Why did Luxembourg leave Eurovision for 30 years, and why have they now come back?

As Eurovision 2024’s Grand Final approaches, let’s take a step back in time – to 1993, in fact – to answer a pressing question: Why did Luxembourg leave Eurovision?

In a dramatic turn of events, Luxembourg, once a true Eurovision powerhouse with several wins to its name, found itself reeling after a dismal performance at the 1993 event. In fact, it was so bad that the entire country was relegated, and banned from competing in the 1994 contest under controversial new rules.

The new relegation system was supposedly implemented to accommodate countries who were yet to make their debut on the Eurovision stage, leaving poor Luxembourg out in the cold for the 1994 contest.

It’s hard to blame Luxembourg for then deciding to shun Eurovision in 1995, despite the fact they were invited back at that point. They didn’t come back in 1996 either. In fact, they wouldn’t be back until 2024: this year.

So, why did Luxembourg leave Eurovision?

It wasn’t just hurt feelings that were to blame for the fact that Luxembourg disappeared from the contest’s radar for a staggering thirty years. The primary culprit was actually the ever-increasing financial burden of participation, according to insiders. Other reasons cited including waning public interest in the event.

For a brief moment in 2004 it seemed Luxembourg would be returning to the competition, when the country made a cameo on a preliminary participants list. However, the hefty participation fee led broadcaster RTL Lëtzebuerg to bow out again, leaving Luxembourg once again on the sidelines.

Eurovision participation fees have come under quite a lot of scrutiny in recent years. Ahead of the 2024 contest, a debate broke out in the official Eurovision Reddit forum about the costs involved.

One user wrote: “Is no one gonna talk about how Romania had to pay 180k to participate while Germany, a Big Five Member, with population four times of Romania’s, with a much wealthier economy and much bigger market only paid 473k to participate? It’s no wonder that small European countries in the east decide to drop out, these numbers don’t make any sense.”

Another person noted that “pyrotechnics, stage design, costumes, hotels, food and travel are not included in the (participation fee)” – in other words, it all adds up.

However, it seems that Luxembourg have managed to find some cash down the back of their sofa: on 12 May 2023, as the final of the 2023 contest loomed (marking the 30th anniversary of Luxembourg’s last entry and the 40th anniversary of its last victory) RTL revealed that Luxembourg would return to the contest in 2024.

The reasons for coming back to the contest were: the promotion of Luxembourgish culture, the development of the cultural section of Luxembourgish society, as well as economic and touristic benefits to the country.

Luxembourg’s 2024 Eurovision entry

Luxembourg are returning to Eurovision with the song “Fighter” by Tali. You can find a full list of all of the other 2024 Eurovision entries here.

Tali is a performer, vocal coach and music teacher. She’s currently working on a debut album with a new band called Blue Stripes.

Tali made it through the semi-finals (thank goodness), and will be competing in the Eurovision Grand Final, which will be held on Saturday 11 May 2024 and will be hosted by Malin Åkerman and Petra Mede.