Wiwibloggs continues our new series in which we are taking a look at all of the countries currently participating in the Eurovision Song Contest and why we love them. Today we’re taking a trip to the lowlands to examine the wonderful history of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands was one of the seven countries participating in the very first contest in 1956. They have won four times overall – twice in the first four years of the contest (1957 and 1959), and then again in 1969 as one of the legendary four winners, and last in 1975. In recent years, their fortunes have either been very low — with an eight-year streak of non-qualification from 2005 to 2012 — or very high, with five qualifications in six years including a close second place. They have been a staple of enthusiasm for the contest, and are admired for their great spirit and creativity. Here are 10 reasons why we love the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest.

1. They opened the very first contest

Switzerland may have hosted and won the first contest back in 1956, but the Netherlands really started it all. Jetty Paerl, who back then was very famous in her home country, opened the contest with “De vogels van Holland”. It was a very pretty chanson-style song, singing typically about the beauty of Jetty’s homeland. The Netherlands also performed a second song that year, “Voorgoed voorbij“, sung by Corry Brokken — winner of the second contest and future Eurovision legend.

2. They revolutionised how to the host the contest

After the 1969 contest ended in a four-way tie for first place, a draw took place to decide which winner would host in 1970. The Netherlands, who won with Lenny Kuhr and “De troubador“, was chosen. However, due to many countries being angry with the voting structure, only 12 took the trip to Amsterdam. This led to the Netherlands introducing two Eurovision staples to fill out the contest — an introductory film showcasing the host nation, and postcards introducing each act before they performed. The 1970 contest was truly a special one, and we have the Netherlands to thank for that!

3. They proved the douze points system works

After many experiments with the voting system, in 1975 the now iconic douze points system was introduced. The contest was held in Stockholm after ABBA’s win, and the Netherlands opened it with “Ding-a-dong” by Teach-In. This led the Netherlands to give the very first 12 points. The Dutch themselves were awarded six sets of 12 in total, helping them claim their fourth — and currently last — win. “Ding-a-dong” went on to hit the charts all over Europe, and become a Eurovision classic.

4. They kept the contest going when no one else would

Keeping things running despite a massive boycott in 1970, the Netherlands truly have never shied away from the prospect of hosting. After Israel won for a second time in a row in 1979, they chose not to host the next contest. After second-placers Spain, and the usual reverse hosts the UK reportedly also refused to host, it was up to the Netherlands to step in. The Dutch returned to the same venue they’d used in 1976 and found many ways of cutting costs. Rather than use postcards, each act was introduced by a spokesperson from their country. The contest also saw featured, for the first time, a host interviewing the contestants in the green room.

5. Hidden gems

The Netherlands may have scored an impressive four wins, but their history is also peppered with unexpected favourites that didn’t make their mark on the scoreboard. While 1974 may be famous for ABBA, the Dutch entry that year also made its mark. “I See a Star” by Mouth and Macneal was an eccentric song about… erm… we’ll let you decide that for yourself. When the Netherlands hosted the contest in 1980, their entry, “Amsterdam” — despite coming only fifth — also became a retrospective fan favourite. From “Rechtop in de Wind” and “Hemel en aarde” back in the day, and “One More Night” and “My Impossible Dream” this century, the Netherlands have many a hidden gem.

6. They never stopped trying

The semi-final era initially wasn’t kind to the Netherlands. They qualified from the first one back in 2004, but then it all fell apart. The Netherlands holds the dubious record for most consecutive non-qualifications, with eight. But they never lost their enthusiasm and always got behind their entry. Their eighth failure, “You and Me” by Joan Franka, still went to No. 1 in the Dutch charts. And to be fair, it is a really cute song.

7. They showed that serious music can work

2013 was a turning point for the Netherlands at Eurovision, if not the contest as a whole, thanks to Anouk. The veteran Dutch singer brought “Birds”, a very mellow and dark song not usually seen on the Eurovision stage. Not only did this give the Netherlands its first qualification, but also their first top-ten placing since 1999. It was a risk that paid off and showed that mature sounds do work at Eurovision.

8. A true dark horse

It seemed impossible that the Dutch would do even better in 2014, and at first we all thought that Anouk was a fluke. When “Calm After the Storm” was first revealed, it was written off as boring and flat; the bookies had it at 150/1 to win. Oh, how wrong we were. After the first semi-final and the incredible staging was revealed, the odds slashed dramatically to a mere 10/3, and a Dutch victory looked very possible. They ultimately came second — an amazing result for a song that no one cared about at first. The Common Linnetsdebut album charted all across Europe and they became massive stars in the Netherlands. That beautiful, intimate staging and soft strumming rests in the hearts of many a Eurovision fan… don’t ever write off a song!

