The story

Since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is Europe's favourite TV show. After more than five decades featuring some 1,100 songs, the contest has become a modern classic, strongly embedded into Europe's collective mind. Read on to find out how it all started over half a century ago...

In 2005, the Eurovision Song Contest celebrated its 50th anniversary by picking the best entry to date. READ MORE »


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Didn't see the 2011 Shows properly or want to see them again and again? Watch them again our WebTV!

The story

After 56 years, the database with Eurovision Song Contest facts and figures, stories and anecdotes is huge! A true, die-hard fan knows how many points Luxembourg got in 1980 (56), who came last in 1972 (Malta, with 48 points) and how many times the Netherlands got 12 points in 1996 (once, from Austria).

Because no one can expect you to become a living Eurovision Song Contest encyclopedia, takes you through the contest's history in fast forward. It's all you need to know before you dive into the rich history of the Eurovision Song Contest...

How it all begun

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) was formed on 12th February 1950 by 23 broadcasting organisations from Europe and the Mediterranean at a conference in Devon, United Kingdom. It was on the 6th of June, 1954, that Montreux became the venue for the first transmission by the EBU's Eurovision Network of the Narcissus Festival and its flower-bedecked procession floats.

"Did you know that not only stars like ABBA, Celine Dion, Cliff Richard and Julio Iglesias took part, but also dance act Riverdance thanks its fame to the Eurovision Song Contest?"

The first Eurovision viewers eagerly watched on four million television sets in homes, bars, and shop windows in Germany, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Ambitious project

In 1955, the EBU came up with the idea of an international song contest whereby countries, represeted by their respective public broadcasters, would participate in one television show, to be transmitted simultaneously in all represented nations.

This was conceived during a meeting in Monaco in 1955 by Marcel Bezençon, a Frenchman working for the EBU. The competition was based upon the Italian Festival di Sanremo, held for the first time in 1951, and was also seen as a technological experiment in live television: in those days, it was a very ambitious project to join many countries together in a wide-area international network.

Satellite television did not exist yet at that time, and the Eurovision Network comprised a terrestrial microwave network. Le Grand-Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne was born!

The successes

Without interruption, the Eurovision Song Contest has been broadcast every year since 1956, which makes it one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. In 2003, the first ever Junior Eurovision Song Contest took place, while the Eurovision Song Contest celebrated her 50th anniversity 2005. Viewers picked ABBA's Waterloo as best ever Eurovision Song Contest song.

2008 running saw a record of 43 represented countries, as Azerbaijan and San Marino joined the family.

The competition has been broadcast throughout Europe, but also in Australia, Canada, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand and the United States, even though these countries do not participate. In 2010, the format will be launched outside of Europe so that various other parts of the world will be introduced to the concept behind the show.

After winning...

Winners on map

Check out all the countries that have won the Eurovision Song Contest. Click on the place marks for more information on the winners.

  • Latest winner has a TV icon
  • Countries in blue have won the Eurovision Song Contest 1 time
  • Countries in yellow have won the Eurovision Song Contest up to 3 times
  • Countries in red have won the Eurovision Song Contest more than three times

View Eurovision Song Contest Winners of all times in a larger map

Host Cities on map

Check out where the previous Eurovision Song Contests have taken place and click for more details!

  • Latest Host City is in Purple
  • Cities in blue have hosted the Eurovision Song Contest
  • Cities in yellow have hosted the Eurovision Song Contest twice
  • Cities in red have hosted the Eurovision Song Contest more than two times

By country

Name First participation Times participated Victories
Flag of Republika e Shqipërisë Albania 12 0
Flag of Principat d'Andorra Andorra 6 0
Flag of Hayastani Hanrapetut’yun Armenia 9 0
Flag of Australia 1 0
Flag of Republik Österreich Austria 48 2
Flag of Azərbaycan Respublikası Azerbaijan 8 1
Flag of Byelarus Belarus 12 0
Flag of Koninkrijk België/Royaume de Belgique/Königreich Belgien Belgium 57 1
Flag of Bosna i Hercegovina Bosnia & Herzegovina 18 0
Flag of Republika Bulgariya Bulgaria 9 0
Flag of Republika Hrvatska Croatia 21 0
Flag of Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία (Kypriakī́ Dīmokratía) Cyprus 32 0
Flag of Česká republika Czech Republic 4 0
Flag of Kongeriget Danmark Denmark 44 3
Flag of Eesti Vabariik Estonia 21 1
Flag of Poranešna Jugoslovenska Republika Makedonija F.Y.R. Macedonia 15 0
Flag of Suomen tasavalta/Republiken Finland Finland 49 1
Flag of République française France 58 5
Flag of Sakartvelo Georgia 8 0
Flag of Bundesrepublik Deutschland Germany 59 2
Flag of Ελληνική Δημοκρατία (Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía) Greece 36 1
Flag of Magyar Köztársaság Hungary 13 0
Flag of Lýðveldið Ísland Iceland 28 0
Flag of Éire Ireland 49 7
Flag of Medīnat Yisrā'el Israel 38 3
Flag of Repubblica Italiana Italy 41 2
Flag of Latvijas Republika Latvia 16 1
Flag of Lietuvos Respublika Lithuania 16 0
Flag of Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg Luxembourg 37 5
Flag of Repubblika ta' Malta Malta 28 0
Flag of Republica Moldova Moldova 11 0
Flag of Principauté de Monaco Monaco 24 1
Flag of Crna Gora Montenegro 7 0
Flag of Al-Mamlaka al-Maghribiyya Morocco 1 0
Flag of Kongeriket Norge Norway 54 3
Flag of Rzeczpospolita Polska Poland 18 0
Flag of República Portuguesa Portugal 48 0
Flag of România Romania 17 0
Flag of Rossiyskaya Federatsiya Russia 19 1
Flag of Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino San Marino 6 0
Flag of Republika Srbija Serbia 8 1
Flag of Državna zajednica Srbija i Crna Gora Serbia & Montenegro 3 0
Flag of Slovenská republika Slovakia 7 0
Flag of Republika Slovenija Slovenia 21 0
Flag of Reino de España Spain 55 2
Flag of Konungariket Sverige Sweden 55 5
Flag of Confoederatio Helvetica Switzerland 56 2
Flag of Koninkrijk der Nederlanden The Netherlands 56 4
Flag of Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Turkey 34 1
Flag of Ukrayina Ukraine 12 1
Flag of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland United Kingdom 58 5
Flag of Socijalistička Federativna Republika Jugoslavija Yugoslavia 27 1