Luxembourg hasn’t competed at Eurovision since 1993, but this year — with Eurovision being hosted in the Benelux region — fans were hoping the Grand Duchy would make a special appearance. But alas, national broadcaster RTL has confirmed that Luxembourg will NOT compete at Eurovision 2020.
The broadcaster confirmed their non-participation to ESCToday. An RTL spokesperson explained that the broadcaster’s focus is on news rather than music and entertainment shows. As well, participating in Eurovision would be a “financial strain on the broadcaster”.
Luxembourg’s only other EBU member broadcaster is the radio broadcaster ERSL.
The news will come as a disappointment to fans. Many were hoping that Luxembourg would make a special appearance, given that Eurovision 2020 will be hosted in the Benelux region.
Earlier in the year, a petition was launched to persuade Luxembourg to make a comeback. Despite being endorsed by Luxembourg’s Eurovision 1973 winner Anne-Marie David, it wasn’t enough to persuade anyone at the national broadcaster.
Luxembourg and Eurovision
This petition wasn’t the first to occur in Luxembourg since their withdrawal in 1993. In 2016 the government debated a potential comeback, but the broadcaster RTL ruled out making a comeback due to financial reasons.
At the time, the then director of programming for RTL Luxembourg, Steve Schmit, explained that RTL is a small station that only produces two hours of local television per day. While RTL is a commercial channel that also has public service requirements, he explained that “our strategy is focused on information and magazines.”
Despite being one of the smaller nations in Eurovision (it has a similar population as Montenegro), Luxembourg was one of Eurovision’s heavy hitters. In the 37 years it competed, Luxembourg racked up five wins — matched by France, the UK and the Netherlands and topped only by Sweden and Ireland.
But Luxembourg usually looked abroad for its Eurovision acts. All five of its winners came from outside the Grand Duchy, mostly from France.
Luxembourg last competed in 1993, where the band Modern Times performed “Donne-moi une chance” with French and Luxembourgish lyrics. The song placed 20th, Luxembourg’s fourth-worst result ever.
But regardless of the broadcaster’s lack of interest, Luxembourg has a thriving Eurovision fan base who still hope that one day their country will return to compete in Eurovision.
What do you think? Should RTL suspend its news programming and focus on Eurovision? Should the EBU allow another country’s broadcaster to manage Luxembourg’s act? Tell us your ideas for getting Luxembourg back to Eurovision!
Why don’t they already choose Rotterdam? I mean 10.000-15.000 will attend the city. 185 million other will experience the show from the TV and it would be more pleasant video shots in Ahoy (Rotterdam)
Didn’t come back now-will never return.Slovakia can in case of victory of the Czech Republic? Also doubt.
It’s horrible. Even Iceland will probably be barred from participating. The competition falls apart every year.
Every year it’s the same:
Luxembourg will NOT participate.
Monaco will NOT participate.
Morocco will NOT participate.
Andorra will NOT participate.
Turkey will NOT participate.
Slovakia will NOT participate.
Maybe make a news if someone will change their mind, otherwise what’s noteworthy about it?
You forgot Bosnia will NOT participate and I think Bulgaria is a new member of that category as well. :/
Bulgaria hoped to return in 2020 but their broadcaster was declared bankrupt.
No no no… the broadcaster from Bulgaria is bankrupt only for eurovision. No problem for sportive events! It’s the same in a lot of country sadly. People prefer sport to music.
As one of the richest countries in Europe (and the world) I don’t see how they can’t afford to participate, especially when there is less wealthy countries who successfully participate every year (and sometimes even get great results). Luxembourg could return if they really wanted to. They just clearly don’t want to. The poor citizens being bombarded with news and current affairs constantly…RTÉ here in Ireland is the exact same. Very little entertainment programming, hence why our Eurovision eateries are usually awful. Is there any other broadcasters in Luxembourg who could join the EBU and take them back into the… Read more »
Just say you’re not motivated to join the contest.
They have a big Portuguese diaspora (similar to Italians in Belgium or Turks in Germany), so Portugal would definitely get diaspora vote from them if they were to return.
Too bad, I gotta say I would love for them to return. But tbh, I understand that ESC is currently not their priority, but please stop using money as an excuse… Luxembourg is one of the richest countries on the planet, their GDP per capita is the highest IN THE WORLD. If Montenegro, Moldova and Belarus can find the money, Luxembourg could find it too (if they wanted to).
If I’m correct the money they have to pay isn’t the same for each country. Because Luxembourg is rich they have to pay much more then Montenegro.
… Which they can afford too. Believe me, they can afford anything they want. 😉
RTL Group (which owns RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg) is current €470 million in debt. The Grand Dutchy does not pay for the participation, the broadcaster does. As every indebted company would do, they are doing everything they can to cut expenses, which includes not taking part in Eurovision, as it would not generate sufficient revenue to cover the ~125,000€ RTL would have to pay. (Source: http://www.rtlgroup.com/files/pdf2/rtl_group_annual_report_20181.pdf)
RTL Luxemburg participated to the contest when a french-speaking TV channel was still broadcasting (and producing) from Luxemburg. It was during the period “Tele Luxembourg & RTL Television”, when that TV station was fully owned by RTL Group. As mentioned in the article, participants mainly came from France. After the split between the Belgian & Lux/French RTL TV channels (RTL-TVI in Belgium/ RTL Television in Lux/France) in 1987, RTL Television – still based in Luxemburg – remained alone as EBU member, but with a smaller audience (Belgian viewers were gone), hence less revenues. The sale of RTL Television (RTL9 from… Read more »
Thanks for the insight. Still, to me it doesn’t explain the lack of will to participate. RTL Lux has really good rates (about 60-70%), the average viewership of 100.000 people and quite a lot of programmes in terms of the entertainment (quiz shows, talk shows, sport events broadcasts, programmes about cars, artists, films and music, cooking shows, they even had their own version of America’s Got Talent!) so why not try Eurovision for once? I think it would fit into younger audience oriented Den 2. RTL’s character. Well, a policy is a policy and we have to deal with it.
