A total of 52 countries have partaken at our beloved Eurovision Song Contest throughout its 64 year old history. Let’s check which countries have competed in the contest and when they joined the Eurovision club…
The Eurovision Song Contest was born back in 1956 with a total of 7 countries debuting in the very first contest in Lugano. Today circa 40 odd countries take part in the competition, with next year’s edition set to welcome 41 nations.
The record number of countries to have partaken in the contest has been 43, a record which was set back at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade. We have seen 43 nations partaking in the competition only on two more ocassions in 2011 (Dusseldorf) and 2018 (Lisbon).
- Luxembourg (1956)
- France (1956)
- Germany (1956)
- Italy (1956)
- Switzerland (1956)
- Belgium (1956)
- The Netherlands (1956)
- Austria (1957)
- Denmark (1957)
- United Kingdom (1957)
- Sweden (1958)
- Monaco (1959)
- Norway (1960)
- Spain (1961)
- Finland (1961)
- Yugoslavia (1961)
- Portugal (1964)
- Ireland (1965)
- Malta (1971)
- Israel (1973)
- Greece (1974)
- Turkey (1975)
- Morocco (1980)
- Cyprus (1981)
- Iceland (1986)
- Bosnia & Herzegovina (1993)
- Croatia (1993)
- Slovenia (1993)
- Estonia (1994)
- Lithuania (1994)
- Hungary (1994)
- Slovakia (1994)
- Russia (1994)
- Poland (1994)
- Romania (1994)
- North Macedonia (1998)
- Latvia (2000)
- Ukraine (2003)
- Andorra (2004)
- Albania (2004)
- Serbia & Montenegro (2004)
- Belarus (2004)
- Bulgaria (2005)
- Moldova (2005)
- Armenia (2006)
- Georgia (2007)
- Serbia (2007)
- Montenegro (2007)
- Czech Republic (2007)
- Azerbaijan (2008)
- San Marino (2008)
- Australia (2015)
The Fall of the Berlin Wall
The Eurovision Song Contest opened its doors to many new countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991. The 1990’s saw many new nations debuting at the Eurovision Song Contest. A total of 27 new countries have joined the Eurovision badwagon since 1993. Let’s check them out!
The 90’s brought 11 new countries to the competition, expanding the number of competing countries. Thus the fall of the Berlin Wall led to the expansion of the Eurovision Song Contest merging Eastern and Western European countries together and bringing about a melting pot of music, culture and traditions under one roof!
Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina
In 1993 we saw three new countries debuting in the contest in Millstreet: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia and Croatia (all former Yugoslav replublics).
In 1993 Slovenia hosted a special preliminary semi-final where a total 7 nations battled for a ticket to Millstreet (Eurovision 1993): Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Estonia. Coincidently all three former Yugoslav republics qualified to the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Bosnian representatives Fazla had to go through an ordeal to fly out of Sarajevo as the city was under siege and the country was afflicted with war. They debuted in Millstreet with their entry Sva bol svijeta ( The pain of the world).
7 new countries debut!
The following year we saw a massive number of 7 debuting countries joining the Eurovision club for the very first time at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin: Russia, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Romania.
We must note that both Poland and Hungary achieved excellent results in their debut year: Poland placed 2nd with Edyta Gorniak’s To nie ja and Hungary placed 4th with Frederika Bayer’s Kinek mondjam al veitkemet. Coincidently these results remain the countries’ best resultsin the contest till date!
In 1996 North Macedonia attempted to join the Eurovision family with its diva Kaliopi, but failed to qualify from the closed audio preliminary round to Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo. In 1996 all the competitors had to go through a special audio semi-final in order to qualify to the contest, this system has never been used again as some of the most prominent countries in the competition failed to qualify: Germany, Russia, Israel, Denmark, Hungary, Romania and North Macedonia.
North Macedonia had to wait until 1998 to grace the Eurovision stage for the very first time, hence becoming the fourth former Yugoslav republic to compete in the contest as an independent country.
The 00’s saw the Eurovision Song Contest family grow even more with many Eastern European countries joining the club. The competition expanded its frontiers to a further 15 countries.
Latvia, Ukraine, Andorra, Albania, Belarus, Serbia and Montenegro, Moldova, Bulgaria, San Marino, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Montenegro and Serbia debuted in the competition in the 00’s!
Latvia debuted at the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm with Brainstorm‘s My Star. The Baltic country placed 3rd in the competition, and had to wait two more years to bring back the coveted trophy to Riga.
Ukraine joined the Eurovision Song Contest in 2003 when the competition was held in Riga, Oleksandr Ponamaryov was the country’s very first Eurovision representative. He finished 14th with his entry Hasta la vista. The following year the country went on to win the contest in Istanbul with Ruslana’s Wild Dances.
Serbia & Montenegro, Albania, Andorra and Belarus
The 2004 Eurovision Song Contest travelled all the way to Istanbul, Turkey for the very first time. Due to the high amount of countries wishing to compete in the contest and the expansion of the competition to Eastern Europe, a record 36 countries united Under the Same Sky in Istabul, with the introduction of a semi-final, thus extending the show to 2 nights ( Semi-final and Grand Final).
Four new countries joined the Eurovison family: Andorra, Belarus, Serbia & Montenegro and Albania debuted in the competition in 2004.
Both Serbia & Montenegro and Albania kicked off their Eurovision participation with flying colours: Zeljko Joksimovic achieved an honourable 2nd placing with Lane Moje in the Grand Final whilst Anjeza Shahini achieved a 7th placing with her entry A image of you.
