|Founded||2010 as Topklasse|
|Number of teams||31|
|Level on pyramid||4|
|Promotion to||Tweede Divisie|
|Domestic cup(s)||KNVB Cup|
|Current champions||Saturday: None|
|Most championships||SV Spakenburg (3 Saturday titles)|
|Current: 2020–21 Derde Divisie|
The Derde Divisie (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈdɛrdə diˈvizi] ; English: Third Division), formerly known as Topklasse (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈtɔpklɑsə] ; English: Top Class), is the fourth tier of football in the Netherlands, which had its inaugural season as a third tier in 2010–11 and as a fourth tier in 2016–17. The league is placed between the Tweede Divisie and the Hoofdklasse, the third and fifth tiers of Dutch football, respectively. The introduction of the then 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football; a professional football club could only drop to the amateur leagues if its licence for professional football was revoked, while an amateur football club could only be promoted after application and meeting a number of criteria.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.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.
The new league structure was approved at an amateur clubs meeting on 6 June 2009.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, a setup that is still in place. At the end of the season, both clubs that finished at the top of their division play each other. The winner of that tie was promoted to the Eerste Divisie, replacing the team that finished 18th. If the winner refused promotion or was ineligible for promotion, the runners-up were promoted. If both teams refused promotion, no promotion and relegation took 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 KNVB to announce that this vacancy would be filled by an additional Hoofdklasse club. On 12 May 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.
After the 2015–16 season promotion to the reintroduced Tweede Divisie, placed between the Eerste Divisie and the Topklasse, renamed Derde Divisie, was implemented. Thus, the Derde Divisie and lower leagues were decremented by one step in the pyramid, with the latter expanding to 36 clubs, 18 in each division.The division winners are promoted and no longer compete for the amateur championship which was made redundant.
There were several reforms from the 2016–17 season. The league was reformed as follows:
|Situation until the 2015–16 season||Situation from the 2016–17 season|
|The name of the league was Topklasse.||The name of the league is Derde Divisie (English: Third Division)|
|Promotion to the Eerste Divisie was optional.||Promotion to the Tweede Divisie is mandatory.|
|There were no reserve teams in the league.||Two reserve teams of professional clubs, determined by a ranking, gained entry.|
|Situation until the 2019–20 season||Situation from the 2020–21 season|
|There were two reserve teams.||No more reserve teams in this division; they play in an under-21 or 23 league.|
A proposal to split the two divisions determined by region and not by playing date has been rejected.
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."Because of these objections, promotion to the Eerste Divisie was not mandatory for the champion of the former Topklasse. After 2016, however, promotion to the Tweede Divisie is required.
|Ajax (amateurs)||Amsterdam||Sportpark De Toekomst||2,250|
|Barendrecht||Barendrecht||Sportpark De Bongerd||1,800|
|Excelsior '31||Rijssen||Sportpark De Koerbelt||3,150|
|GOES||Goes||Sportpark Het Schenge||1,500|
|Harkemase Boys||Harkema||Sportpark De Bosk||5,000|
|Lisse||Lisse||Sportpark Ter Specke||7,000|
|ODIN '59||Heemskerk||Sportpark Assumburg||1,700|
|Sparta Nijkerk||Nijkerk||Sportpark De Ebbenhorst||5,000|
|Ter Leede||Sassenheim||Sportpark De Roodemolen||3,000|
|VVOG||Harderwijk||Sportpark De Strokel||10,000|
|VVSB||Noordwijkerhout||Sportpark De Boekhorst||2,500|
|ADO '20||Heemskerk||Sportpark De Vlotter||4,500|
|Blauw Geel '38||Veghel||PWA Sportpark||2,500|
|VV Dongen||Dongen||Sportpark De Biezen||1,800|
|EVV||Echt||Sportpark In de Bandert||2,000|
|Groene Ster||Heerlerheide||Sportpark Pronsebroek||2,500|
|USV Hercules||Utrecht||Sportpark Voordorp||1,800|
|HSC '21||Haaksbergen||Groot Scholtenhagen||4,500|
|OSS '20||Oss||Sportpark De Rusheuvel||1,800|
|Quick (H)||Den Haag||Sportpark Nieuw Hanenburg||1,500|
|VV UNA||Veldhoven||Sportpark Zeelst||2,000|
|RKVV Westlandia||Naaldwijk||Sportpark De Hoge Bomen||2,000|
|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|
|2014–15||Kozakken Boys||FC Lienden||FC Lienden||None|
|2015–16||Excelsior Maassluis||FC Lienden||Excelsior Maassluis||14 clubs|
|Season||Saturday champions||Sunday champions|
|2016–17||IJsselmeervogels||ASV De Dijk|
|2018–19||VV Noordwijk||Jong Volendam|
TOP Oss, is a professional association football club based in the town of Oss, North Brabant, Netherlands, that competes in the Eerste Divisie, the second tier of the Dutch football league system. Founded in 1928 as T.O.P., a Dutch abbreviation for Tot Ons Plezier, the team plays its home matches at the Frans Heesen Stadion, where it has been based since 1946.
