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Topklasse logo.jpg
Country Netherlands
Confederation UEFA
Founded 2010
Divisions 2
Number of teams 32
Level on pyramid 3
Promotion to Eerste Divisie (optional)
Relegation to Hoofdklasse
Domestic cup(s) KNVB Cup
Current champions Spakenburg
Most championships IJsselmeervogels, Achilles '29, Katwijk and Spakenburg (1)
2014–15 Topklasse

Topklasse (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈtɔp.ˌklɑ.sə]) (English: Top Class) is the third tier of football in the Netherlands, which had its inaugural season in 2010–11. The league is placed between the Eerste Divisie and the Hoofdklasse, the second and fourth tiers of Dutch football, respectively.[1] The introduction of the Topklasse resulted from discussions between the Royal Dutch Football Association, the Coöperatie Eerste Divisie (the clubs in the Eerste Divisie) and the Centraal Overleg Hoofdklassers (the clubs in the Hoofdklasse).


A national football competition in the Netherlands was established in 1956. Prior to that, the districts of the Dutch football association held their own competitions, and the champions of these competitions faced each other for the national title. The highest national division in the new league structure became the Eredivisie, followed by the Eerste Divisie and the Tweede Divisie. The Tweede Divisie was disbanded in 1971; six clubs were promoted to the Eerste Divisie (champions De Volewijckers along with FC Eindhoven, VVV, Fortuna Vlaardingen, PEC and Roda JC), while the remaining ten clubs became amateur clubs. The Eerste Divisie subsequently became the lowest league in professional football in the Netherlands

The amateur football clubs had a separate league system, the highest league of which was the Eerste Klasse (later: Hoofdklasse). There was no promotion and relegation between professional football and amateur football; a professional football club could only drop to the amateur leagues if its licence for professional football was revoked, while an amateur football club could only be promoted after application and meeting a number of criteria.

The calls for a Topklasse largely stemmed from the professionalization of amateur football clubs in the Netherlands in recent years, in the sense that many Hoofdklasse club players now receive a salary.[2] This has closed the gap between the top of the Hoofdklasse and the bottom of the Eerste Divisie. Chairman of the Dutch football association Henk Kesler had therefore repeatedly called for the creation of the Topklasse to establish promotion and relegation between professional and amateur football, creating a league pyramid akin to the English football league system.

The first plans for a Topklasse were rejected by the Eerste Divisie clubs in 1999.[3]

Confirmed structure[edit]

The new league structure was approved at an amateur clubs meeting on 6 June 2009.[4] The KNVB introduced the new level for the 2010–11 season, comprising 32 clubs. After the 2009–10 season, the bottom 2 teams in the Eerste Divisie, whose size was reduced from 20 to 18 clubs, and the top four clubs from each of the six Hoofdklasse divisions – a total of 26 clubs – automatically joined the new level. These clubs were joined by six playoff winners from a pool of 12 clubs that finished in 5th or 6th place in their group within the Hoofdklasse.

The 32 clubs within the Topklasse were divided into two leagues comprising 16 clubs. One league is a "Saturday" league and the other a "Sunday" league. At the end of the season, both clubs that finish at the top of their division play each other. The winner of that tie is promoted to the Eerste Divisie, replacing the team that finishes 18th. If the winner refuses promotion or is ineligible for promotion, the runners-up are promoted. If both teams refuse promotion, no promotion and relegation takes place between the Eerste Divisie and Topklasse.

In January 2010, the exclusion of bankrupt HFC Haarlem from the Eerste Divisie reduced the number of scheduled relegations to one only, and led the federation to announce that this vacancy would be filled by an additional Hoofdklasse club. On May 12, 2010 it was announced that BV Veendam had declared bankruptcy, possibly giving (otherwise relegated) FC Oss a chance to stay in the Eerste Divisie, with the extra slot filled by another Hoofdklasse club. Veendam's bankruptcy was then reversed on appeal, thus confirming FC Oss' relegation into the Topklasse.

Perception among amateur clubs[edit]

IJsselmeervogels, one of the most successful amateur football clubs in the Netherlands, was a strong opponent of the plans; chief Arian van de Vuurst has stated that "professional football does not fit in with our culture."[2] Because of these objections, promotion to the Eerste Divisie is not mandatory for the champion of the Topklasse.

