The Dutch Eredivisie League
Holland is one of football’s superpowers, and nearly all of their stars learned their trade in the Eredivisie – the Netherlands’ top professional league. The national game becomes a national obsession as the season reaches its climax, with the legendary names of Dutch football competing for the top domestic honour and the coveted European places. Sporting culture runs deep in this part of the world, so add in the fans’ keen appreciation of tactics and skill, and there’s a special current of excitement at any Eredivisie match. Why not look through the forthcoming fixtures and book your seat with Dutch League Tickets from Ticketbis?
Dutch League – rules and history
The top division is made up of 18 teams, each playing home and away, but there’s an important post-season (or ‘Nacompetitie’) too. The 16th and 17th placed teams face the second and third finishers from the Eerste Divisie to decide promotion and relegation. Meanwhile, teams as far down as eighth can play off for places in the Europa League. Only the league winners qualify automatically for the Champions’ League group stage. It means there’s plenty to play for throughout the season.
The Big Three - Ajax, PSV, and Feyenoord
There is no doubt that in the Dutch Eredivisie there are three teams that continue to dominate. They are Ajax (33 titles), PSV Eindhoven (23 tiles) and Feyenoord (15 titles). For generations, the hottest Dutch League tickets have been for the great derby between Ajax and Feyenoord. Playing in the red and white strip made famous by Johan Cruyff, Ajax pride themselves on their elegance and fluent team play. In contrast, the rival fans from Rotterdam like to see energy and commitment, exemplified by tenacious ball-winner Paul Bosvelt – one supporter admiringly called it “sleeves-rolled-up football”. With bragging rights and sometimes the title on the line, passions run high, especially at Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium – “The Tub” can feel like a cauldron for visiting teams. Only the illustrious PSV Eindhoven have successfully challenged the duopoly, notably winning the treble in 1988 and retaining the league title three times in the 2000s. Past players like Gullit, Koeman and Van Nistelrooy demonstrate that Ajax is not the country’s only hotbed of talent.
Great moments in the Dutch League
The Eredivisie still has the power to surprise and delight fans with something unexpected. In 2010, Twente Enschede stunned Dutch football with their first ever Eredivisie. Mocked by fans from the Randstad as ‘Tukkers’ or ‘country boys’, the team won 16 out of 17 home matches to take the title by one point. The 2016/17 season also showed the romance of the competition. “They laughed when I said I wanted to win the league”, remembered Dirk Kuyt, who re-signed for Feyenoord where he had scored 71 goals between 2003 and 2006. Two years after his return, the veteran striker hit a hat-trick on the final day of the season to take the title to Rotterdam.