(A very, very late) 60(/61) Years of Eurovision: Ranking the Dutch – Part 6 (10-1): The Best

Ranking the Dutch 6 HEADER

Dear Eurovision, WHAT THE HELL?!

I had been planning to start off the last part of this series with an angry rant regarding Eurovision’s incredibly stupid flag policy that restricted the waving of rainbow flags during Russia’s performance, stating that the flags were “not [to] be used as tool to intentionally make a political statement during the show” and urging fans “to respect and appreciate the non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest.”1 But as of writing this, the entire thing has already been reversed, and rightfully so. What the hell were they thinking?

In my opinion, a non-political Eurovision is a contradictio in terminis; there is no such thing. Eurovision was born out of politics, and Eurovision thrives on politics; it’s basically the most interesting aspect of the entire contest, and thinking that the two can be separated is mind-numbingly naïve. Maybe I will write more about that in the future, if I ever get to it. There’s certainly enough to talk about.

And then there is also THIS. What the fuck is this?!

Listen, I don’t mind that Australia has now become a permanent contender in the whole shenanigans. The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. But why change the vote count? I loved that part, with its in-jokes (remember Edsilia rocking Trijntje’s controversial dress last year?) and its numerous counts of bloc-voting and the way the audience responds to them, not to mention the fact that several things go wrong every year due it still being a live broadcast. Taking away the who-exactly-voted-for-who-part is taking away what, as I also stated above, is also the most fascinating part of Eurovision. It’s such a pity!

Well… this has taken me a lot longer than I expected. But, to anyone who’s still reading these, here we are: my personal top 10. And unfortunately for you still here: it was brought to my attention recently that I have terrible taste in music.

Anyway, let’s get this over with so I can go back to my usual topics.

As for the Dutch entry of this year: I have to admit that it’s slowly starting to grow on me. I wish Douwe Bob all the best tonight!

Dutch party snack of the day: poffertjes! Fluffy miniature pancakes that apparently even Sarah Jessica Parker knows how to make nowadays. Because I think we can use something sweet right now.

(By the way, well done Blokker: you can’t pay half of your staff anymore, but somehow you were able to scrape together that million.2 I’m sure your target audience will be delighted.)

10. Esther Hart – One more night (2003, 13th place)

This performance actually has quite an interesting background story: apparently Hart also had plans to represent the UK that exact same year with a song called “Wait for the Moment”, successfully entering the national Eurovision competitions for both the Netherlands and the UK at the same time. But as both the BBC and Dutch broadcaster NOS found it unacceptable for her to compete for two countries at once, she eventually withdrew her UK entry and won the Dutch nationals.3

The UK subsequently sent this and ended 26th, receiving 0 points:

9. Maxine & Franklin Brown – De eerste keer (1996, 7th place)

Team small&tall for your daily dose of cheese. Seriously though, I love this song. Although much of this also seems to stem from the fact that I have been severely brainwashed by hearing it being played over and over again in 1996. I’m not kidding: this song was everywhere back then.

Titled “The First Time”, former cop (and, as I found out recently, possibly also former sex offender (it’s a touchy subject, apparently))4 Franklin Brown and Gonny Buurmeester, who for some reason likes to go by the name Maxine, sing about finding each other again, after having split up in the past. ‘It was like the first time all over again’.

Some (hastily) translated lyrics:

(Franklin)
I was baffled when you called me
after such a long time
my heart suddenly skipped a beat

(Maxine)
Oh, and you still sounded the same
and the girl in me
tumbled everything upside down again

(Together)
oh oh oh, it was so long ago
long ago
long ago
It was like the first time
we just clicked again
the time stood still for a moment, I thought:
“yes, I do”
It was like the first time
we just clicked again
the time stood still for a moment, I thought:
“yes, I want to be with you again”

8. Teddy Scholten – ’n beetje (1959, 1st place)

“Are you faithful (to me?)”
–“ A bit.”

I really enjoy this song’s late fifties charm and cheekiness. Also love the windmill background. But the best thing about this song are its highly alliterative lyrics and overly used inner rhyme that unfortunately get lost in translation.

Some lyrics:

I wish your heart was a cupboard with a little door
And that I could look into the little interior.
Then you had to be sincere, good or bad, but real
And then you’d soon say, when I asked: “Are you faithful?”

A bit, everyone is in love sometimes, you know that!
You want to be wise, but you forget that
Once you get to what amor whispers, listens.
Then you know: it will be something like Faust and Greetje,
With rendez-vous’tjes in a small café,
And strolling in the moonlight.

7. Willeke Alberti – Waar is de zon (1994, 23rd place)

Everybody’s favourite aunt, Willeke stole our orange coloured hearts for the umpteenth time with this tearjerker of a song about missing a loved one, whose warmth she compares to that of the sun. (Ergo the title: “Where is the Sun”.) She’s pretty good at that. Unfortunately, the rest of Europe wasn’t as impressed as we were. I think you need a basic understanding of the Dutch language in order to really appreciate this song. So, Willeke received a total of 4 points, all of which were given by Austria, and the Netherlands were automatically disqualified for the following year.

