The Eredivisie , also known as the Netherlands Division of Honor, is the highest category of the Netherlands Football Leagues system. It was organized by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) and began to be played in the 1956-57 season, two years after the professionalization of Dutch football.
The first National Championship was held in the 1888-89 season with seven clubs from Amsterdam, The Hague, Haarlem and Rotterdam . During the first half of the 20th century, a format based on regional divisions was used, whose champions would face each other in a final league for the title.
As an organizer, the KNVB opted for a strictly amateur modeluntil in 1953 several clubs founded a parallel professional championship. Finally both parties would reach an agreement: the federation assumed professionalism in 1954, and two years later it restructured the system to the current model.
Although up to 53 teams have participated for at least one season, only eight have been crowned league champions. The three biggest clubs in the Netherlands – AFC Ajax , PSV and Feyenoord Rotterdam – have won the majority of editions since 1965, although their dominance has recently been disputed by other teams such as Alkmaar Zaanstreek and FC Twente.
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Dutch Football League – Eredivisie
Before the Eredivisie was created , the main football league in the Netherlands was the National Championship (in Dutch, Nederlands landskampioenschap). The first edition corresponded to the 1888-89 season and featured the participation of seven clubs: RAP and VVA (Amsterdam), VV Concordia and Olympia (Rotterdam), Koninklijke HFC and Excelsior (Haarlem) and HVV Den Haag (The Hague), being the VV Concordia the first winner.
The first nine editions of the National Championship consisted of a unique group for teams from the west of the country. However, beginning in the 1897-98 season a system of regional conferences was established; the leader of each division qualified for a roundtrip final that would be held by the national champion.
As the number of participants increased, the Championship was incorporating new groups from the 1902-03 academic year and modified the final phase for a league between the champions of each group. In the 1917-18 season a second category was established.
Dutch football in the first half of the 20th century was marked by strict amateurism. Since the 1920s, it has been known that some teams offered compensation to their best players to retain them. However, the KNVB prohibited any kind of payment since it considered sport a simple recreational activity.
As early as 1930, goalkeeper Gerrit Keizer was the first Dutchman to go abroad, although not initially as a professional. In 1937, the Netherlands Federation banned striker Bep Bakhuys for accepting a false professional contract from VVV-Venlo, after which he would end up leaving for the French FC Metz. followed in his footsteps to overseas other stars like Gerrit Vreken, Faas Wilkes and Frans de Munck, in a situation that would stay until the 1950s.
Finally, there was an event that pushed towards professionalization. After the 1953 floods , several Dutch footballers abroad organized a friendly against the France team to raise funds. Netherlands defeated the Gauls by 2-1, in contrast to the poor results that the combined Oranje obtained with amateurs.
At the end of that year, 10 teams created the Nederlandse Beroeps Voetbalbond (NBVB), a parallel professional championship that would begin in the 1954-55 season. The KNVB tried to boycott it, but both parties reached an agreement in November 1954: the federation would absorb the new entity, which would immediately cease its activities, in exchange for accepting professional sport.
The 1956-57 season was the first of the Division of Honor (Eredivisie), consisting of a unique group of 18 teams under a system of all against all. The previous year a transition campaign had been played to determine who would play in the top flight. The champion of the professional system was AFC Ajax, which will also be the first Dutch club to contest the European Cup.
Lance from a 1975 meeting between AFC Ajax and PSV, the two most successful Dutch clubs.
The development of the Eredivisie paralleled that of Dutch football, which became one of the major European powers in the 1970s after the success of ‘Clockwork Orange’. The Feyenoord Rotterdam of Ernst Happel was the first Dutch team to win a European title, the 1969-70 European Cup, after beating the Celtic FC with a goal from Ove Kindvall in overtime.
