#TOP10 – Who’s been waiting the longest since their last Eurovision win?

Duncan Laurence’s victory in Tel Aviv this May not only gave The Netherlands their 5th win at Eurovision, but also their first win since 1975 – a staggering 44 years ago!

This got us here at Eurovision Ireland thinking… of all the countries that have won the contest, who has been waiting the longest since their last win? Which countries remember lifting that trophy like it was only yesterday, and who hasn’t won Eurovision in a generation?

Always one for statistics and flags, James has worked out which of Eurovision’s winners has been waiting the longest for another win and presents the Top 10 here. For the purposes of this list, countries that are currently not taking part in the contest have been excluded – namely Monaco, Yugoslavia, Luxembourg and Turkey.

So let’s have a look and see!

10 – GREECE – 14 YEARS

Can you believe it’s been 14 years since Elena Paparizou brought Greece their first (and so far only) win? My Number One looks like a real “How to win Eurovision by numbers” with its slick choreography, great vocals and touch of ethnic instrument. The early 2000s were the Greek Golden age at Eurovision, with Top 10 finishes every year between 2004 and 2011. Though recent years have been more mixed, including their first ever DNQ in 2016, can Greece turn it around in 2020?


Latvia debuted at Eurovision in 2000 and swiftly made their presence felt by coming 3rd. Add to this 3 Top 5 places in their first 5 years, including a win in 2002, for a time they seemed to be unstoppable. Indeed, Marie N wowed audiences with her reveal after reveal and narrowly piped Malta to the trophy! More recent years however have been far less auspicious – so much so that only half of all Latvian Eurovision entries have made it to a Eurovision final…


Following their neighbour on this list, Estonia was the first former USSR state to win Eurovision and the second winning country from Eastern Europe. With consistent finishes in the Top 10 (when they qualify), Estonia have proved they’re a force to be reckoned with at the contest, even if it has been 18 years since 2001. Could we soon see Estonia claim that second victory and return us all to spellbinding Tallinn? We here at Eurovision Ireland certainly hope so!


The first of several Big 5 nations on this list, the UK’s last Eurovision win came back in 1997 with “Love Shine A Light”. While many consider this song a contest classic, the 22 years since then have been far from kind to the UK – seeing them place bottom of the scoreboard 4 times and receive the ultimate snub of 0 points in 2003. Can the BBC’s revamped selection ideas with BMG put them back on the right track? Their fans certainly seem to think so!


Ireland still reign as Eurovision champion with 7 wins to their name, but the most recent of these was 23 years ago. Similarly to Latvia, Ireland’s current qualification rate hovers at just 50%, and includes two last place finishes when they did qualify… this being said, Ireland still go down in the history books as the only country with 3 consecutive wins and Ryan O’Shaughnessy proved in Lisbon that Ireland still has a touch of Eurovision magic – it can be done!

5 – ITALY – 29 YEARS

Another Big 5 entry on this list, it’s been 29 years since Italy’s plea for European unity in 1990 with “Insieme: 1992” brought Eurovision to Rome. Many fans will tell you it’s only a matter of time until Italy claim a third win at the contest – and with 7 Top 10 finishes since returning from hiatus in 2011, including two 2nd places and a 3rd, that seems very likely! Several Eurovisioners were also quite sure Italy would snatch the win in 2017 – close, but no banana 😉 (sorry, couldn’t resist!!)


Winning the first ever Eurovision back in 1956, Switzerland then had to wait 31 years before Céline Dion brought them their 2nd win. Curiously, it’s now been 31 years since Céline won! Drifting around in semi-final obscurity with only 5 qualifications since 2004, Luca Hänni brought Switzerland back to the final for the first time in 5 years, and gave them their first Top 5 finish for an incredible 26 years – will Switzerland take this success and run with it? I think they’ll definitely be one to watch!


Belgium has all the threes, as they last won 33 years ago and rank 3rd on our list! Sandra Kim was only 13 when she won Eurovision for Belgium in 1986, giving the country their first and so far only win. Although the song won with a record breaking score, when Kim’s age was revealed runners up Switzerland tried to have to song disqualified (in the days before online petty-ions – oops, sorry, petitions! In the early 2010s, Belgium had 3 consecutive Top 10 finishes, but have struggled to make it to Saturday’s final in the last few years for a chance to claim win no.2.


Having only missed 2 contests in the entire long history of Eurovision, it’s hard to imagine the contest without France. But despite having 5 victories to their name, many of these were in the earliest days of the contest – in fact, they won 3 of the first 7 contests! This Big 5 nation’s last win was over 40 years ago in 1977, meaning the closest some more modern viewers of the contest have come to seeing a French win was the tie with Sweden in 1991. Remember though, the Netherlands had a similar story but still lifted that glass microphone in Tel Aviv this year – so never say never!

1 – SPAIN – 50 YEARS

Yes, you read that right – as of 2019, it’s been half a century since Spain has won the Eurovision Song Contest! Despite producing some of the contest’s most popular entries from “Eres Tú” and “Vuelve Conmigo” to more recent classics like “Dancing In The Rain” and “Europe’s Living A Celebration”, Spain just can’t seem to get a break. Could this year’s announcement that RTVE are opting for an internal selection be proof that Spain mean business and are seriously seeking a 3rd win after all these years? Austria currently holds the record of the longest period between wins at the contest with Conchita claiming victory 48 years after Udo Jürgens – so safe to say that if Spain ever win ago, they’ll be taking this title too!

What do you think of our list? Which country do you think won’t be waiting long for their next Eurovision win?

Let us know what you think!

Author: James Scanlan
Source: Eurovision Ireland
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2 replies »

    • Totally agree Thomas – I think of all the countries on this list, Italy will probably be waiting the least amount of time to win again – and maybe Estonia too!

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