44 years ago. That’s when the Netherlands last won the Eurovision Song Contest. Well before I was born. To be fair, the Dutchies might be good at many things, but they’re not particularly well-known for their music on an international level. But that all changed last night when Dutch singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence managed to win Europe’s largest international music contest! Of course I couldn’t let this memorable event let go unnoticed on my website so that’s why today it’s all about the Dutch Eurovision entries. Let’s watch back some old videos of previous winners together and marvel at how music has changed over the years.
2019 Eurovision winner: Duncan Laurence Arcade
This year’s Dutch entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 had been the bookmakers’ favourite for the last weeks. What I admire most about this song is that Duncan wrote it himself with just two other people. Usually there’s a whole team of songwriters, other than the performer him/herself, for Eurovision songs. And as Duncan said himself, for him it was all about the music, the song itself. No need for a big show, extravagant costumes or dancers, just a man with a piano (and a backing track obvs).
Our previous winner: Teach-In with Ding-a-dong (1975)
Duncan’s victory last night was the fifth time the Netherlands won the Eurovision Song Contest. But the last time the Netherlands won was in 1975 already! Although that was still a few years before I was born, I still remember this song well from my childhood. This Abba-esque song by Teach-In is incredibly catchy and up-beat, capturing such good spirit.
Interestingly, the Netherlands was the first act to perform at Eurovision in 1975. General rule of thumb is that you can forget it if you’re up first. Usually everyone would have forgotten about your song by the time all the participating countries have performed their songs. But this song was apparently so strong, it remained in people’s minds all night long. Have a listen and let me know what you think of it!
The shared first prize in 1969: Lenny Kuhr with De troubadour
In 1969 something very unusual happened during that year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Instead of one winner, there was a tie between four countries! France, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom all won the Eurovision that year. I never realised that until now. How strange! This was the Dutch winner that year. Very different from the previous two winners, don’t you think?
Performances in English or one’s mother tongue?
Between its first edition in 1956 until mid 1970s it was compulsory to perform in your country’s mother tongue. Since that rule got dropped, nearly all subsequent Dutch entries were performed in English. There were only two exceptions.
In 2006 the Dutch girl group Treble sang in a combination of English and a silly made-up almost African-sounding language. It was very painful to watch and hear. I don’t understand why they were chosen to represent the Netherlands. I guess I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t convinced because they never made it to the finals. Sieneke’s entry in 2010 met the same sad fate. Her entirely Dutch song also never made it to the finals.
1959 winner: Teddy Scholten – Een Beetje
I love this old footage! Een Beetje (which translates in A Bit) feels like a song from a 1930s Hollywood musical. I can imagine Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (remember them?) appearing onscreen. I feel nostalgic watching this video. The contrast to today’s extravagant version of Eurovision couldn’t be any bigger!
1957, the second edition of Eurovision: Corry Brokken – Net als toen
In 1957 the Netherlands won the second edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. (Switzerland won the first edition in 1956.) Corry Brokken’s Net als toen (Just Like Then) was the first Dutch win. It’s interesting to see that four of the five Dutch winners have been women. I always knew we were the superior gender, haha! (Probably can’t say that anymore though.)
Did you watch the Eurovision Song Contest last night? Who was your favourite?
Happy Sunday and speak again next week! Zarina xx
*Feature photo courtesy of Nathalie on Instagram.