October November However, the great representative of the era was the AFC Ajax led by Rinus Michels and then by Ştefan Kovács, both promoters of the ” total football ” characteristic of the Netherlands. Under the leadership of Johan Cruyff, whom many consider the greatest player in the history of the country, and other stars like Johan Neeskens and Ruud Krol, Ajax Amsterdam became champion of six Leagues and three consecutive European Cups (1971, 1972, 1973). In 1978 , the PSV captained by Willy Van Der Kuijlen won the UEFA Cup.
Another effect of professionalism was the reduction in the number of teams. 2 In some cities there were mergers between clubs to create a single local representative that could compete equally, in the case of FC Twente (1965), Alkmaar Zaanstreek (1967), Fortuna Sittard (1968), FC Utrecht (1970), ADO Den Haag (1971) and FC Amsterdam (1972). Others were relegated to amateur football after the suppression of the Second Division (third level) from the 1971-72 season. From that year on, a lower-level club could only be promoted to the professional system if it was accepted by the KNVB.
In the 1980s the trend of European dominance continued, with a first tranche for Marco van Basten’s AFC Ajax and a second in which PSV broke in. This team, led by Guus Hiddink, broke an Eredivisie record by winning the 1987-88 league title with 117 goals, the year they also won the European Cup. The squad where Eric Gerets, Ronald Koeman, and Romario came to play would control the tournament until the end of that decade when Ajax Amsterdam experienced a second golden stage under Louis van Gaal. The Amsterdam team signed a triplet in the Dutch League, Champions League, and Intercontinental Cup in the 1994-95 season.
The emergence of the Bosman Case led to a significant increase in the number of foreign footballers, as well as the departure of the best Eredivisie footballers to other leagues. In 2008-09, Alkmaar Zaanstreek surprised with a second league title, something that had not happened for 28 seasons. And in the 2009-10 season, FC Twente won the first league title in its history. However, the ‘big three’ of Dutch football – AFC Ajax, PSV, and Feyenoord Rotterdam – have once again dominated the domestic championship.
The Eredivisie is a tournament organized and regulated by the Royal Netherlands Football Federation (KNVB), in conjunction with the First Division (Eerste Divisie), the Netherlands Cup, and the Super Cup. The only professional categories in Dutch football are the Eredivisie and the Eerste Divisie.
The competition is held annually, beginning in August and ending in mid-May of the following year. It consists of a unique group made up of 18 football clubs. Following a league system, they will face everyone against everyone on two occasions: once in their own field and another in the opposite field, until a total of 34 days have been played. The order of the matches is decided by lottery before starting.
The final classification is established according to the total points obtained by each team at the end of the championship. Teams score three points for each game won, one point for each tie, and no points for games lost. If at the end of the championship two teams equal points, there are tiebreaker mechanisms:
- The one with the greatest difference between goals for and against, according to the result of the matches played between them.
- The one with the highest goal difference in favor, taking into account all those obtained and received in the course of the competition.
- The club that has scored the most goals.
The team that at the end of the 34 days adds more points, will be the national champion and will qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
The classification criteria for competitions – according to the UEFA coefficient – is as follows: the league champion qualifies for the UEFA Champions League from the third qualifying round, while the runner-up does so from the second round. On the other hand, the champion of the Netherlands Cup (third round), the third-placed (second round), and the winner of a play-off between the fourth and seventh places qualify for the UEFA Europa League.
The last two qualifiers descend directly to the Eerste Divisie, while the penultimate disputes a promotion against one, of the nine clubs in the lower division. KNVB reserves the right to reject participants if they do not meet the criteria set by the organization.
Throughout its history, the Eredivisie has had a total of 53 participants, with only three having competed in all professional editions: Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven, and Feyenoord.
