Eerste Divisie 2008–09 began in August 2008 and concluded in May 2009, with the promotion playoffs. Sixteen clubs were remained in the Eerste Divisie, whilst Excelsior and VVV-Venlo were relegated from the Eredivisie 2007-08. VVV-Venlo won the league title and will be promoted to the Eredivisie, the highest tier of football in the Netherlands, while eight other teams will compete in a playoff with two Eredivisie sides for two Eredivisie tickets.
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored (C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished: (Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.
The competition is divided into six periods (Dutch: periode) of six matches each. The winner of each period (Dutch: periodekampioen) qualifies for the playoffs at the end of the season. If the winner of a period has already won a prior period in the season, the second placed team in the period is awarded the playoff slot. If the second placed team has also won a prior period, no winner is called, and the playoff slot is decided by league standing at the end of the season.
Excelsior, Telstar, FC Zwolle, TOP Oss and Dordrecht were awarded play-off spot as their performance in the six periods, along with RKC Waalwijk and Cambuur, the two best placed team in Eerste Divisie who did not get a play-off spot via period route. As VVV-Venlo, one of the period winners, promoted as Eerste Divisie champions, MVV replaced them as the best placed team who did not qualify for play-off.