We’re continuing our journey through the continent, spreading the love to each country in turn with 10 reasons why we love them. Today it’s the turn of Belgium to blush as we heap praise on their epic entries of late as well as looking into their back catalogue.

Belgium debuted back in 1956 in the very first contest in Lugano, Switzerland. Since then, they’ve sent 60 songs to the contest, only missing out on the fun in 1994, 1997 and 2001 due to the old relegation system before semi-finals were in existence. Whilst they’ve had some stand-out entries in a bad light, recently they have become one of the most dependable countries at Eurovision to send complete quality entries, and we can’t get enough. Here’s 10 reasons why we love Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest.

1. What a turn-around

In 2014, Belgium sent the somewhat dreary “Mother” by Axel Hirsoux, a tenor ballad about a man grieving for his late mum, complete with a ghostly lady dancing behind him. Whilst very touching, the song didn’t translate into votes and it didn’t qualify. However, the next year the selection method was switched up, opting for internal selection instead of a public vote, and The Voice Belgique runner-up Loic Nottet was announced. “Rhythm Inside” is still ranked as one of the most quality entries of recent years and is the mark of Belgium’s turnaround. Since Loic came fourth, they’ve had another two top-ten finishes, and despite the fact they weren’t in the final this year, it was considered the big shock of the year, as Sennek with “A Matter of Time” was a firm fan favourite.

2. Who needs to sing in a real language when you can just make one up… twice?

Despite the fact Belgium is a country of several languages, on two occasions Belgium decided to send songs in totally made-up languages. “Sanomi” by Urban Trad and “O Julissi” by Ishtar made no sense to viewers as they weren’t based in any sense of reality, but despite this Urban Trad managed to come second in the contest behind Sertab Erener. With 165 points, they were just two points behind the Turkish winner.

3. Two words: Barbara Dex

Barbara Dex performing at Eurovision 1993 in Millstreet, Ireland.

In 1993, the then 19-year-old Barabra Dex represented Belgium at Eurovision with a simple song in Flemish called “Iemand als jij”, but it wasn’t her song that has made her a Eurovision icon… it was her stage costume. Barbara made the dress herself, and it was less-than-pretty. The garment (which was akin to old tights with a huge collar and buttons) was so bad that an award was named after her to honour the worst dressed entrant every year. Of course, we know our favourites who have received the award over recent years (Moje 3 being a personal favourite), but it must be said it is a funny and interesting part of contest culture — and we have Barbara to thank for it all!

4. The existence of Tom Dice

Tom Dice arrived on the Eurovision scene in 2010 after he was internally chosen by VRT, with the beautiful track “Me and My Guitar”. The song went to the contest in Oslo, and won its semi-final — the only time to date Belgium has achieved this. It’s one of the most remembered songs from the 2010 edition of Eurovision, along with maNga and of course Lena, and it brought a softer approach to a pop-heavy year.

5. Two different cultures and sounds in one country

With two distinct regional broadcasters sending entries to the contest bi-annually, we get two very different sets of ideas and plans each year. The Walloon broadcaster RTBF holds the baton on odd-number years and more recently holds a better record than its Flemish counterpart VRT. Though both have united in upping the quality in the last decade. We can go from the cool niche that Loic Nottet had, into a funky banger from Laura Tesoro.

6. They have some of the most artistic videos

Since their overhaul in quality, Belgium’s official music videos have been some of the best every year. It started with the “Rhythm Inside” video about insecurities and real beauty, and most recently Sennek’s clip was stunning, with her in a grand estate looking elegant. Not to mention Blanche’s modern and minimalist video that went with “City Lights”.

7. They don’t follow a typical formula

Belgium never go with the norm in Eurovision, by taking chances with genres and unique voices. Even Axel Hirsoux had something very different to everything else, and now they’ve not been shy to bring minimalist indie-tinged entries which are unforgettable and mesmerising. Even going further back, with the aforementioned invented languages they’ve taken risks.

8. They gave Eurovision its youngest ever winner

In 1986, 13-year-old Sandra Kim won Eurovision with the sassy electro-pop number “J’aime la vie”. This made her the youngest winner of Eurovision — and it’s a record that will remain unchallenged. In 1990 a minimum age of 16 was introduced, meaning that no pre-teen singer is going to snatch Sandra’s crown.

9. Iconic dance moves

Laura Tesoro Belgium Eurovision 2016
Laura Tesoro bringing the house down at the Globen Arena in Stockholm.

