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Topklasse logo.jpg
Country Netherlands
Confederation UEFA
Founded 2010
Divisions 2
Number of teams 32
Level on pyramid 3 (4 from 2016)
Promotion to Eerste Divisie (optional; until 2015)
Tweede Divisie (from 2016)
Relegation to Hoofdklasse
Domestic cup(s) KNVB Cup
Current champions Lienden
Most championships IJsselmeervogels, Achilles '29, Katwijk, Spakenburg and Lienden (1 each)
2015–16 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football; a professional football club could only drop to the amateur leagues if its licence for professional football was revoked, while an amateur football club could only be promoted after application and meeting a number of criteria.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.

From the 2015–16 season promotion to the new Tweede Klasse, to be placed between the Eerste Klasse and the Topklasse, will be implemented. Thus, the Topklasse and lower leagues will be incremented by one step in the pyramid.[5][6]

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. However, by 2016 promotion to the Tweede Divisie will be required.

Current teams (2015–16)[edit]

Saturday League[edit]

Club City Province Stadium Capacity Manager 2014/15
BVV Barendrecht Barendrecht South Holland South Holland Sportpark de Bongerd 3,000 Netherlands Adrie Polderbaart 4th
VV Capelle Capelle aan den IJssel South Holland South Holland Sportpark 't Slot 4,000 Netherlands Ton van Bremen 8th
DVS'33 Ermelo Gelderland Gelderland Sportlaan 1,500 Netherlands Jan Veldhuizen 1st Hoofdklasse C
Excelsior Maassluis Maassluis South Holland South Holland Sportpark Lavendelstraat 5,000 Netherlands Jeroen Rijsdijk 10th
GVVV Veenendaal Utrecht (province) Utrecht Sportpark Panhuis 4,000 Netherlands Erik Assink 6th
HHC Hardenberg Hardenberg Overijssel Overijssel Sportpark De Boshoek 4,500 Netherlands Marcel Groninger 3rd
IJsselmeervogels Spakenburg Utrecht (province) Utrecht Sportpark De Westmaat 8,000 Netherlands Frans Adelaar 5th
VV Katwijk Katwijk South Holland South Holland Sportpark de Krom 6,000 Netherlands Dirk Schreuder 1st Hoofdklasse B
Kozakken Boys Werkendam North Brabant North Brabant Sportpark De Zwaaier 2,500 Netherlands Danny Buijs Champions Saturday Topklasse
FC Lisse Lisse South Holland South Holland Sportpark Ter Specke 5,000 Netherlands Arjan van der Laan 11th
ONS Boso Sneek Sneek Friesland Friesland Sportpark Zuidersportpark 950 Netherlands Richard Karrenbelt 12th
Rijnsburgse Boys Rijnsburg South Holland South Holland Sportpark Middelmors 6,100 Netherlands Niek Oosterlee 7th
RVVH Ridderkerk South Holland South Holland Sportpark Ridderkerk 3,000 Netherlands Giovanni Franken Playoffs winners
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 2nd
SteDoCo Hoornaar South Holland South Holland Sportpark Stedoco Netherlands Virgil Breetveld 1st Hoofdklasse A

Sunday League[edit]

Club City Province Stadium Capacity Manager 2014/15
AFC Amsterdam North Holland North Holland Sportpark Goed Genoeg 2,000 Netherlands Stanley Menzo 10th
JVC Cuijk Cuijk North Brabant North Brabant Sportpark De Groenendijkse 3,000 Netherlands Bart Logchies 5th
De Treffers Groesbeek Gelderland Gelderland Sportpark Zuid 4,000 Netherlands Anton Janssen 4th
EVV Echt Limburg (Netherlands) Limburg Sportpark In de Bandert 2,000 Netherlands Leo Beckers 7th
HBS Craeyenhout The Hague South Holland South Holland Sportpark Daal en Bergselaan 1,000 Netherlands André Wetzel Playoffs winners
Hercules Utrecht Utrecht (province) Utrecht Sportpark Voordorp Netherlands Eric Speelziek 12th
HSC '21 Haaksbergen Overijssel Overijssel Sportpark Groot Scholtenhagen 4,500 Netherlands Eddy Boerhof 11th
Koninklijke HFC Haarlem North Holland North Holland Sportpark Spanjaardslaan 1,500 Netherlands Pieter Mulder 6th
FC Lienden Lienden Gelderland Gelderland Sportpark De Abdijhof 2,400 Netherlands Hans van de Haar Champions Sunday Topklasse
Magreb'90 Utrecht Utrecht (province) Utrecht Sportpark Papendorp Netherlands Frans Schuitemaker 1st Hoofdklasse A
OJC Rosmalen Rosmalen North Brabant North Brabant Sportpark De Groote Wielen Netherlands Dennis Dekkers 9th
VV Sneek Wit Zwart Sneek Friesland Friesland Sportpark Sneek Wit Zwart 4,500 Netherlands Berry Zandink 1st Hoofdklasse C
TEC VV Tiel Gelderland Gelderland Sportpark De Lok Netherlands Frits van den Berk 1st Hoofdklasse B
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 Paul Weerman 8th


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
2014–15 Kozakken Boys Lienden Lienden 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. ^ "Topklasse in amateurvoetbal krijgt groen licht". Voetbalzone. 
  5. ^ "Plannen tweede divisie gaan door". (in Dutch). 2 December 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Vanaf seizoen 2016/17: promotie/degradatie tussen amateurvoetbal en betaald voetbal". (in Dutch). 2 December 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 

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