Eurovision Song Contest 1999

The 1999 Eurovision Song Contest took place in Jerusalem for the first time since 1979. Free language rules were introduced meaning that participating countries could choose which language they performed in.

Goodbye to the orchestra

In 1999 it was also decided that France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, as the highest-paying European Broadcasting Union members, would automatically be allowed to participate every year, irrespective of their five-year point average. For the first time since the 1970s participants were free to choose which language they performed in. In a controversial move, the orchestra became an optional requirement in 1999 meaning that for the first time in the history of the contest, all entries would perform using a backing track.

Latvia intended to take part this year but the country withdrew at a late stage, giving the opportunity to Hungary, but Hungarian TV didn't accept the offer either. As a result, the 23rd spot was given to Portugal. Due to their lower average scores over the previous five contests, Finland, Greece, FYR Macedonia, Romania and Switzerland stayed at home.

The Cypriot entry performed by Marlain had been one of the favourites to win the contest but the song received only two points in total. The Croatian entry Maria Magdalena was sanctioned after the contest, as it used synthesized male backing vocals despite the rule stating that all vocals would have to be performed live on stage. Croatia lost 33% of their points, giving it a lower five-year average.

About the winner

Sweden's Charlotte Nilsson won the contest with Take Me To Your Heaven. The song had been seen as rather old-fashioned in Sweden but the audience thought differently.Take Me To Your Heaven won at a time when ABBA were enjoying a revival in the European charts and the similarities in musical style were noted by the media. Sweden beat off strong competition from Iceland which achieved its best ever placing in 1999.

Facts & figures

  • When the winner of the 1998 contest, Dana International, was about to hand over the trophy to the winner, she fell down on stage in her stilettos causing a security alert in the hall.
  • At the end of the show all the participating artists gathered on-stage to perform the winning song from 1979, Hallelujah, as a tribute to the victims of the war in the Balkans which was on-going at the time.

Facts & Figures


Saturday 29 May 1999


Usshishkin Hall in the International Convention Centre, Jerusalem, Israel


Charlotte Nilsson from Sweden




Yigal Ravid, Dafna Dekel & Sigal Shahamon

Executive Producer

Amnon Barkai

EBU Scrutineer

Christine Marchal-Ortiz


Hagai Mautner

Interval Act

Dana International with Free

The Participants

# Representing country Performer(s) Song title, writer(s) and composer(s) Points Place
01 Lithuania
Flag of LithuaniaLRT
Aiste Smilgeviciute Strazdas
Linas Rimša Sigitas Geda
013 20
02 Belgium
Flag of BelgiumVRT
Vanessa Chinitor Like The Wind
Emma Philippa, Wim Claes, Ilia... Wim Claes, Emma Phillipa, Ilia...
038 12
03 Spain
Flag of SpainTVE
Lydia No Quiero Escuchar
Fernando Rodríguez Fernández &... Fernando Rodríguez Fernández, ...
001 23
04 Croatia
Flag of CroatiaHRT
Doris Dragovic Marija Magdalena
Tonci Huljic Vjekoslava Huljic
118 04
05 United Kingdom
Flag of United KingdomBBC
Precious Say It Again
Paul Varney
038 12
06 Slovenia
Flag of SloveniaRTVSLO
Darja Svajger For A Thousand Years
Primoz Peterca
050 11
07 Turkey
Flag of TurkeyTRT
Tuba Önal & Grup Mystik Dön Artik
Erdinç Tunç Canan Tunç
021 16
08 Norway
Flag of NorwayNRK
Stig André Van Eijk Living My Life Without You
Sem & Stig Van Eijk & Peter Br...
035 14
09 Denmark
Flag of DenmarkDR
Trine Jepsen & Michael Teschl This Time (i Mean It)
Ebbe Ravn
071 08
10 France
Flag of FranceFrance 3
Nayah Je Veux Donner Ma Voix
Pascal Graczyk & René Colombie... Gilles Arcens & Luigi Rutiglia...
014 19
11 The Netherlands
Flag of The NetherlandsNOS
Marlayne One Good Reason
Tjeerd Van Zanen and Alan Mich...
071 08
12 Poland
Flag of PolandTVP
Mietek (Mieczyslaw) Szczesniak Przytul Mnie Mocno
Seweryn Krajewski Wojciech Ziembicki
017 18
13 Iceland
Flag of IcelandRÚV
Selma Björnsdóttir All Out Of Luck
Selma, Thorvaldur B. Thorvalds... Thorvaldur B. Thorvaldsson
146 02
14 Cyprus
Flag of CyprusCyBC
Marlain Angelidou Tha'nai Erotas
George Kallis Andreas Karanikolas
002 22
15 Sweden
Flag of SwedenSVT
Charlotte Nilsson Take Me To Your Heaven
Lars Diedricson Gert Lengstrand
163 01
16 Portugal
Flag of PortugalRTP
Rui Bandeira Como Tudo Começou
Jorge do Carmo Tó Andrade
012 21
17 Ireland
Flag of IrelandRTÉ
The Mullan's When You Need Me
Bronagh Mullan
018 17
18 Austria
Flag of AustriaORF
Bobbie Singer Reflection
Dave Moskin
065 10
19 Israel
Flag of IsraelIBA
Eden Yom Huledeth
Moshe Datz, Gabriel Batler, Ya...
093 05
20 Malta
Flag of MaltaPBS
Times 3 Believe 'n Peace
Chris Scicluna Moira Stafrace
032 15
21 Germany
Flag of GermanyARD
Sürpriz Reise Nach Jerusalem - Kudüs'e Seyahat
Ralph Siegel Bernd Meinunger
140 03
22 Bosnia & Herzegovina
Flag of Bosnia & HerzegovinaRTVBIH
Dino and Beatrice Putnici
Dino Dervišhalidovic
086 07
23 Estonia
Flag of EstoniaERR
Evelin Samuel and Camille Diamond Of Night
Priit Pajusaar and Glen Pilvre Marian-Anna Kärmas & Kaari Sil...
090 06


Participant Austria Belgium Bosnia & Herzegovina Croatia Cyprus Denmark Estonia France Germany Iceland Ireland Israel Lithuania Malta Norway Poland Portugal Slovenia Spain Sweden The Netherlands Turkey United Kingdom Points Place
Lithuania Lithuania
25231 13 20
Belgium Belgium
452105210 38 12
Spain Spain
1 1 23
Croatia Croatia
8582371046765761212118 118 4
United Kingdom United Kingdom
1541458244 38 12
Slovenia Slovenia
25121121026 50 11
Turkey Turkey
5124 21 16
Norway Norway
776735 35 14
Denmark Denmark
58612724135585 71 8
France France
2282 14 19
The Netherlands The Netherlands
4124761642233458 71 8
Poland Poland
647 17 18
Iceland Iceland
2812121034108101044101271010 146 2
Cyprus Cyprus
2 2 22
Sweden Sweden
67126101232105831212610768612 163 1
Portugal Portugal
12 12 21
Ireland Ireland
12114 18 17
Austria Austria
6138586354727 65 10
Israel Israel
1328102410716210818343 93 5
Malta Malta
77631116 32 15
Germany Germany
101010357851233121267212121 140 3
Bosnia & Herzegovina Bosnia & Herzegovina
1211086837510637 86 7
Estonia Estonia
34344628117587811053 90 6