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  • Writer's pictureEmma Garrie

When Eurovision winners didn't host the Contest - a look back in history


Last week, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced that this year's Eurovision winners Ukraine would be unable to host the 2023 contest due to the Russian invasion of the country in February. You can read more details about the announcement here.

The EBU is currently in discussions with 2022 runner-up the United Kingdom and host broadcaster the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to host next year's show.

Traditionally the Eurovision Song Contest is always held in the country which won the year before. But 2023 will not be the first time that a winning country has not hosted the Contest in the following year. There have been six previous occasions in which a different nation has stepped up to host for a variety of reasons.

Let's take a look at the other years where the previous year's winning country did not host the contest.


Host - Frankfurt, West Germany

1956 Winner - Switzerland

As the inaugural winner of the the contest, Switzerland was invited to host the 1957 show, however they declined. The 1956 contest had already been held in Switzerland and they didn't wish to host for a second time.

German broadcaster ARD was selected to stage the event where actress Anaid Iplicjian hosted from the Großer Sendesaal des hessischen Rundfunks in Frankfurt with ten countries participating.

Austria, Denmark and the United Kingdom made their debut and The Netherlands' Corry Brokken won with 'Net Als Toen'. Corry had also represented her country the year before and would go on to host the 1976 Contest in The Hague. She also delivered the Dutch votes at the 1997 Contest.


Host - London, United Kingdom

1959 Winner - The Netherlands

The 1960 contest was hosted by 1959 runner-up the United Kingdom in conjunction with host broadcaster the BBC. This was due to 1959 winner The Netherlands declining to host again so soon after their 1957 win.

Hosted by British television presenter Catherine (Katie) Boyle, the contest was held at the Royal Festival Hall and featured thirteen countries. Norway made their debut and French entry 'Tom Pillibi' by Jacqueline Boyer was declared the winner.


Host - London, United Kingdom

1962 Winner - France

The BBC and United Kingdom stepped up again just three years later when 1962 winner France declined to host due to the financial constraints of having hosted in 1959 and 1961.

The contest was again hosted by Katie Boyle and held at the BBC Television Centre with sixteen countries participating. Denmark had their first ever win with 'Dansevise' performed by Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann, the first winning entry to be performed by a duo.


Host - Edinburgh, United Kingdom

1971 Winner - Monaco

1971 winner Monaco were unable to meet the demands of hosting the competition including finding a suitable venue, so the 1972 contest took place in the Scottish city of Edinburgh. This was the first time the BBC had chosen a venue outside of London to stage Eurovision and Scottish ballet dancer Moira Shearer was selected as host.

Eighteen countries participated from Usher Hall where Vicky Leandros representing Luxembourg won with 'Aprés Toi', the song selling millions of copies all over Europe.


Host - Brighton, United Kingdom

1973 Winner - Luxembourg

Having won the contest in both 1972 and 1973, Luxembourg declined to host for a second successive year in 1974 for financial reasons. The BBC again agreed to host the event, this time in the seaside town of Brighton. Katie Boyle hosted for the fourth time from the Brighton Dome where seventeen countries participated.

Greece made their debut and Swedish band ABBA took out the crown with 'Waterloo' which went on to become a huge hit. It was also the beginning of a long and successful international career for the band. Australia's own Olivia Newton-John also competed in the 1974 contest, representing the United Kingdom and finishing 4th with 'Long Live Love'.


Host - The Hague, The Netherlands

1979 Winner - Israel

Israel declined to host the contest for the second year in a row due to financial constraints after winning in both 1978 and 1979. The United Kingdom also declined so Dutch broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS), hastily agreed to stage the event at Nederlands Congresgebouw in The Hague, re-using most of the stage from 1976 when they had last held the contest.

Actress Marlous Fluitsma hosted and nineteen countries participated but Israel was not one of them. When the date of the show was set on the same day as Israel's remembrance day holiday (Yom HaZikaron), Israel decided not to participate at all, the first and only time in the contest's history that the previous year's winner has not competed.

Morocco made their one and only appearance in the competition and Ireland's (and Australia's own) Johnny Logan won with 'What's Another Year?'

What about 1970?

The 1969 contest in Madrid, Spain is famously known for having four joint-winners as there was no tiebreaker rule in place at the time. The United Kingdom with 'Boom Bang-a-Bang' by Lulu, Spain with 'Vivo cantando' by Salomé, the Netherlands with 'De troubadour' by Lenny Kuhr, and France with 'Un jour, un enfant' by Frida Boccara all finished with 18 points at the conclusion of voting.

As the United Kingdom had hosted in 1968 and Spain in 1969, a draw of ballots between The Netherlands and France saw The Netherlands chosen as the host country for the 1970 show. Only twelve countries participated as Finland, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Austria all boycotted in protest of the four-way tie result. This led to the creation of a tiebreaker rule to avoid a repeat of the events of the previous year.

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