ESNS grew under Houben's leadership in terms of programming, media attention, budget, number of stages and visitor numbers. Through the steady professionalization of the organization, he has succeeded in signiﬁcantly improving the value of a performance at ESNS for the artists.
Houben's enterprising actions have given ESNS a sound ﬁnancial base. This includes various
multi-year European project grants, solid partnerships and a place in the basic cultural infrastructure (BIS) of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Together with his team Dago helped to sustain ESNS during the Corona years with innovative online versions of the event. The 2023 live edition was sold-out.
The Supervisory Board regrets Houben's departure. Chairman Antje Diertens: “Dago was director since 2009, a very successful period for ESNS in which it has grown into a globally respected platform for European pop music. We thank him for his commitment.”
Houben: “It is with pride, but certainly also with sentiment, that I bid farewell to a great event and a wonderful organization with great cultural relevance. I thank everyone who has supported and assisted me and ESNS over the past years. It was a privilege to be able to lead this organization.”
On July 4, Frans Vreeke will start as interim director and until then Daniële Streep will act as deputy director. The Supervisory Board starts the search for a suitable successor.