In the early days of the Eurovision Song Contest, the Netherlands proved to be successful at the competition. There were Dutch victories in 1957, 1959, 1969 and 1975. After the mid-70s the top position was never claimed again. But in 2013, the country shifted gears and reached second place the following year. On 18 May 2019, the 44-year trophyless period officially ended when Duncan Laurence won for his home country with 'Arcade'.
The Netherlands won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 1957 and won again in 1959, setting an early record of two victories in the first four years. After a record-setting 1950s, the new decade didn’t bring much success to the Dutch entries and, in fact, they came last three times until Lenny Kuhr finished as one of the four winners of the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest. De Troubadour was a folk-inspired ballad about the impact the music has on the audiences in the Middle Ages.
In 1975, the Netherlands won the competition with the up-tempo Ding-A-Dong from the group Teach-In. This jolly positive ode marked the first time that the show’s opener became the winner and one that put the Netherlands back on the leaderboard with 4 victories, tying with France, who overtook the Netherlands when they won for the fifth time in 1977.
In 1980, Dutch television stepped in to host the Eurovision Song Contest after Israel declined to stage the contest for the second year in a row. From 2005 to 2012 the Netherlands was not able to qualify for a single Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest. However, the Dutch fortunes in the Eurovision Song Contest have changed in recent years with notable results from Anouk who took the country to 9th place in the Grand Final in 2013 and The Common Linnets who were the runner-up in the 2014 Grand Final.
In 2019, Duncan Laurence changed the game completely by bringing the trophy home to the Netherlands after the country missed out for 44 long years. Duncan received 492 points for his winning song Arcade.
The Common Linnets' connection
The Common Linnets' Ilse DeLange played a special role in Duncan's road to victory. Ilse was the one to submit Arcade to the committee in the Netherlands that decides who represents the country at the Eurovision Song Contest each year.
During our interview in early April with Duncan, he explained: "We had a Dropbox and I shared my songs that I had written during the years. I kept on sharing them with Ilse, and she kept on listening."
When Duncan uploaded Arcade he really caught her attention: "After a while she whatsapped me [...] saying this is great [...], when did you write this?" He continues: "She is the one who helped me, advised me and has sent over the song to the committee in Holland. And she is involved in a lot of artistic choices that I make."
Watch the interview that we had with Duncan on stage in Tel Aviv, after his winning moment.