year.

esc freak
Guest

You call people pathetic cause they predicted something wrong. Wooo, ok…

Jo
Guest

Yes and no. I don’t call them pathetic because they didn’t think N’lands would reach 2nd place. However, I do for those who predicted it to flop (some said it wouldn’t even qualify).
It’s 2017 and those people said the same about Amar pelos Dois.

Polska
Guest

Amar Pelos Dois is flopping despite having won as did 1944. But Salvador is going strength to strength and that’s nice to know.

The Anders
Guest
“She shocked everyone by reaching the final and finishing in the top ten.” Absolutely not. I always expected it to go to the final. Same with “Calm After the Storm”. They are way too strong to miss out. Unfortunately none of their subsequent entries have reached the musical and artistic level of these two songs. I do like “Slow Down” – not particularly interesting, but quite enjoyable for what it is – but both “Walk Along” and “Lights and Shadows” are rather weak compositions; especially “Walk Along” with its shouty chorus. But “Birds” and “Calm After the Storm” are both… Read more »
azaad
Guest

agree. I think a lot of us forget it with the stunning vocals and harmonies of O’G3NE, as well as the classy minimalist staging and touching backstory, but the actual song “Lights and Shadows” wasn’t that good in my opinion. Fine enough, but what deserved the qualification was the live performance, not the song.

Although the Netherlands is a country whose entries shine better on the stage than in the studio.

The Anders
Guest

It took me quite a lot of time before I could actually remember the melody of “Lights and Shadows”. As for O’G3ENE’s singing: They are clearly good vocalists, but in a way it sounds TOO good. Their harmonies are so clean that it almost sounds like a computer, and as a result it becomes somewhat impersonal.

dutchie
Guest

With both Douwe Bob and OG3NE I expected them to come with something reasonably good, but when I first heard both songs on the radio I thought: really? This is the worst song you’ve ever done. So my expectations for the coming year are again quite low, no matter the artist, since the selection committee doesn’t know what a good pop song requires.

joecrook96
Guest

Anouk (2013) and Douwe Bob (2016) are my favourite entries from The Netherlands! – O’G3NE were good too 🙂

Erasmus
Guest

One of my favourite countries since 2010(year when I started watching Eurovision),
I love: 2013, 2014, 2016
I really like: 2012, 2015, 2017
I like: 2010, 2011
I don’t like:/
I hate:/
A really great country, can’t wait for their next entry.

AngieP
Guest

I’ve expressed how I feel about their 2014 entry many times, so I’m not going to get into details. But I love “Calm after the storm”!

Generally, the Netherlands isn’t among my favourite countries. I hardly remember any of their entries from 2004 (when I watched my first Eurovision) until 2012.
From 2013, there has been an attempt to improve their results and their entries and it worked.
I hope they keep going the same way!

esc freak
Guest

In my opinion, their 2013, 2014 and 2016 entries are immensely overrated. My favorites are 2015 (even though the live performance was awful), 2017 and 2008.

azaad
Guest

Not been a fan of all their entries (love Birds, quite like Calm After the Storm but their three most recent offerings haven’t been my personal taste). However, I do appreciate them for sending a variety of songs and not sticking to the typical Eurovision broadcaster, which is especially commendable in their case given their use of internal selections.

Hopefully they celebrate diversity and build bridges to symphonic rock by getting Within Temptation (I know I’m reaching!).

Also, thank you for calling out Joan Franka’s cultural appropriation.

Cesar
Guest

Also, thank you for unnecessarily calling out Joan Franka for liking native american culture* fixed it for u xx

azaad
Guest

Liking and appreciating cultures respectfully doesn’t mean you have to appropriate garments of importance and reduce them to a fashion statement. It’s the equivalent of someone wearing a cross for “style”, except with a heavy dose of imperialist colonialism.

joan
Guest

Lesson learned : ignore primitive cultures.

Jonas
Guest

Hemel en Aarde is the best Dutch entry of all time.

Of recent years, Anouk & Douwe Bob are my favorites, though they haven’t really sent a bad entry since 2009.

Bdou
Guest

Hemel en Aarde is a MASTERPIECE ! But the 1998 contest was amazingly strong. If this song had competed the year after (1999), I’m sure that they would have won.

Walter
Guest
It maybe sounds idiotic, but I never disliked “Ik Ben Verliefd”, at a point I was even convinced it could really make it to the final. Looking back at it, Sieneke was in the strongest semi-final I have ever seen, even a Semi-Final where Sweden didn’t make the final. I think Sieneke could have gotten a sneaky 10th place in the other semi, with Belgium and Germany(who liked our song) there that could vote for us. 3Js didn’t deserve 43rd place, there we are lot of much worse songs that year, but I could understand why it did end up… Read more »
1wxrld.com
Guest

By your question, you probably mean the Dutch acts in Eurovision. Me I would suggest instead a band that has not been in Eurovision but is my absolute favourite. It is called Kensington, some of whose songs I have featured on my website http://www.1wxrld.com One of their songs that charted very high on my Top 100 chart was “Streets” which you can find here in this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoYbO46baX4