Current teams (2014–15)[edit]

Saturday League[edit]

Club City Province Stadium Capacity Manager 2013/14
Ajax (amateurs) Amsterdam North Holland North Holland Sportpark De Toekomst 2.020 Netherlands Bart Logchies Play-offs winners
BVV Barendrecht Barendrecht South Holland South Holland Sportpark de Bongerd 3.000 Netherlands Jack van den Berg 11th
VV Capelle Capelle aan den IJssel South Holland South Holland Sportpark 't Slot 4.000 Netherlands Ton van Bremen 12th
Excelsior Maassluis Maassluis South Holland South Holland Sportpark Lavendelstraat 5.000 Netherlands Cesco Achterberg 6th
SC Genemuiden Genemuiden Overijssel Overijssel Sportpark de Wetering 5.900 Netherlands Hans van Dijkhuizen 1st Hoofdklasse C
GVVV Veenendaal Utrecht (province) Utrecht Sportpark Panhuis 4.000 Netherlands Erik Assink 2nd
HHC Hardenberg Hardenberg Overijssel Overijssel Sportpark De Boshoek 4.500 Netherlands Marcel Groninger 3rd
HSV Hoek Hoek Zeeland Zeeland Sportpark Denoek 2.500 Netherlands Kenny Verhoene 1st Hoofdklasse B
IJsselmeervogels Spakenburg Utrecht (province) Utrecht Sportpark De Westmaat 8.000 Netherlands Frans Adelaar 4th
Kozakken Boys Werkendam North Brabant North Brabant Sportpark De Zwaaier 2.500 Netherlands Ton Cornelissen / Danny Buijs 7th
FC Lisse Lisse South Holland South Holland Sportpark Ter Specke 5.000 Netherlands Misha Salden 8th
ONS Boso Sneek Sneek Friesland Friesland Sportpark Zuidersportpark 950 Netherlands Bert Hollander 10th
Rijnsburgse Boys Rijnsburg South Holland South Holland Sportpark Middelmors 6.100 Netherlands Niek Oosterlee 5th
SVV Scheveningen Scheveningen South Holland South Holland Sportpark Houtrust 3.500 Netherlands John Blok 9th
SV Spakenburg Spakenburg Utrecht (province) Utrecht Sportpark De Westmaat 8.000 Netherlands Jochem Twisker Champions Saturday Topklasse
Sparta Nijkerk Nijkerk Gelderland Gelderland De Ebbenhorst 5.350 Netherlands Simon Ouaali 1st Hoofdklasse A

Sunday League[edit]

Club City Province Stadium Capacity Manager 2013/14
ADO '20 Heemskerk North Holland North Holland Sportpark De Vlotter 3.000 Netherlands Martin de Groot 8th
AFC Amsterdam North Holland North Holland Sportpark Goed Genoeg 2.000 Netherlands Maarten Stekelenburg Champions Sunday Topklasse
JVC Cuijk Cuijk North Brabant North Brabant Sportpark De Groenendijkse 3.000 Netherlands Hans Kraay jr. 4th
HFC EDO Haarlem North Holland North Holland Noordersportpark Play-offs winners
EVV Echt Limburg (Netherlands) Limburg Sportpark In de Bandert 2.000 Netherlands Leo Beckers 5th
HBS-Craeyenhout Den Haag South Holland South Holland Sportpark Daal en Bergselaan 1.000 Netherlands André Wetzel 6th
Hercules Utrecht Utrecht (province) Utrecht Sportpark Voordorp 1st Hoofdklasse C
HSC '21 Haaksbergen Overijssel Overijssel Sportpark Groot Scholtenhagen 4.500 Netherlands Wilco Klop 9th
Koninklijke HFC Haarlem North Holland North Holland 1st Hoofdklasse A
RKSV Leonidas Rotterdam South Holland South Holland Sportpark Erasmuspad 3.000 Netherlands Koos Waslander 7th
FC Lienden Lienden Gelderland Gelderland Sportpark De Abdijhof 2.400 Netherlands Hans van de Haar 10th
OJC Rosmalen Rosmalen North Brabant North Brabant Sportpark De Groote Wielen Netherlands Dennis Dekkers 1st Hoofdklasse B
De Treffers Groesbeek Gelderland Gelderland Sportpark Zuid 4.000 Netherlands John Neijenhuis
Netherlands Camiel Jager
VV UNA Veldhoven North Brabant North Brabant Sportpark Zeelst 3.000 Netherlands Mark Schenning 2nd
VVSB Noordwijkerhout South Holland South Holland Sportpark de Boekhorst 2.500 Netherlands Wilfred van Leeuwen 3rd
WKE Emmen Drenthe Drenthe Sportpark Grote Geert 4.000 Netherlands Hendrik Oosting 12th


Season Saturday champions Sunday champions Overall champions Promotion
2010–11 IJsselmeervogels FC Oss IJsselmeervogels FC Oss
2011–12 Spakenburg Achilles '29 Achilles '29 None
2012–13 Katwijk Achilles '29 Katwijk Achilles '29
2013–14 Spakenburg AFC Spakenburg None


  1. ^ "KNVB will topklasse in amateurvoetbal" (in Dutch). 2007-06-09. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  2. ^ a b Robert Missèt (2007-06-18). "‘Kesler heeft geen idee wat amateurvoetbal inhoudt’" (in Dutch). de Volkskrant. p. 17. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  3. ^ Erik Oudshoorn (1999-06-01). "Clubs eerste divisie dwarsbomen Topklasse" (in Dutch). NRC Handelsblad. p. 11. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]