Switzerland has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest every year since it began, except 1995, 1999, 2001, and 2003. Switzerland hosted the first contest in 1956, and won it themselves. Switzerland won the contest again in 1988. A third victory in 1963 could have been possibly had Katie Boyle not recalled the Norwegian for their votes again.
Although most of the Swiss representatives are national acts not known outside of the country, many internationally successful artists have represented the country. In 1988 Céline Dion won the contest for Switzerland, in 1993 Annie Cotton finished third, and in 2005 the girl band Vanilla Ninja finished 8th. Esther Ofarim's 1963 second-place finish helped establish her as an international success.
Despite a fourth consecutive semi-final failure, as well as increasing pressure to withdraw from the Contest SRG SSR has confirmed that they have no current plans to withdraw from the contest, claiming that "the Eurovision Song Contest costs the broadcaster less than some entertainment shows". However, the country eventually qualified again for the final in the 2011 contest, with only one more point than Malta and Armenia. Since 2011 no Swiss entry managed to qualify for the final again.
Switzerland had been absent from Eurovision four times since their participation began in the first contest. These absences, in 1995, 1999, 2001 and 2003 were caused by poor results in previous contests that relegated Switzerland from the contest.
Switzerland has four official languages, French, German, Italian, and Romansh. For decades, the song requirements stated that the song had to be performed in a national language, which gave Switzerland leeway as they could perform in any of the four languages. Out of their 51 appearances in the Contest, Switzerland has sent 52 songs, 24 of which were in French, 12 in German, nine in Italian, nine in English, and one in Romansh. Both of Switzerland's winning songs have been sung in French.
a. ^ The full results for the first contest in 1956 are unknown, only the winner was announced. The official Eurovision site lists all the other songs as being placed second.
b. If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition from 2004-2007, the top ten countries who were not members of the big four did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.