The teams that will be playing in the 2021-22 season are:
|Ajax||Johan Cruyff ArenA||55,500|
|AZ Alkmaar||AFAS Stadion||17,023|
|FC Groningen||Hitachi Capital Mobility Stadion||22,550|
|FC Twente||By Grolsch Veste||30,205|
|FC Utrecht||Stadion Galgenwaard||23,750|
|Feyenoord||Stadion Feijenoord – De Kuip||51,177|
|Fortune sittard||Fortuna Sittard Stadion||10,300|
|Go ahead eagles||By Adelaarshorst||10,000|
|Heracles Almelo||Erve Asito||12,080|
|NEC Nijmegen||Stadion de Goffert||12,500|
|PEC Zwolle||MAC³PARK Stadion||14,000|
|PSV Eindhoven||Philips Stadion||35,000|
|RKC Waalwijk||Mandemakers Stadion||7,500|
|SC Cambuur||Cambuur Stadion||10,500|
|SC Heerenveen||Abe Lenstra Stadion||27,224|
|Sparta Rotterdam||Sparta Stadion – Het Kasteel||11,000|
|Willem ii||Koning Willem II Stadion||14,500|
Out of the 53 teams played a total of eleven clubs have obtained at least one title of the highest category of Dutch football, all of them have managed to repeat the title on at least two other occasions.
|Club||Titles||Years of the championships|
|AFC Ajax||35||1918, 1919, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1937, 1939, 1947, 1957, 1960, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2021|
|PSV||24||1929, 1935, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2018|
|Feyenoord Rotterdam||15||1924, 1928, 1936, 1938, 1940, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1974, 1984, 1993, 1999, 2017|
|HVV Den Haag||10||1891, 1896, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1905, 1907, 1910, 1914|
|Sparta Rotterdam||6||1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1959|
|RAP Amsterdam||5||1892, 1894, 1897, 1898, 1899|
|Go ahead eagles||4||1917, 1922, 1930, 1933|
|Koninklijke HFC||3||1890, 1893, 1895|
|Willem II Tilburg||3||1916, 1952, 1955|
|HBS Craeyenhout||3||1904, 1906, 1925|
|Alkmaar Zaanstreek||2||1981, 2009|
|Position||Player||Goals||Games Played||Debut||Debut Team|
|1||Willy van der Kuijlen||311||544||1964-65||PSV|
|2||Ruud geels||266||420||1966-67||SC Telstar|
|3||Johan cruyff||215||308||1964-65||AFC Ajax|
|4||Kees Kist||212||442||1972-73||Alkmaar Zaanstreek|
|5||Henk Bosveld||209||706||1959-60||SC Enschede|
|6||Tonny van der linden||208||456||1956-57||USV Elinkwijk|
|7||Henk Groot||196||278||1959-60||AFC Ajax|
|8||Peter houtman||180||339||1951-52||Feyenoord Rotterdam|
|9||Sjaak swart||175||463||1959-60||AFC Ajax|
|10||Leo van Veen||174||555||1943-44||VV TWO|
|11||Cor van der Gĳp||161||233||1971-72||Feyenoord Rotterdam|
|12||Wim kieft||158||266||1979-80||AFC Ajax|
|13||Dirk kuyt||153||323||1998-99||FC Utrecht|
|14||Norwegian flag Hallvar Thoresen||152||314||1976-77||FC Twente|
|15||John bosman||148||304||1983-02||AFC Ajax|
|17||Luuk de Jong||135||246||2008-09||VBV De Graafschap|
|No.||Player||Games Played||Active Period||Debut team|
|1||Pim Doesburg||687||1962 – 1987||Sparta Rotterdam|
|2||Jan Jongbloed||684||1959 – 1986||AFC DWS|
|3||Piet Schrijvers||576||1966 – 1985||FC Twente|
|4||Sander boschker||561||1989 – 2014||FC Twente|
|5||Eddy treijtel||554||1964 – 1985||Feyenoord Rotterdam|
|6||Willy van der Kuijlen||544||1964 – 1982||PSV|
|7||Danny Blind||537||1979 – 1999||Sparta Rotterdam|
|8||Edward metgod||519||1979 – 1997||HFC Haarlem|
|9||Willy van de Kerkhof||512||1970 – 1988||FC Twente|
|10||Aad Mansveld||505||1964 – 1982||ADO Den Haag|