Laura Tesoro closed the first semi-final in Stockholm and brought the house down with her stunning dance moves. We were all amazed when we saw the stage production put forth, and she managed to bag a top-ten spot. Loic also had interesting choreography (partially performed by SuRie, who would later represent the UK in 2018), which stuck in viewers minds. It’s easy to look back on Belgium’s participation and remember many performances that have something iconic about them with dance, and we love them for it.

10. One of the most reliable countries in the whole contest

For any fans of the contest who have joined in 2015 or beyond, there really aren’t enough words to describe how crazy it is that we are assured to get a fan favourite from Belgium every single year. No one would have expected them to be the ones to have the glow-up that they did, and we can guarantee that no matter the result of the contest, we are going to get a fantastic song from RTBF next year, especially since the broadcaster’s last two entrants have both come fourth in the contest. We really have got something brilliant to look forward to next year, we can almost be certain.

Bonus! Roberto Bellarosa’s dancers

In 2013, Roberto Bellarosa’s backing dancers had some of the strangest yet most memorable choreography we’ve ever seen at the Eurovision Song Contest. Those moves had many a commentator making remarks, and it’s not hard to see why.

Read more Belgium Eurovision news here

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Niki
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Niki

Honourable mention: Kate Ryan!! ?

Fredrik
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Fredrik

You thought Belgium was a powerhouse but when you look at the statistics Belgium is not but i feel Belgium is a country that will win 2 times soon.

Ana
Guest
Ana

I love Sandra Kim, Roberto Bellarosa, Tom Dice and OF COURSE Loic Nottet… But you haven’t mentioned one magnificent Belgian song…
It is called “Macedomienne” and it is from 1990. Miracle!

Raoul
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Raoul

Rhythm Inside is perhaps my favourite song of all contests this millenium. I am simply awestruck by its lyrics, music and staging.

Weißbrot
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Weißbrot

Wiwibloggs can you please just once and for all do something against that idiot that keeps harrassing and insulting me? That guy just keeps making new accounts under different e-mails to dislike my comments (because 10 dislike for such normal comments is just really odd… ) and to insult me… It’s slowly getting out of hand. In the beginning it didn’t bother me, but I just can’t comment on wiwibloggs anymore without having to deal with that troll guy.

hi im gay
Guest

God, it must take a lot of time to maintain all those troll and spam accounts, dr weiss.

ESCFan2009 (male, 22, German)
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ESCFan2009 (male, 22, German)

@Weißbrot: Well, you cannot comment on wiwibloggs anymore and I cannot comment on the Prinz Blog anymore.. We are sadly sitting in one boat XD

Weißbrot
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Weißbrot

Whaaat? Why can’t you comment there anymore? 🙁 (Sorry, wiwibloggs for adressing this here, but there’s no other way)

ESCFan2009 (male, 22, German)
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ESCFan2009 (male, 22, German)

Have you not read the discussion there yet? There was much hate against my comments and everybody liked these hate comments. And @4porcelli wrote a really offensive post. Read the latest articles, his words are hard. I am making a pause there but I don’t know if I can come back. I am planning to apply for wiwibloggs next week, because I think that the fabulous team here can support my effort, passion and energy much more then the haters on our German website…

Weißbrot
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Weißbrot

Oh no, I’ve read the discussion now. Sorry for not being there for you! But please come back!! I’m going to defend you with all my heart if someone starts insulting you 😉 But please, just come back.

FanESC
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FanESC

With my country (France), and Bulgaria, they are among my favourites countries at Eurovision.

pp77
Guest
pp77

We had only in Belgium that RTBF organize Eurovision song contest in 1986 , but RTBF don t send song to contest ,, song send VRT. For the first and only times organizer of Eurovison did n t had song in contest.

pp77
Guest
pp77

mistake 1987 not 1986

pp77
Guest
pp77

For me VRT send better song then RTBF (but RTBF have beteter result thans to french language in 60,70,80 s) From RTBF I like song from 80,82,86,88,13,15,17 From VRT I like song from 73,79,81,83,87,89,99,04,06,16,18 They deserved to won in 1982 (much better song than Germany, Israel, Switzerland) and they are best in 1986 (for me one of better winner in history ) For me best 5 song from Belgium song from 1983, 1981, 1986 than 1982,2006 Overrated in 78 ( that year we had so much better song from Germany, Luxembourg..) , 84 ( 5 th place for boring song… Read more »

Reality Checker
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Reality Checker

2015 with Loic and 2017 with Blanche means that 2019 will be the turn of the more skilled Belgian broadcaster again. If Belgium were to win, it is most likely in an uneven year. 2019 maybe?