I don’t believe a word this country says.
It’s a bit of a shame really because there is very little presence of Luxembourg on the world stage. The country is hardly going to suddenly become amazing at football and win the world cup or win 30 Olympic medals – but with Eurovision it has a genuinely good chance! With such a big foreign-born population, I’m surprised they don’t look to ESC as an event that could bring people together to cheer for the country.
Grand Duchy? More like Grand Douche.
Iceland has a long running professional show and the highest viewing rates in Europe, Malta is just Eurovision-obsessed and organized freaking X-Factor to select the representative, San Marino held a big national final involving singers from all over the world yet picking an artist and paying minimal participation fee is too much for you.
RTL, you have no balls.
So sad, I’ll be going to Luxembourg next year and I had a feeling they would return.
Luxembourg is 50% foreign citizens, so I guess the 50% Luxembourgers don’t care since they’ve had almost 30 years without it or they can watch on French TV, and the other 50% will watch on their home country’s channel if they want to watch it
4 people in Luxembourg love watching News, and 2 depressed Eurovision Fans.
Some people seem to confuse the GDP of Luxembourg with the funding of the broadcaster.
A luxembourgish broadcaster that only focuses on news? Like.. except for some economical things the most exciting thing to report about happening in luxembourg is a cat being stuck in a tree or something xD
It seems that there are a lot of news in Luxembourg, that they have no time and money for Eurovision.
I’ll bet my left ball that – if the EBU would ask Kazakhstan, those guys would walk barefoot over shattered glass to perform in the Eurovision …..so we should set our focus on the countries who want to participate and shouldn’t ask Luxembourg again.
Well said. Very good point. Why waste time on countries who have no interest in returning.
I guess they’ll only return if France wins someday
I don’t believe that Luxembourg struggles financially. Going by GDP per capita (PPP), Luxembourg is the richest country in Europe.
Shame they won’t be returning, I wanted the Benelux countries to reunite in the Netherlands.
It’s not Luxembourg struggling financially, it’s the broadcaster RTL Tele Leutzeburg. It’s two different identities.
Luxembourg has enough money. They claim they don’t have a chance of doing well at Eurovision because they’re a small country, but Luxembourg has more than half a million inhabitants, which is more than Iceland and Malta’s population.
Their 1993 entry sums it up perfectly. Eurovision is like: ‘Give me a chance’ and Luxembourg forever says no sadly
Maybe if we gave that song a chance they would still be here ahaha
No surprises, but I’d understand if they’d feel their regular fate would end up like Switzerland in the modern era.
Who came 4th this year
And didn’t qualify for 7/10 times this decade. Luca Hanni is not their regular fate.
It still goes to show that any country can turn their luck around
Yeah right. No moneys. What a lazy excuse.
Can they please stop with the no money nonsense! If Moldova and San Marino can participate then so can the far more wealthy Luxembourg. It’s just a complete lack of interest which in my opinion is unjustified.
They made it clear that apart from money, their programming is focused only news and current affairs, leaving very little room for entertainment.
It’s also different from the other RTL’s being run elsewhere in the region apparently.
LITTLE room for entertainment? What DO they have for entertainment that is at least as big as Eurovision? They did win 4 of these, yes?
5 of them actually
I checked again. Thanks for the correction.
Commercial broadcasting hav since changed the landscape there and RTL itself went to a different direction in the years following its withdrawal.
In fact, RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg is a whole different entity from the overall RTL Group, one of Europe’s largest media entities.
*Pretends to be shocked*
but seriously, it would be amazing for them to have a return to the contest
We all know that this is NOT the reason why they do not want to return..
Btw any news on Liechtenstein??
Could Liechtenstein saying “yes” change Luxembourg’s mind?
Unfortunately, no, since RTL doesn’t even wanna try since they think that their chances of success aren’t high.
The chances of success for a country like Latvia weren’t high lately (2 qualifiers this entire decade); but they keep coming, because they have something unique to offer. So does Spain, despite their ongoing languish below the top 20. So does San Marino, with 2 qualifiers in their entire (though short) history. A country with 5 titles shouldn’t be THIS afraid of returning with little success. Not everyone expects Luxembourg to brush ALL of the rust off its shoulders after a TWENTY-SIX-YEAR layoff and come out swinging. We know they got the money; and even if they can’t send one… Read more »
Its ridiculous to say theat they don’t have money. I just don’t believe it.
Considering that some other countries can participate..
Yeah, they are the richest country in Europe 😀
It’s the broadcaster, not the whole country in general. Same goes to Andorra.