Some random lyrics:

Where have you been
Where did you go to
I have written you
But now I’m so tired
I had buried myself
I had lost everything
My safe haven
My peace, my struggle

Where is the sun that will warm me
Where are your arms and where is the source
Where is the light that will shine at last
That will make the cold go away
I seek your face

But in all fairness, there’s another reason why I put this song so high on this list. In the early 2000’s, I saw a one-man show by the Dutch comedian Marc-Marie Huijbrechts in theatre. After an entire show of goofing around about rich ladies adopting little African children and mocking queen of Dutch children’s literature Annie M.G. Smidt, he suddenly shifted to a more serious tone towards the end of the show and started quoting from a letter he wrote to his mother, three years after she passed away. He then ended the show singing this song. His performance gave me goosebumps. Maybe we should send him to Eurovision some time…

(the song starts at 3:16)

6. Treble – Amambanda (2006, 20th in the semi-final)

Can’t understand most what these three are singing? Don’t worry, nobody can! Most of the song is sang in a ‘made up language’. It was (is?) Treble’s thing, so to say. But I think it’s incredibly danceable, and therefore I put it sixth.

5. Bill van Dijk – Jij en ik (1982, 16th place)

I have to admit that this song wouldn’t be this high on my list, had it not been for Bill’s hilariously over the top dance moves, which crack me up every single time. Bill also really likes judo, it seems.

Some random lyrics:

Look!
The swallows high in the air
Have made a long journey
No longer fleeing, just like us
You are coming back

You and me
Have found each other again
We will stay connected forever
However our paths will go, oh yeah
You and me
Will continue to find each other
To begin again
It’s in the stars
That we need to go home together
You and me
Along those different paths
Will meet again
There where the pear tree stands

4. Edsilia Rombley – Hemel en aarde (1998, 4th place)

Tihi, those late 90s spikes …

What can I say? It’s a good performance by a great singer. The only thing I can actually nitpick about is the song’s lyrics, as coming to the conclusion that there is more between heaven and earth simply by being touched by someone who turns you on goes beyond exaggeration in my opinion. Apart from that, definitely one of my favourites.

3. Ruth Jacott – Vrede (1993, 6th place)

Thanks to this video that contains the Dutch lyrics as well as their English translation, I literally just found out that I have been singing this song wrong for years: instead of “we bouwen huizen om elkaar in te verstaan” (“we build houses to understand each other in”), Ruth actually sings “we bouwen huizen om orkanen te weerstaan” (“we build houses to withstand hurricanes”), which makes so much more sense when I think about it…

I think this entry is simply flawless: great lyrics, great music, and a more than great singer. Just love it.

2. Rudi Carrell – Wat een geluk (1960, 12th place)

I can’t help it: it’s Rudi Carrell! He’s one of the most charming men in history. And I really like the song as well. Literally translated, the title means “what a luck”, which I think could best be interpreted as something along the line of “I’m such a lucky man”. When I first heard this song, I immediately fell in love with its highly alliterative lyrics. (Seriously, I love these lyrics so much I even wrote “omdat ik vreeslijk ongeneeslijk van je hou” (“I love you terribly, incurably”) on a Valentine’s Day card once. The relationship ended shortly after.) Simply the early 60s at their very best, in my opinion.

Some random lyrics:

I’m so lucky that I’m part of this world
That I know the songs of the siskins and the blackbirds
And that I can join in with all that lives
And can breathe with all that has a breath

I’m so happy that there are always daffodils in May
And that there are fruits, butterflies, foals, birds and fish
And all that happiness is only thanks to you
Because I love you terribly, incurably5

1. Teach-In – Ding-a-dong (1975, 1st place)

Come on, what else did you expect. This entry is so perfect it hurts! Think about it, it has everything a Eurovision performance needs: simple lyrics that border on the nonsensical and are easy to sing along to, a kitschy corny happy vibe, bad 70’s costumes, hair, and makeup, and a tune that will be stuck in your head until the end of time. A definite winner in my opinion!

P.S.”: The Germans gave this song an upgrade in 2009 that I love even more, by the way. One of my favourite songs to sing and dance to when nobody’s watching.

What do you think of these songs? And which one is your favourite? Leave your comments below!

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Gabrielle Pinkster

Gabrielle Pinkster

Gabrielle Pinkster (a.k.a. The Reading Dutchwoman) studied English Language and Culture at the University of Groningen and specialised in early 20th century literature and poetry. Like most (former) students of literature she is ‘currently working on her novel’.
Gabrielle Pinkster

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  1. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/04/29/eurovision-bans-political-waving-of-rainbow-flags-during-russian-entry/, last checked 10 May 2016 

  2. Speculated at: http://daskapital.nl/2016/04/wtf_sarah_jessica_parker_in_bl.html, last checked 10 May 2016 

  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther_Hart, last checked 23-11-2015 

  4. https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Brown, last checked 10 May 2016 

  5. Except for the first sentence, I found this translation on http://www.diggiloo.net/?1960nl, last checked, 10 May, 2016. 

Gabrielle Pinkster

About Gabrielle Pinkster

Gabrielle Pinkster (a.k.a. The Reading Dutchwoman) studied English Language and Culture at the University of Groningen and specialised in early 20th century literature and poetry. Like most (former) students of literature she is ‘currently working on her novel’.
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