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Judging by the results since 2009, Sweden is the strongest nation at ESC, unless you exclude the jury vote.
The average ranking is:
1. Sweden (8.60)
2. Italy (8.63)
3. Australia (9.00)
4. Ukraine (10.22)
5. Russia (10.33)

AngieP
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AngieP

Belgium… The country with only one win, but the recent years is trying to make them 2. Sandra Kim who was 13 at the time, but she said she was 16 in order to participate. Imagine if she didn’t participate in 1986! I love Belgium for the great songs they’ve sent since 2015. “Rhythm inside” is my favourite Belgium song since the 2000’s. A great performance, a memorable staging and a talented young artist. “What’s the pressure” was a good song, but not something memorable. Until I saw the semi final performance and I changed my mind. It’s one of… Read more »

Joe
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Joe

One of my favorites, always reliable for an inventive song. No mention here of another Belgian shock nom-qualifier, Je t’adore, also a classic (and one of the few actual good songs that year). While the way they’ve upped their game recently makes me inclined to pick one of their last four entries, all of which were gold, the song I’ll always call Belgium’s masterpiece is Sanomi. It’s the most oddly beautiful song I’ve ever heard from Eurovision, and I think it should’ve won.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I think they’re only doing countries currently competing

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

Belgium is really great! ,,Rythm inside” is still taking the number one spot on my favourite Eurovision Songs EVER. I don’t think I’ll need to explain to you how much I love that song. Belgium can get the win in the next couple of years, I’m kinda feeling it… Love from your neighbours from Germany <3 (Go for that trophy guys!)

Eee Pee
Guest
Eee Pee

Belgium is like circling around a Eurovision win, not quite getting it. But they will get there one day!

P.S. has anyone seen pics of Axel Hirsoux lately? He has lost weight and is quite yummy now.

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

I always feel so sorry for the Belgians always (three times in a row!!) being announced as the last qualifier. I mean, we Dutchies have it bad too, but the Belgians suffer almost every year. City Lights and A Matter Of Time are extremely good songs, both put down big time by awfull staging. Both could have won the contest if it wasn’t for the live performances and vocals. 2015 and 2016 were also nice, but overrated in the GF. 2014 was just dreadfull, and I never really liked their 2010 entry.

Larry
Guest
Larry

Barbara’s song is Iemand als Jij. With a capital i not a capital L.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Somebody has to say it…Sennek’s fate wasn’t a shock.
Anyway, my faves are the entries from 2010, 2015 and 2017.

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

It feels like you mostly mentioned only their last 4 entries…
Nothing before those, 1993 and 1986? (And the 2 made up languages entries)
I’m sure you could have found more stuff to write but yea, Belgium’s last 4 years were amazing.

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

holy bellarosa those backing dancers were the original chickens on the esc stage love those moves 😀

Eastman
Guest
Eastman

Yup, Sennek didn’t qualify, but it wasn’t a disastrous non-qualification like Mother. If she had been in the second semi-final, she would have easily qualified. VRT was on the right track. They perhaps should have put more effort into the staging, instead of that gothic Barbara Dex look Sennek had.

Linzer Torte
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Linzer Torte

oh I love Belgium. The beauty of Flanders and the songs from Wallonia at Eurovision.

Dame Tu Conchita
Guest
Dame Tu Conchita

I am still upset over Sennek’s non-qualification to the 2018 final.

Marla
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Marla

Eww!

Regina Phalange
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Regina Phalange

I would put it at 10th place in the semi. Great song, bad performance. The semi was very strong so I get it why it failed.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Yea i liked it until the live performance kicked in. Also the costume was a bit weird.

Denis
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Denis

I Think it was to similar to Blanche the year before year. It’s like they thought it worked for them, it might work for us!

Dame Tu Conchita
Guest
Dame Tu Conchita

Surprised to see a million dislikes on my comment. I just adore her and her song and I did not mention her stage performance as you all assumed here. Funny.

Erasmus
Guest
Erasmus

Belgium is my favorite country at ESC (at least lately), 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2018 are all in my top 5 that year when they were in. 2013 and 2016 were also really good. 2012, 2014 weren’t bad, but not great either. The only act that I dislike from them is 2011, hate that song, it’s close to my last place in 2011. I also LOVE Sandra Kim’s song. I hope they send another dark-indie-pop genre song (my favorite genre). They should do better staging though, well I liked Loic’s, Laura’s and Tom’s staging, but they really messed it up… Read more »