RBC, commonly known under its previous official name RBC Roosendaal, is a football club based in Roosendaal, Netherlands. RBC currently plays in the seventh-tier Tweede Klasse after a bankruptcy in 2011, restarting the club in ninth tier Vijfde Klasse.
The Eerste Divisie is the second-highest tier of football in the Netherlands. It is linked with the top-level Eredivisie and with the third-level Tweede Divisie via promotion/relegation systems. It is also known as the Keuken Kampioen Divisie due to sponsorship, while previously it was known as Jupiler League for the same reason.
The Hoofdklasse is the second-highest league of amateur football in the Netherlands, and the fifth tier in general.
The Dutch football league system consists of two fully professional leagues and eight levels of amateur football leagues, the highest of which is called Tweede Divisie, formerly Topklasse. All the leagues are connected by a promotion and relegation system, but in order to be promoted to the Eerste Divisie a club has to submit a solid business plan to be approved by the Royal Dutch Football Association, as well as meet certain stadium demands, and some other demands that the association stated for all the teams in the top two leagues. That way it was possible that the IJsselmeervogels won the 2010–11 Topklasse, but was not promoted, because they did not want to be bound to these demands. FC Oss was promoted instead. The association obliges every team from the two fully professional leagues to contract 16 players full-time, in order to keep these leagues fully professional. In 2016 Tweede Divisie was reintroduced as the top amateur level and placed between the Eerste Divisie and the Derde Divisie.
The Tweede Divisie is the highest amateur football league in the Netherlands. It was established in 1956, together with the Eredivisie and the Eerste Divisie. Between 1956 and 1960 and between 1962 and 1966, the league consisted of two divisions, Tweede Divisie A and Tweede Divisie B. The league was disbanded in 1971. Six clubs were promoted to the Eerste Divisie, while the other eleven teams became amateur clubs.
HHC Hardenberg is a football club from Hardenberg, Netherlands. The club is currently playing in the Tweede Divisie.
Be Quick 1887 is a football club from Groningen, Netherlands. The club was established in 1887, and is currently playing in the Derde Divisie.
Achilles '29 is a football club from Groesbeek, Netherlands, competing in the fifth-tier Hoofdklasse.
Kozakken Boys is a football club based in Werkendam, North Brabant, Netherlands, which competes in Tweede Divisie, the third tier of Dutch football.
RKSV Groene Ster is a Dutch football club based in Heerlerheide. The club play its home games at Pronsebroek. The club colours, reflected in their crest, kit and name, are green and white. Formed on 2 November 1926, the club have mostly played in the lower tiers of Dutch football, but reached the final of the nationwide KNVB Cup in 1943–44, where they however lost to with a record 9–1 score to winners Willem II. This result still stands as the biggest defeat in a KNVB Cup final. The club are currently playing in the Derde Divisie.
AFC Ajax Amateurs or Ajax Zaterdag is a Dutch amateur football club and the amateur team of the professional club AFC Ajax from Amsterdam. They compete in the Derde Divisie since 2019–20, playing their home matches at the Sportpark De Toekomst training grounds.
The 2015–16 Topklasse season was the sixth and last edition of the Dutch third tier since its inauguration in the current form in 2010. A total 32 teams participated in the league: 25 from the 2014–15 Topklasse, and the remaining seven from the 2014–15 Hoofdklasse. As usual, the competition was divided into two leagues: "Saturday" and "Sunday", who differed by the day their games were usually played.
The 2016–17 Tweede Divisie season was the first edition of the Dutch third tier since its initial dissolution from the 1970-71 season and the fifteenth overall using "Tweede Divisie" name. Fourteen teams were completed from the Topklasse Saturday and Sunday divisions. Seven highest-placed teams of each division earned promotion to constitute a new, amateur Tweede Divisie. This change in the league system was approved in a KNVB assembly in December 2014. Thus, the Topklasse and leagues below it decremented by one level, and furthermore, promotion and relegation between the Tweede Divisie and the Topklasse were implemented.
The 2016–17 Derde Divisie season is the first edition of the new Dutch fourth tier, formerly called Topklasse, since the restructuring of the league system in the summer of 2016.
The 2019–20 Eerste Klasse season was a season of the Eerste Klasse.
The 2019–20 Derde Divisie season was the fourth edition of the Dutch fourth tier, formerly called Topklasse, since the restructuring of the league system in the summer of 2016.
The 2019–20 Tweede Divisie season was the fourth edition of the Dutch third tier since on hiatus from 1970-71 season and the 19th edition using Tweede Divisie name. Thirteen teams competed from the last season along with five promoted teams from the Derde Divisie.
The 2020–21 Tweede Divisie season was the fifth edition of the Dutch third tier since on hiatus from 1970-71 season and the 20th edition using Tweede Divisie name.
The 2020–21 Derde Divisie season was the fifth edition of the Dutch fourth tier, formerly called Topklasse, since the restructuring of the league system in the summer of 2016.