Bulgaria & Moldova
In 2005 Eurovision bandwagon made its way to the majestic capital city of Ukraine, Kyiv, for the first time in ESC history. Initially three new countries were set to debut in Eurovision 2005 in Kyiv: Bulgaria, Lebanon and Moldova, but Lebanon decided to pull out of the competition in March eventhough it had selected a singer and song to fly to Kyiv.
The Moldovans achieved an honorable 6th placing in their debut year with Boonikat Bate Toba.
Athens, the magnificent Greek capital city, got the honour of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 thanks to Helena Paparizou‘s epic victory the previous year. A total of 37 countries partook in the competition in Greece, with Armenia debuting in the contest with their multi facetted singer Andre.
Serbia, Montenegro, Czech Republic and Georgia
Following Lordi‘s epic victory in Athens the previous year, the Eurovision bandwagon travelled up north to Helsinki where four new countries entered the club.
In 2006 Serbia & Montenegro withdrew from the competition due to a controversial national selection, the very same year the country split up into two: Serbia and Montenegro, thus both countries debuted as solo countries in Helsinki. Serbia’s debut was so impacting that the country ended up winning the competition with Marija Serifovic‘s Balkan power ballad Molitva.
Till date Serbia is the only nation to have won the competition when debuting! The Czech Republic and Georgia also joined the Eurovision family in 2007.
San Marino & Azerbaijan
In 2008 the Eurovision Song Contest headed back to the Balkans for the second time in ESC history and for the very first time to Serbia’s capital Belgrade. A total of 43 countries partook in the competition in Serbia with the introduction of 2 semif-finals which extended the Eurovision Song Contest to three shows (Semi-final 1, Semi-final 2 and the Grand Final).
The 2008 Eurovision edition saw two new countries Europe’s favourite television show: San Marino and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan’s Eurovision debut was quite successful, the Land of Fire achieved an 8th placing in the Grand Final in Belgrade with Elnur and Samir‘s Day after Day.
Only one country debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest this decade and it was our good ol’ friend down under Australia!
Australia debuted at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna with flying colours, achieving an honorable 5th place in Austria. Australia’s national broadcaster, SBS, is an ASSOCIATE Member of the EBU and is exceptionally invited by the EBU to partake in the competition.
The ultimate Aussie Eurovision dream saw the day of light back in 2015 when our neighbours down under were invited to partake in Europe’s favourite television show in Vienna.
Last year Australia held a full fledged national final in order to determine its Eurovision hopeful, thus celebrating its fifth consecutive Eurovision participation. The Australians are now gearing up for their upcoming national final in order to determine their 6th Eurovision act and entry.
Until 2018 SBS had to wait for an invite from the EBU and the host broadcaster in order to participate in our beloved song contest, on a year to year basis. This will no longer be necessary as SBS Australia and the EBU sealed a five year deal enabling the country to compete in the song contest for the next five years.
The Eurovision Song Contest’s Reference Group (the governing body of the competition on behalf of the competing broadcasters) approved the decision to grant Australia and SBS the right to participate at the Eurovision Song Contest for the next five years, thus securing participation in the competition until 2023.
Australia was invited to participate at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna as a one off occasion, but the Aussies embraced the contest with such enthusiasm they were invited back again in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The Aussies have won the hearts of Eurovision fans near and far, achieving 4 Top 10 placings in their short five year Eurovision history.
Failed to debut
Lebanon attempted to debut at the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, but withdrew its participation few months before the contest. The country had selected Aline Lahoud as its debut entrant with the song Quand tout s’enfuit.
Tunisia also attempted to debut at our beloved contest in 1977 in London but decided to withdraw its application just before selecting its representative.
Vying to debut
Kosovo’s national broadcaster, RTK, has been vying to compete at the Eurovision Song Contest since some years.
Kosovo is not a member of the ITU (International Television Union), one of the key requirements to become an active EBU member. Thus RTK is not an EBU member and is currently ineligible to join the contest. The country is neither a member of the United Nations or the Council of Europe. The Eurovision Song Contest has been broadcast live in the Balkan country in recent years.
Kazakh broadcaster Khabar Agency is an associate EBU member since 2016 and thus NOT ELIGIBLE to participate at the Eurovision Song Contest, Kazakhstan has to be formally invited by the EBU to join the competition. It is entirely up to the EBU’s discretion to extend an invite to the country very much like in the case of Australia. The Kazakh broadcaster has been airing the contest for the past years.
Kazakhtan debuted at the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Minsk last year and achieved the silver medal at this year’s JESC edition in Poland. The country is quite keen to participate at the Eurovision Song Contest.
We guess it’s just a matter of time we see the country join the Eurovision bandwagon! Will we hear Good evening Europe this is Nur Sultan calling?
Lienchtentein has been dreaming of partaking in Europe’s favourite television show for quite some years.
The broadcaster was vying to become an EBU member and compete in the Eurovision Song Contest, but its plans were suddenly halted due to Mr. Peter Kolbel ‘s (1 FLT TV director) untimely demise last year. Mr. Kolbel was working earnestly in order to bring the landlocked country to the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Liechtensteiner broadcaster is not a member of the EBU, thus it is not eligible to participate in the contest currently. Therefore it has to first become a full EBU Member in order to partake in the competition.
The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest was set to be held on 12, 14 and 16 May at the Rotterdam Ahoy in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, but was cancelled due the COVID 19 global pandemic.
The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest is expected to be held in Rotterdam next year. More details are set to be revealed in due course.