9. Strumming those acoustic guitars

The Netherlands showed that they were very good when it came to country music, and why mess with a good thing? Douwe Bob proved it once again in 2016, telling everyone to “Slow Down” if you can’t go on and scoring 11th. Waylon, of the Common Linnets, came back in 2018 with a higher energy take on country, that also brought the Netherlands to the grand final. Even back in the 1960s, the Dutch proved they know how to work a guitar. In 1969, they were one of the four winners with the guitar-based song “De troubador” by Lenny Kuhr. We love a bit of guitar action at Eurovision, and the Netherlands can provide.

10. That dress

Poor Trijntje. It was never going to work out. Trijntje Oosterhuis is another veteran performer from the Netherlands, and sang “Walk Along“, written by Anouk, in 2015. The song didn’t exactly have the polish that “Birds” had, but that wasn’t what had everyone talking. Trijntje revealed her dress a week before the semi-final, and it was quickly called “the slutty window”. In the end, the negative reception was too much and it was abandoned… if possible, for something worse. Trijntje ended up winning the Barbara Dex Award.

The dress lived on, however. Edsilia Rombley wore it for the voting segment, and it ended up being auctioned for charity. Trijntje did end up wearing the dress, on an episode of It Takes Two. It’s nice that she still takes her poor performance at Eurovision in good humour.

What are your favourite moments from the Netherlands at Eurovision? Share your thoughts below!

Read more Netherlands Eurovision news here

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Stan
Guest
Stan

they were great more or less every decade of the contest. i think my favourites are in the nineties: ‘vrede’, ‘hemel en aarde’ and ‘de eerste keer’. i’m glad they’re back onto something and i hope that the contest returns to the low countries soon. who’ll take the crown first, B or NL 😉

NO big 5
Guest
NO big 5

Its sad. The common linnets did get robbed from a beard. :'(

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

What I love about the Netherlands:
1. This outfit in 2015! Not good.
2. A song I didn’t like but then loved, which was in 2014.
Actually there aren’t many things I love about the Netherlands, but I love that it’s one of the very first countries who started Eurovision.

Mark
Guest
Mark

How about how they were truly the first Power House in Eurovision as they won twice within the first four competitions.

Celine
Guest
Celine

60’s fav: Een Beetje. Entertaining and positive song.
70’s fav: I see the star. Different, unforgettable.
80’s fav: Amsterdam. Classic, memorable and sweet
90’s fav: Vrede. Modern, different and catchy.
00’s fav: One more night. Supercatchy, fun and happy.
10’s fav: Birds. One word: Masterpiece.

So many other great entries. I respect The Netherlands.

Cesar's salad
Guest
Cesar's salad

The reception of Calm After the Storm was a disgrace for the fan bubble. I felt like I was the only one rooting for it. This song was pure gold and I fell in love instantly. Instead, fan bloggers boarded the hype train for the Swedish cheese and the Armenian dub step.

On the other hand, generic outworn sounds such as those of Iceland 2016, Estonia 2017 and Switzerland 2017 received too much praise that just did not deserve it all.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Yes. Verona sucked, Greta Salome is over rated and I can’t even remember Switzerland 2017.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Sorry, but Calm After the Storm was ALWAYS a masterpiece, not just because of the staging.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Edsilia is a legend indeed. I wish they’d stop trying it with country songs and explore different sounds, though.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Country songs brought them success! Edsilia was legendary indeed. In 1998. She ruined her status in 2007 with that cheap and flat middle-of-the-road song her husband wrote.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

They can be successful with different genres, too. See Georgia’s completely random songs from 2007 to 2011 that always managed to end on the left-hand side of the scoreboard.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

True true. Although random is not a sign of quality for me. But as long as they don’t go back to their pre-2013 dark era… Although, if they are going back, I want them to go waaaay back and go with something like “De Troubadour”, which I adore.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Joan Franka should’ve broken their non-qualification streak back in 2012. That was a great song!

Vrede and Hemel En Aaarde are my favorite of their entries. Classics both.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Not with that outfit…

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

2013-2015 is my favorite period in their recent history. Anouk’s Birds is so touching and my overall third place of all songs from 2009 to 2018. The Common Linnets were amazing and I have become a huge fan of Ilse DeLange . And I also really loved Trijntje’s Walk Along. A good song. The staging was boring, cause she did not move BUT she was pregnant. Just bad timing for Eurovision, although being pregnant is sth positive ofc <3

Meliris
Guest
Meliris

Birds is my favorite too. Too pure for eurovision… the only song from my country in ESC that I have ever really liked, had on repeat and such. 2014 was not bad either.

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

The only one? Nooo
The Netherlands have so many amazing songs!

