Data visualization shows most successful Eurovision nations

By Eshan Wickrema and Lachlan James

With 39 countries entering acts in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna (two more than Eurovision 2014 in Copenhagen), have you ever wondered which nations have experienced the most success throughout the history of this quirky competition?

Eurovision winners by country (1956 – 2014)

Note for the uninitiated: Are you a Eurovision newbie? If you’re just jumping on the Eurovision bandwagon now, and would like a little background information about this idiosyncratic event, check out our first data blog of the series, Data visualization reveals success by gender at Eurovision.

Insights

  • Ireland boasts the best winning record at Eurovision, with a standalone seven wins
  • Four countries are tied for second spot on the Eurovision leader board
    • The small sovereign country of Luxembourg is punching well-above its weight, claiming the title on five occasions alongside two of the Eurovision ‘Big Five’ (UK and France)
  • The Eurovision leader board is dominated by countries from northern and western Europe
  • While 52 countries have participated in the Eurovision Song Contest since it started in 1956, only half (26) have won a Eurovision title in the competitions 59-year history

Luck of the Irish
Using Business Intelligence and data visualization, we can see that the luck of the Irish has apparently followed them to Eurovision, with the home of the four-leaf clover taking out seven tournament titles to date. From there, it’s a tight tussle at the top, with second position on the all-time Eurovision leader board shared between Luxembourg, France, the UK and Sweden, with five wins apiece.


The impact of GDP?
Analysing the list of winners from a geographic perspective adds another dimension to the insights gleaned, revealing that the tournament has been dominated by countries from northern and western Europe. Perhaps this pattern is indicative of the fact that countries with higher GDP per capita generally have the ability to dedicate more resources towards leisure and entertainment related activities. Whichever factors are behind the trend, only 26 of the 52 countries that have participated in Eurovision have won.

Regardless of geography and economy, it’s interesting to note that, as competition mainstays, one could argue that Ireland’s success could be expected. After all, Ireland has participated 48 times since making their debut at Eurovision 1965.

Participation to victory ratio

Although, by that same logic, Belgium should have realized far greater Eurovision success to date. Belgium, one of the seven countries to participate in the first Eurovision in 1956, has partaken in 57 of 59 competitions for just one victory. Similarly, Finland debuted in Eurovision 1961, participating in 49 events for one solitary win.

On the other end of the spectrum, despite taking part in the first ever Eurovision contest, Luxembourg has made just 37 appearances for five wins. France (58 entries), the UK (58 entries) and Sweden (55 entries) have all had to work considerably harder for their five Eurovision crowns.

But, the hard luck story of this musical institution isn’t even on the Eurovision winners list. Portugal hasn’t managed a single win, despite 48 attempts.

Where to next?

Keep your dancin’ shoes and singin’ socks on as we croon, boogie and cheer through some more Eurovision data blogs. For our next number, we’ll delve deeper into the perennial bridesmaids of Eurovision.

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