The Netherlands was drawn to compete in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest which took place on 10 May 2016. Performing during the show in position 6, "Slow Down" was announced among the top 10 entries of the first semi-final and therefore qualified to compete in the final on 14 May. It was later revealed that the Netherlands placed fifth out of the 18 participating countries in the semi-final with 197 points. In the final, the Netherlands placed eleventh out of the 26 participating countries, scoring 153 points.
Prior to the 2016 contest, the Netherlands had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest fifty-six times since their début as one of seven countries to take part in the inaugural contest in 1956. Since then, the country has won the contest four times: in 1957 with the song "Net als toen" performed by Corry Brokken; in 1959 with the song "'n Beetje" performed by Teddy Scholten; in 1969 as one of four countries to tie for first place with "De troubadour" performed by Lenny Kuhr; and finally in 1975 with "Ding-a-Dong" performed by the group Teach-In. Following the introduction of semi-finals for the 2004 contest, the Netherlands had featured in only three finals. The Dutch least successful result has been last place, which they have achieved on five occasions, most recently in the second semi-final of the 2011 contest. The Netherlands has also received nul points on two occasions; in 1962 and 1963.
The Dutch national broadcaster, AVROTROS, broadcasts the event within the Netherlands and organises the selection process for the nation's entry. The Netherlands has used various methods to select the Dutch entry in the past, such as the Nationaal Songfestival, a live televised national final to choose the performer, song or both to compete at Eurovision. However, internal selections have also been held on occasion. Since 2013, the broadcaster has internally selected the Dutch entry for the contest. In 2013, the internal selection of Anouk performing "Birds" managed to take the country to the final for the first time in eight years and placed ninth overall. In 2014, the internal selection of The Common Linnets performing the song "Calm After the Storm" qualified the nation to the final once again and placed second, making it the most successful Dutch result in the contest since their victory in 1975. For 2016, the broadcaster opted to continue selecting the Dutch entry through an internal selection.
Following Trijntje Oosterhuis' failure to qualify to the final of the 2015 with the song "Walk Along", the Dutch broadcaster issued a statement to the current affairs programme EenVandaag where they revealed that the broadcaster would continue to internally select both the artist and song for the Eurovision Song Contest and that several artists had already been in contact with the broadcaster in regards to participating. Artists that were rumoured in Dutch media to be in talks with AVROTROS included singer Dotan and the winners of the reality singing competition The Voice of Holland Iris Kroes, who won the second series, and O'G3NE, who won the fifth series.
On 20 September 2015, Dutch media reported that AVROTROS had selected singer Douwe Bob to represent the Netherlands at the 2016 contest. Douwe Bob was confirmed as the Dutch entrant on 22 September 2015 during the Dutch talk show De Wereld Draait Door. The selection of Douwe Bob as the Dutch representative occurred through a unanimous decision by a selection commission consisting of singer and television host Jan Smit, television host and author Cornald Maas, radio DJ Daniël Dekker and AVROTROS media-director Remco van Leen. During his interview on De Wereld Draait Door, Douwe Bob revealed that the selected song was an uptempo track that he recorded in Andalusia while working on material for an upcoming album.