The Netherlands might be a small country by size and are roughly 6 times smaller than the UK, yet, its packs a big punch when it comes to professional football. In fact, according to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) country coefficients. The Netherlands rank on the 9th place compared to the UK 2nd position in Europe. The League as such saw the light of day back in 1956, two years after deeming a need for a professional football league in the country. This largely due to a dwindling number of players, where many sought a professional football career in different countries, France being the main attraction. However, those days are long gone, and in its modern format, the Eredivisie has proven to be a breeding ground for top talents like Dennis Bergkamp, Marco van Basten, and Ruud Gullit. With that in mind, let’s reveal the history of Eredivisie.

Quick history

We already mentioned that the Eredivisie sprung to life in 1956, but what was in place before? It all started in 1898 with the Dutch national football championship, by which was a strictly amateur competition. Where even the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) suspended players if evidence of receiving compensation for their football contribution. However, the wind of change came after Dutch players residing abroad organised a charity game between the Netherlands and France. That they won with 2 to 1, sparking a public interest for a professional League. And the first professional League was born in 1954. Basically creating 2 Leagues, one professional (NBVB) and an amateur one (KNVB). And to make a long story short, for season 1956/57 it all came together and both Leagues differences put aside, and Eredivisie kicked off. And to this day, it remains mostly intact.

Eredivisie Table

How many teams include in the Eredivisie?

Although the Eredivisie saw some resistance in its early days, the way, the competition structures have mainly persisted. And while many other Leagues in Europe have seen major fundamental changes during its existence, the Eredivisie has gone fairly untouched. And its seems that the birth in 1956 and decision to include 18 teams was the right one. As such, there is not that much more to report on years and different developments. So, let’s jump straight into a season of said League.

A season of Eredivisie

At no surprise, a typical season plays between August finishing up the year following in May. Meaning that this League also developing as the rest of football Europe. And during the course of a season, all 18 clubs play each other 2 times. One time on team 1s home arena and 1 time at the opponent’s stadium. Effectively, it works on a saw called double round-robin system. Where the bottom 2 team relegates automatically to the second level of the Dutch league system, the Eerste Divisie. While the number 1 team claim victory and can call themselves the Dutch football champions.

Who owns the League?

It has not always been the case, but in 1997 the 18 clubs formed a legal binding organisation, the Eredivisie CV. With one main goal, to improve the quality of football in the Netherlands, both on a national level but also international. Where they oversee such things like organisation, collaborate with media and build bridges and maintain the relationship with abroad Leagues. All in close association with the KNVB. Where they, for instance, published its own football channel, Eredivisie Live to broadcast the matches on. Allowing them to distribute the revenue in a unique way. Where they, for instance, create different programs, like youth training.

Eredivisie competition champions

There is no denying the fact that there is really only one team to try to beat, AFC Ajax. Where they have taken home the Eredivisie trophy 26 times (1956/57, 1959/60, 1965/66, 1966/67, 1967/68, 1969/70, 1971/72, 1972/73, 1976/77, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1982/83, 1984/85, 1989/90, 1993/94, 1994/95, 1995/96, 1997/98, 2001/02, 2003/04, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2018/19), well 34 (1917/18, 1918/19, 1930/31, 1931/32, 1933/34, 1936/37, 1938/39, 1946/47) if we count the early days as well. PSV Eindhoven find themselves on second place with 21 wins (1962/63, 1974/75, 1975/76, 1977/78, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1996/97, 1999/00, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2017/18) or 24 (1928/29, 1934/35, 1950/51) from its origin. And in third place, we have Feyenoord Rotterdam with 10 wins. (1960/61, 1961/62, 1964/65, 1968/69, 1970/71, 1973/74, 1983/84, 1992/93, 1998/99, 2016/17) plus with its 5 wins (1923/24, 1927/28, 1935/36, 1937/38, 1939/40) make it 15 in total.eredivisie

Extraordinary moments in Eredivisie

A moment in time that needs to find its place is the 1972 game between Ajax and Vitesse Arnhem. That Ajax brought home with a 12 to 1 margin while playing in front of their fans in their home arena. Or how about when Pierre van Hooydonk scored a goal 11 matches straight in 1993/94. On the topic of goals, let’s see how currently leads the pack of top goal scorers in the Eredivisie.

Top goal scorers and record keepers in Eredivisie

In first place with a comfortable lead, we see the no longer active football player Willy van der Kuijlen with 311 goals. That he produced from 1964 to 1982. And the same status is for second place player Ruud Geels. While he also is not an active professional football player he managed to score 266 goals during his career in 1964 to 1984. Leading us to the third and final place Johan Cruijff with his 216 goals on the scoreboard that he also did between 1964 to 1984. However, we also need to mention Coen Dillen. Why? Well in season 1956/57 he singlehanded put the ball in the opponent’s net 43 times. Which is a record that is going to be hard to beat?

Live viewership and the home audience

If we look at the reported number, roughly 10% of the population venture out from their homes to support their favourite team. And on average the attendance number land around 145,000. However, the spread among the clubs is huge where the teams like Ajax see around 53,000. Which decimates as we go down the table, where the bottom teams only see around 5,600 people. Although, since the League broadcasts in 144 different countries, the home audience is high.

Can you place bets on Eredivisie?

Without a doubt, the number of odds and markets are complete, meaning that all bet types represent. And any reputable bookmakers will offer odds on things like correct score, draw no bet, and double chance to mention a few. Plus, you are going to find that many operators will offer live betting on match-day as well. Resulting in, if you follow the top division in the Netherlands you can combine watching with betting.