The story of the Dutch turnaround is definitely something that will live on in Eurovision history forever. After eight consecutive years of non-qualifications to the grand final between 2005 and 2012, The Netherlands finally got some justice in 2013.
They not only returned to the grand final, but also secured their first top-ten placing since 1999. After this return to form in 2013, The Netherlands followed it up one year later with second place, and five years after that with a win.
But, while we get excited for the return of Eurovision to The Netherlands for the first time since 1980, let’s take a look at the eight Dutch acts who felt those eight years of pain. Happily, we can report that they’re all continuing their music careers and bringing us great music.
New music from the Dutch Eurovision acts of 2005-2012
The Netherlands had actually had quite a few hits in the late 90s and early 00s. “Hemel en aarde” by Edsilia Rombley and “One Good Reason” by Marlayne in 1998 and 1999 respectively took them to the top ten. “No Goodbyes” by Linda Wagenmakers in 2000 and “One More Night” by Esther Hart in 2003 were both strong fan favourites.
The country were on a bit of a high, and Glennis Grace initially seemed to keep the high going in 2005. Her song, “My Impossible Dream”, was another fan favourite, and many thought the Dutch were a shoe-in to qualify for the second year running. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. The song came four places short of qualification in 14th position.
Despite this disappointment, Glennis Grace’s career has only grown stronger. She’s continued to release a number of albums, which have charted in The Netherlands and Belgium. Her most notable release was “Afscheid” in 2011, which went to number one in the Netherlands and was certified platinum. She’s also been collaborating with artists including Edsilia Rombley and Trijntje Oosterhuis in the massively successful Ladies of Soul. In 2018, Glennis Grace reached the final of America’s Got Talent.
This year, Glennis released the soft-rock ballad “Empathy” and the powerful soul song “Ik wil niet zonder jou”. She’s set to partake on a 2020 tour of The Netherlands. Impossible Dreams do come true, y’all!
Sister-act Treble won the national final to represent The Netherlands in 2006 by an absolute landslide. It was the second in a trend of songs from the Benelux region to feature imaginary lyrics (following Belgium’s 2003 entry). “Amambanda” did have some what of a fan following. But, this didn’t translate on the scoreboard. Treble collapsed into a very disappointing 20th place in the semi-final.
Treble released their album Free shortly after Eurovision. Since then, the sisters have continued to perform. Nina van Dijk took part in season three of The Voice of Holland, making it to the live shows. Djem van Dijk was part of a new music group called Dialoque, releasing the single “Slick Steve”, and embarked on theatre tours with Joris Linssen and Caramba. She’s also started a family, and is the mother to an adorable son.
Absolutely no stranger to the contest, Edsilia Rombley last partook in 1998 where she took The Netherlands to the top four for the first time since their 1975 victory. She was internally selected for the contest in 2007, and hopes were high. Despite Edsilia’s energy and charisma, the country fell down the scoreboard yet again. “On Top Of The World” only reached 21st place in the semi-final. Edsilia’s energy was not shaken, however, as she announced the Dutch 12 points in the same year (and did so again in 2015 whilst wearing that iconic dress).
Edsilia has never strayed from her love of music and Eurovision. She was part of super-group Ladies of Soul with Trijntje and Glennis Grace. She’s also continued her solo work, most recently releasing two The Piano Ballads albums, featuring a jazzy cover of “The Way You Make Me Feel”, as well as collaborations with Edwin Jonker and fellow Eurovision name Paul de Leeuw.
As we all know, she’s also hosting Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam, in addition to the Dutch pre-party Eurovision in Concert. She previously hosted Eurovision in Concert last year, so we know she’s got what it takes to shine.
Hind Laroussi, known professionally at the time as Hind, finished in third place on the Dutch version of Idol in 2003, and followed that up with the Edison Award for Best New Dutch Artist. She released two albums before being internally selected for Eurovision in 2008. The Moroccan-Dutch singer was known for mixing Arabic influences in her pop music, and to be honest, it makes for quite an interesting flavour. Sadly, that did not make for Eurovision success. Her song, “Your Heart Belongs To Me”, failed to qualify to the grand final, finishing in 13th position.
