Eagling will step into the post in November, during the company's tour of The Sleeping Beauty.
Craig Hassell, the company's managing director, said in a statement, "Our panel was very impressed with the creativity and imagination Wayne brought to bear on the Dutch National Ballet. He introduced a lot of new repertoire and new choreographers to the company, and, at the same time, increased the quality of their productions and the standard of the dancers. After 13 years with Eagling as its artistic director, the company gained a remarkable international reputation and is regarded as one of the top ten ballet companies in the world."
The Canadian-born Eagling joined the Royal Ballet in 1969, and became a principal dancer there in 1973. In 1991 he left in order to become artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet, a position he held until 2003.
An article in the London Guardian quotes a 1998 interview in which Eagling said, "England's ballet scene is boring, apart from Rambert." He amended that comment yesterday, telling the paper that most of his information came from the press, but added, "There's so much happening in Europe, and I think the Brits are just a little more self-satisfied about ballet. I'll retract the boring bit and try to bring some of the things I learned in Holland, but with some different stuff too."
An article in the London Times earlier this summer named a handful of candidates for the ENB position but did not include Eagling in the list.