The Netherlands are the first country to announce their participant for the next Eurovision Song Contest. Anouk will be the act who will fly the Dutch flag in Malmö.

There has been speculation for some time that Anouk would possibly be chosen to sing for the Netherlands but it was denied. Then it was rumoured that the rock singer would represent the Netherlands, on the condition that she would not have to take part in a national final competing against other artists. However, Anouk announced on Wednesday that she will be happy to represent the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 and urged fans to "hope for the best".

Anouk has been one of the most familiar faces on the Dutch music scene for more than fifteen years. She released her first single in 1996 but got her breakthrough a year later. Since then she has released eight studio albums and four live albums, selling more than 1.5 million records in the Netherlands alone. Anouk also has a string of hit singles to her name, some of which have even been top ten hits in Sweden, Norway and Finland. She has also been the recipient of so many nominations and trophies at the Dutch TMF Awards that in 2006 she withdrew herself from any future nods to let other acts have a chance of winning.

Anouk's breakthrough single, "Nobody's Wife"

Hopefully, Anouk can get the Netherlands back to the Eurovision final in 2013. The Dutch have now been absent from the grand final for eight consecutive contests - only qualifying once since the introduction of the semi finals in 2004. Sending an experienced artist with a high profile could be just what is needed to make the push back into the final line-up.

Anouk's song for Malmö will be made public in February.

One of Anouk's biggest hits, "Lost". Performed live in 2009

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