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

I must say that in recent years I’ve became very proud of my country in ESC! Since 2013 we’ve had some kind of revolution, we actually started caring about the contest! Our five most recent qualifiers deserved their spot in the final, but our 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2015 entries also deserved to qualify imo. Most of the time our entries are extremely proffesional, with the exception of 2009, that was ablack mark in our ESC history. I really believe that with the right singer, song and staging we can win it, especially given that countries without a real ‘neighbour’vote… Read more »

pp77
Guest
pp77

They made also 2 big mistake in National final in 1981,1982
1981 with Maribelle “Marionette” they would be in TOP 5 .
1982 with The Millionaires – Fantasie eiland they would be strong contender to won Eurovison 1982 and 100 % TOP 3 in final
English version of that song Fantasy island was hit in Europe sang by UK group Tight Fit
Shame that orchestra ruinned song of Maywood in 1990 in Zagreb, with sound from their national final , The Netherlands would be in TOP 10 or even in TOP 5.

Juan
Guest
Juan

Don’t forget Ebonique! Biggest Dutch mistake ever made!

pp77
Guest
pp77

Yes they was so much better then chossen song from 2001. They made mistake also in 1999 song Dreams sang by Jane was better than One more reason, and song Tiridu sang by amazing Arwin Kluft was so much better choice for The Netherlands in 2003 then Estear Hear with One more night.

stommie
Guest
stommie

Ebonique (and especially Mieke de Jongh) were completely out of tune.

Anouk
Guest
Anouk

I think macedonia will soon break their record of the most consecutive non qualifications

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Unfortunately. They had their biggest chance in 2017, and blew it with the stage setup and the song edit.

pp77
Guest
pp77

My TOP 5 song from The Netherlands
1.1993 (deserved to be in TOP 2 with Switzerland that year)
2.1988 (deserved to be in TOP 5)
3.1998
4.1996 (deserved to be in TOP 5)
5.1980 (deserved to won in that year better than Ireland, F.R. Germany, UK,Switzerland)
than 2014,2017…
Underrated in 1989,1997
Deserved to go to final in 2005,2007,2012

Joe
Guest
Joe

Netherlands are a big favorite of mine. Their history at the contest is peppered with boatloads of hidden gems. And unlike most countries, the gems come from all eras. Tons of great songs to choose from (shout-out to Ik hou van jou, Amsterdam, Als het om de liefde gaat, Rechtop in de wind, Vrede, Ik wil alles met je delen, Give Me One Good Reason, De eerste keer which totally ripped off Dancing Queen but whatever, and the majority of their modern qualifiers, save for maybe Outlaw in ‘Em). But there are three that stand out even more: Wijs me… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

Oh! I forgot One More Night. Liked that one too. And I See a Star. And De troubadour! It’s funny, I love so many of their songs, but I could take or leave Een beetje and Ding-a-Dong, catchy though they may be.

Joe
Guest
Joe

One more still! For whatever reason, I decided to check out the 86 contest to see if it was the soul-sucking slog everyone says it is. Boy is it ever, but the Netherlands had one of the few decent entries that year, with Alles heeft ritme. Got a good groove. Ok, I’m done now.
(Oh, and Het es een wonder, Net als toen, Colorado, and that song from 2011. Those were all good too).

JESC Fan
Guest
JESC Fan

Doesn’t Wiwibloggs post about Junior Eurovision anymore because Russia’s song is out, Australia announces Jael Wenna as their participant and Belarus has chosen their artist and sing. Not to mention Ukraine is actually participating now, bringing the total amount of countries participating to 10.

Rose
Guest
Rose

You mean 20.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Oh and about Trijntje. On the one hand, I thought Anouk was supposed to help and guide her. On the other hand, I feel like a grown woman who sings beautifully and knows how to perform should not have made so many errors in judgement. Yes, the song was just okay, but it still was catchy. Just by doing nothing wrong, she could have qualified easily. Hopefully after 2018’s staging disasters with The Netherlands AND Belgium, no body will hire that director again. EVER.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Now THAT’s a country I actually love. Even at Eurovision. Since 2013, obviously! Douwe Bob and O’G3NE were my personal winners in 2015 and 2017, respectively. I was also feeling the vibes of “Outlaw in ’em” this year, but I have to admit that the performance was not one I ever want to watch again. I just did not click with it. However, they have totally reestablished themselves and have become one to watch. Any year now, for a Dutch or Belgian victory.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

* 2016 and 2017

Daan
Guest
Daan

I have a huge crush on Douwe Bob! ?
Oh and you forgot to mention that the Netherlands gave us the first black singer of the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1966 when Milly Scott ended up 15th

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

Douwe Bob is now a coach at the Voice Kids NL 😀 It is really notable, that every (!) Dutch at Eurovision since 2013 was also a judge or a participant on the Voice Adult/Kids/Senior NL: Anouk, Ilse, Waylon, Trijntje, Douwe Bob and OG3NE as a former winner. Eurovision NL and The Voice NL are so close… Should be the bonus fact here 🙂