Hind wasn’t deterred, and two years later she released her album Crosspop. The year after that, she released “Wereldwijd orkest”, which became her biggest single to date. After a break from music, she returned as Laroussi and released a new single “Lost”, which she described as a return to her Moroccan roots.
De Toppers were the next act to be internally selected for The Netherlands, despite the fans themselves saying they’d prefer Anouk. (Interesting foreshadow there.) After getting through several disputes between the band and the broadcaster, the song “Shine” was chosen through a national final to represent The Netherlands at Eurovision 2009 in Moscow. De Toppers are a very famous band in their home country, but they ended up tumbling down the scoreboard. The group finished second-to-last in the semifinal, with a mere eleven points.
Nonetheless, as a massively successful act prior to Eurovision, they did not slow down after. Eurovision 2020 host Jan Smit joined the group in 2017. The same year, they received a Special Achievement Award. Every year, they release a Toppers in Concert album, which charts in their home nation. They also broke the world record for the number of people to perform canon singing, with 198,000 spectators. This year, they also celebrated their fifteenth anniversary with a concert that included special guests such as Eurovision 2017 act OG3NE.
After a string of poor results, The Netherlands tried to mix things up by internally selecting the song and choosing an artist through a national final. This led to one of the strangest national finals in recent memory, but ultimately led to Sieneke singing “Ik ben verliefd (Sha-la-lie)”. The song was sharply criticised for being way too old-fashioned, but that didn’t stop it charting very strongly in her home country. However, a flashy performance and an enthused Sieneke didn’t allow The Netherlands to reach higher than 14th place in the semi-final. An improvement, though!
Sieneke continued her music career well after Eurovision, and is set to celebrate her tenth anniversary in the music industry next year. She released her self-tited debut album later in 2010, and went on to release two other studio albums in 2012 and 2016. Sieneke most recently released “Bekijk ‘t maar”, which follows the levenslied style of her roots. She’s also a television presenter on Sterren NL TOP20 and acts in TV series Koos. The Eurovision alum has also married her husband Jan and has two children, Rosalie and Dani.
One thing we have to admire about The Netherlands is, despite this constant string of failures, they didn’t give up. They returned to their internally selected artist, nationally selected song format for 2011, with the popular trio 3JS. They were chosen to sing “Never Alone” in Dusseldorf, which charted well in their home country (and is personally one of my favourite songs of Eurovision that year). This ended up being the country’s biggest disappointment though; the song finished last in the semifinal. Sad times.
However, even last place couldn’t stop them. 3JS have continued to release albums since Eurovision, to strong success. They began to experiment with new styles away from their traditional folk-pop sound. In 2016, they took on the role of U2 for the Friends of Amstel tour. This was so successful they decided to make it a theatre show to celebrate the 30th anniversary of U2’s The Joshua Tree album in 2017, and this became their most popular tour.
The group celebrated their own tenth anniversary in 2017 and released their latest album Nu. This year, they’ve continued to release new music, including the gentle rock song “De Toekomst”. At the time of writing, they were currently on their acoustic Christmas theatre tour, which has become a nice tradition for them.
In 2012, the Netherlands opted for a traditional national final, selecting both the singer and song. Joan Franka was chosen with “You and Me”, which charted even better than their previous entrants. Interesting also to note, the 2012 national final was also the most-watched of recent years with a 30.6% market share. Respect to the Dutch. This was also a year of redemption for The Netherlands, as they landed in tenth place with the televoting of their semifinal. Sadly, the jury dragged the country down to 15th overall, resulting in their eighth straight non-qualification. A-n-g-r-y. Thank gosh the pain ended for The Netherlands the next year.
After the contest, Joan Franka decided to get out of the spotlight and studied music at the Herman Brood Academy. As her alias Luba the Baroness, she graduated in 2017. Since then, she’s released new music, such as the experimental folk-rock song “The End”, and the strong blues track “Bad Boy”. Those years at the academy did her well.
What do you make of the new music from these Dutch Eurovision alumni? Do you have fond memories of their Eurovision entries, despite the results? Let us know in the comments below!