Triumphant return to Switzerland for Nemo, Eurovision winner

This is Switzerland’s third victory in the Eurovision song contest since its creation in 1956. As tradition dictates, the country will host the next edition.

France Télévisions – Culture Editorial


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Swiss singer Nemo (center), who won the final of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with the song "The Code" poses with non-binary activists and supporters after landing at Zurich airport on May 12, 2024. (ARND WIEGMANN / AFP)

Nemo returned to Switzerland on Sunday May 12 to cheers after his victory in the Eurovision song contest. “Congratulations honey pie [surnom affectueux en anglais] “, exclaimed an admirer of the 24-year-old non-binary artist, handing him a bouquet of flowers, upon his arrival at Zurich airport from Copenhagen.

Others waved flags bearing the message in English: “We exist, we insist, we persist”, in reference to the struggle of non-binary people for recognition of their identity. Another banner proclaimed “Woman, man, human” in German.

Nemo Mettler, who asks to be referred to by gender-neutral pronouns, won the competition with The Codea highly personal track chronicling her journey toward realizing her gender identity.

Switzerland beat Croatia, Ukraine, France, led by singer Slimane, and Israel, represented by Eden Golan. The presence of a candidate from the Jewish state sparked heated controversy as her country launched a deadly offensive against Hamas in Gaza, after a bloody attack by the Palestinian group on October 7 in Israel.

The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the event, estimated that more than 160 million people watched the 2024 competition, broadcast live in the 37 countries participating in the final and on YouTube.

This competition regularly appears as a showcase for the LGBTQ+ community. The bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst, who won the 2014 edition, or the French candidate Bilal Hassani in 2019, have entered his annals.

Fans gathered behind barriers had waited patiently for Nemo as he sang his song again. Applause began to ring out when the performer appeared, who responded with two thumbs up before taking selfies and signing autographs. Nemo joined a group of fans who were singing “We broke the codes”, “we exist”, going so far as to hug an admirer who was wearing a t-shirt “Protect trans children.”

At a press conference after this triumphant return, Nemo indicated that he wanted to rest in his garden. “I’m going to lie down and try to calm down a little.”said the artist. “It feels like it’s not real.” “I broke the codes. I broke the trophy”, Nemo repeated, after literally breaking it in a gesture of enthusiasm when he received his prize. The welcome from fans at the airport was “extremely beautiful (…) it shows me how good it is to be part of a community.”

Nemo Mettler, who currently lives in Berlin, is originally from Bienne, a bilingual German-French city in northern Switzerland, where a public reception is planned to congratulate the child of the country. “It will certainly be a big party in the city, with the public, the fans,” detailed the mayor of Biel Erich Fehr, interviewed at the airport by the Swiss press agency Keystone-ATS. “It’s crazy, it’s an incredible story that Nemo de Bienne won this title. The most important music competition in the world. We are really proud and happy“, he added.

The head of the Corporation of Swiss Broadcasters, Gilles Marchand, also highlighted the“huge success” of Nemo. “Even though broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest is a major challenge for all television channels in terms of resources and finances, we are nevertheless delighted to know that our country will host this much-loved event in 2025,” he continued.

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