With the Netherlands’ biggest cultural export being dance music, it was long expected that one of the country’s successful DJs would compose the theme music for Eurovision 2020. However, the musical director of Eurovision 2020 is not Armin van Buuren nor Martin Garrix, but Eric van Tijn.

The Eurovision 2020 musical director is Eric van Tijn

To some Dutch Eurovision fans, it came as a complete surprise that veteran composer and arranger Eric van Tijn was chosen to be the music director for the 65th edition of the contest. Unlike Sweden, which chose the late DJ Aviici in 2013, the Netherlands has opted for a man who can master an orchestra.

Eric is certainly enthusiastic. He tells AD:

“I realised when we started discussing it that it would be much work. There will be three shows, there will be lots of music in every single show. And that’s a lot. I have a very strict planning. And then I will sit behind my keyboard or piano and then I will be just playing something. (…) I am doing a lot of project, which I am very proud of, but this is only for once. (…) It’s work, but it doesn’t feel like work.”

Who is Eric van Tijn?

When the average Dutch person thinks of Van Tijn’s work, they will reminisce about the 1990s. Then, Eric van Tijn had a fruitful collaboration with Jochem Fluistma. The duo produced many successful Dutch-language songs for famous local artists. In 1996, their own single “15 miljoen mensen” topped the domestic charts for several weeks.

The duo was also successful at Eurovision. In 1993, “Vrede” sung by Ruth Jacott, finished sixth. Five years later, Edsilia Rombley‘s rendition of “Hemel en Aarde” finished fourth, almost snatching victory.

Eric van Tijn’s career as a musical director

Thinking of Eric van Tijn as a rather dated composer would be unfair. Although less prominent in recent times, Van Tijn remains active. Next to that, he has plenty of experience that would qualify him for the job.

Since 2013, Eric van Tijn has worked as musical director for The Passion, a live musical and modern retelling of events around Easter. Van Tijn was responsible for picking its songs as well as arranging them for broadcast.

Under the musical supervision of Van Tijn, The Passion became one of the most viewed events on Dutch television.

Actor Jeroen van Koningsbrugge‘s interpretation of Marco Borsato’s ballad “Wit Licht” was named as one the highlights of Dutch television in 2015.

Do you think that the Netherlands was right to choose someone with a classical background rather than a DJ? Let us know in the comments below!

Read all our Eurovision 2020 news here.

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Milan S.
Milan S.
6 months ago

It certainly makes more sense for a song contest to have a theme music than to have a slogan.

JOWST NE
JOWST NE
6 months ago

Orchestrated theme tunes are always the best. Ridiculous why they got rid of the orchestra at ESC in 1999, there are many examples of modern songs with a live orchestra!

If you can only sing live, people should have the choice of live music too #OrchestraFor2020 #BringBackLiveMusicAtESC

Rob
Rob
6 months ago

Can’t it be both? Van Thijn AND a Dutch DJ? It might blend in perfectly, I reckon. 😀

Africavision
Africavision
6 months ago

Oh man! So I guess that we aren’t getting that happy, dancing, big momma DJ, who was on the stage at ESC 2009, with The Toppers lol. That performance was so cringe, that it did a 180, and was actually quite entertaining, joyous, and a guilty pleasure, and that lady is a legend. It’s pretty unbeweaveable that The Netherlands won Eurovision just 10 years after they sent THAT lol. It just goes to show that you can’t write off any nation from winning the title despite their poor current form.

Joe
Joe
6 months ago
Reply to  Africavision

Yeah, imagine trying to describe Eurovision ten years in the future to a fan in 2009. “Greetings, fan from the past! I’m from 2019. Greetings from the future!” “Wow! Hey! That’s nifty. So, what was 2019 like?” “Excellent. Israel did a great job hosting.” “Israel, huh? Guess they kept that streak going. They were just talking about the Arab-Israeli thing this year, wonder if that’ll still be a hot-button issue?” “Hmmm…kinda. Iceland sort of got into it. They were crazy.” “Iceland? The Nordic Teddy bear? How crazy?” “Think Ukraine in your year, but on steroids.” “Jesus. Speaking of, how’d Ukraine… Read more »

Africavision
Africavision
6 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Brilliant, Joe! You very aptly described a lot of the happenings that we had over the past decade. It’s pretty exciting to think of what’s to come in the next decade. Which nation(s) will return or debut? Which nation(s) will exit? What will be the musical flavor in 10 years time? Will people in 2029 look back at the 2019 contest and have “WTF was that?” moments, as we now have for some of the 2009 entries? Which songs from ESC 2019 will be the ‘fairytale’, ‘düm tek tek’, and ‘always’, which will still have massive appeal among the fandom… Read more »

Lisianthus
Lisianthus
6 months ago
Reply to  Africavision

The ‘big momma’ dj is Dedre Twiss, who was a backing vocalist for Ilse DeLange (Eurovison 2014 and Duncan’s mentor in 2019) for years. Another background vocalist in that performance was Sarina Voorn, who also did backing vocals for Duncan this year and has done backing vocals for Waylon at multiple concerts. The third backing vocalist was Ingrid Simons, who represented Belgium in 2002, is the vocalist on multiple DJ Paul Elstak songs and is the mother of Eva Simons. It’s a small country. 😉

Joe
Joe
6 months ago
Reply to  Lisianthus

And yet, they all were involved in quite possibly the worst Dutch entry ever! What a difference ten years make.

Africavision
Africavision
6 months ago
Reply to  Lisianthus

Wow, Lisianthus! Thanks for the information. You’re so smart! You are like a walking, talking, Dutch Eurovision encyclopedia 🙂

Tom
Tom
6 months ago

Armin and Martin said they are not interested to do ESC so its not a surprise that they are not here for Rotterdam

2020 eurovision
2020 eurovision
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom

no, Martin said he would be interested to write the theme song, he just wasn’t interested in songwriting and competing as an artist 🙂

Tom
Tom
6 months ago

Ah ok thanks, but still i am not surprise that they are out ….

Carina
Carina
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom

You don’t know if they are out. They can also assist with writing a song for an opening or interval act.

Tom
Tom
6 months ago
Reply to  Carina

Armin definitely not he revealed that he dont have a interest … about Martin i dont know

jack
jack
6 months ago

These 2 entries are among the best that The Netherlands had ever send. Cant wait

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
6 months ago

I’m happy with this news, he can bring something sophisticated and grand. It also gives me hope the excellent Metropole Orchestra will be involved somehow

Mr Vanilla Bean
6 months ago

The guy definitely should have been hired to compose the Dutch 2007 song as well. DJs are so overrated these days. Music, actual music with actual melodies will never die.