We had to wait for two months, but Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS has announced its method of selecting the country’s Eurovision 2024 bid. In a statement on Wednesday morning, the Netherlands’ broadcaster stated that it has opened submissions as well as that it has appointed Twan van de Nieuwenhuijzen as the country’s new Head of Delegation.
After the Netherlands’ first non-qualification since 2015, many were critical about the way how Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS selected their act. Some accused the broadcaster of nepotism while others doubted the broadcaster’s selection of two relatively new and experienced acts.
Following a media storm which caused more harm than good, press and fans were vocal about letting a national final return to the country. The last time the Netherlands chose through a national final was in 2012 when the Dutch televoters stood firmly behind their choice for Joan Franka.
Netherlands to use internal selection for Eurovision 2024
However, on Wednesday morning, AVROTROS announced that it would stick with holding internal selections. Notably, this time, the public broadcaster is more transparent about its way of selecting the entry.
It notes amongst basic Eurovision rules that the contestant selected has to be available flexibly between December 2023 and May 2024. Another change is that songwriters can submit a song without an artist attached to it and AVROTROS might pair the track with a performer.
A selection committee will select a handful of hopeful to progress to a further round. In this further round, artists will be invited to perform their song live and “discuss the eventual further trajectory” for their bid. This seemingly new step was likely added after Dion Cooper and Mia Nicolai admitted in talkshow Khalid & Sophie that they had never performed the song live in front of an audience prior to the pre-parties in Amsterdam and Madrid.
The submission deadline is set on 30 September, while the Dutch “strive” to select their song in December.
Twan van de Nieuwenhuijzen new Head of Delegation
Former three-time Head of Contest Twan van de Nieuwenhuijzen has been appointed as the country’s new Head of Delegation. He will lead the Dutch’s logistic effort into getting their entry to Sweden.
Originally an editor on various Dutch talk shows, Twan van de Nieuwenhuijzen became noteworthy in the Eurovision community after he stepped in as Head of Contest during the 2020 and 2021 song contests in Rotterdam. Noted for his flexibility and enthusiasm to develop each entry to a perfect performance, he was reinvited to be Head of Contests during the Turin and Liverpool editions.
Opting for Twan as the Head of Delegation seems like a natural choice. If there were one person from the Netherlands knowing how the contest functions from behind the scenes–it’s him. Twan said:
“I’m proud of the request from AVROTROS to lead this challenging and unique project. I am looking forward to create a strong and pursuasive entry for the Netherlands with the knowledge and experience I have gained in the past few years at the Eurovision Song Contest.”
AVROTROS CEO Eric van Stade has meanwhile announced that he is giving away his seat on the selection committee to Twan.
It’s currently unknown who will be on the committee, which had an image of relative closedness. Traditionally, a small group of industry professionals—in recent years six—decided on the fate of the few hundred applicants. In the light of the Netherlands’ non-qualification, the committee was criticised over its composition and members received personal threats.
This year, AVROTROS promises to shake up the committee and to add new members.