The "Derby der Lage Landen"


Introduction
Official Matches
Overviews
Unofficial Matches

Introduction

The Low Countries derby between Belgium and the Netherlands has a long tradition, having been played 125 times (not including 7 unofficial meetings); only Austria/Hungary (136 matches) and Argentina/Uruguay (201, of which between 169 and 180 may be considered official, depending on the definition) have played each other more often.
Belgium were the first ever opponents of the Netherlands, if not vice versa (Belgium had played France a year before meeting the Netherlands) and the two neighbours traditionally met twice a year (both hosting once) until the early sixties. Until 1925, matches in Belgium were played for the Coupe Vanden Abeele (also known as het koperen dingetje, "the little thing of copper"), which explains why extra time was played on three occasions. This trophy was offered by Frédéric Vanden Abeele, father of the secretary general of Beerschot (also called Frédéric), in reaction to the successful staging by Léopold Club (Brussels) of the Coupe Van der Straeten Ponthoz one year earlier. It was first played for on 28 April 1901, between "Belgium" and the "Van Hasselt XI", the first a selection of players from the Belgian league and the second a Rotterdam XI consisting of second class players, mostly from Celeritas, with "Belgium" winning 8-0 thanks to 7 goals by Herbert Potts and one by his brother Walter, both Englishmen playing for Beerschot. The Vanden Abeele family withdrew the trophy in 1926 after the Belgian FA had decided to move the match against the Netherlands from Het Kiel, the Beerschot ground, to the Bosuil stadium of hated local rivals Antwerp FC (a stadium which later earned the nickname Hel van Deurne ("Deurne Hell") in the Netherlands).
After the sixties, the traditional importance of the derby rapidly diminished with the advent of (semi)professional football in both countries, but in the last three decades of the twentieth century Oranje and the Rode Duivels regularly met in competitive matches, with the Netherlands having the better of the exchanges in the seventies and the nineties and Belgium in the eighties.

More than a century of rivalry with way over 100 matches has resulted in many memories and legendary matches. We just pick out eleven of the most spectacular or important matches.
In the first match on April 30, 1905, Eddy de Neve scores the first goal after 80 minutes, but Belgium equalises 6 minutes later thanks to an own goal by Ben Stom (who would play each of the first nine international matches of the Netherlands, the only player to do so). Because of the cup on offer, extra time is played, and Eddy de Neve manages to score 3 more goals within fifteen minutes, becoming the first Dutch topscorer.
The twelfth match on April 10, 1910 sees the Netherlands establishing a record win for the fixture, 7-0 thanks to 3 goals by Mannes Francken and 2 each by Caius Welcker and Jan Thomée. But the topic of the day are the Hörburger twins Arnold and Anton. Arnold had started the match, Anton was the only reserve, but substitutions during the match were not allowed at the time. Arnold hurt his knee after half an hour, and stops playing. After the break, he is back, fitter than ever, and the Belgians (and most others) are convinced Anton has entered the field. As the half-time score had been 4-0 already, it cannot have affected the result of the match by much.
The thirty-first match on May 2, 1926, sees Belgium winning 5-1 in Amsterdam, their highest ever away win in the fixture (equal to the highest ever Dutch away win, on March 19, 1911). It is the match of Beerschot star Raymond Braine, who scores two himself; Belgium score 4 goals in the third quarter of the match, which had been tied 1-1 at half-time. Braine would later become professional at Sparta Praha, playing three finals for the Mitropa Cup, winning one (in 1935). He captained the European selection playing England at Wembley on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the FA, and was by far the best Belgian football player (and indeed of the Low Countries) before the second World War (and of all Belgian players since, only Paul Van Himst may challenge the title).
The forty-seventh match on March 11, 1934, sees Belgium take the lead in the very first minute in Amsterdam. Then, after a quarter of an hour, Bep Bakhuys equalises with an iconic goal that entered into Dutch footballing legend, jumping forward, just above ground level, to meet a cross by Wels. Such a zweefkopbal ("floating header") becomes known as a goal à la Bakhuys. After that goal, the floodgates open: Kick Smit scores two, Bakhuys one more, and Leen Vente no fewer than 5, for a 9-3 win. Seven of the nine goals (those by Vente and Bakhuys) are scored by players active at the second class club level in the Netherlands.
The fifty-ninth match, on March 17, 1940, sees Belgium chalk up their record win in the fixture, a 7-1 trashing mostly thanks to a hat-trick by 19-year-old Jules Van Craen. This great talent, who replaced the aging Raymond Braine, dominated Belgian football during the war, winning the league with Lierse in 1942 (after unofficial titles in the previous two seasons) and becoming Belgian topscorer with 43 goals in the next season (in which Lierse finished third). He tragically died in October 1945, just 25 years of age, following two unsuccessful operations necessitated by a kick in the stomach during a league match against Tilleur.
The seventy-third match sets a record for goals in the fixture, with Belgium winning 7-6 on November 25, 1951 in Rotterdam. The match is notable for two other things: Jan de Cler writes a lengthy poem relating the match, with the refrain Hup Holland Hup, still sung at matches of the Dutch national team, and a tragic injury of Dutch left back Henk Schijvenaar, who broke his leg after a sliding on Jef Mermans (who at the same time gave the assist to Verbruggen scoring 3-4). This happened just after the break, and as substitutions for injured players were only allowed during the first half, the Dutch played the second half with 10 players.
The eighty-ninth match on October 4, 1959 is probably the most one-sided ever. In the Feijemoord ("murder at Feijenoord stadium"), both Faas Wilkes (one week short of his 36th birthday but man of the match) and Piet van der Kuil score three goals, and the score reaches 9-0 in the 84th minute. The stadium starts shouting for 10 (behaviour condemned by sanctimonious newspapers the next day) but instead the 10th goal of the day is scored by Belgian sub Delire, 3 minutes before the end of the match. It is the third match in Dutch history in which the Netherlands score 9 goals (one more followed, a 9-0 over Norway in 1972) but it will take the Netherlands still more than half a century before managing to score ten in one match (on September 2, 2011, San Marino are beaten 11-0 in Eindhoven). The match is the last international appearance for Belgian enfant terrible and Beerschot icon Rik Coppens, whose way of leaving the field (arm-in-arm with Faas Wilkes, laughing) is not appreciated by Belgian FA officials.
The hundred-fourth derby is played on November 18, 1973, and crucial for qualification for the 1974 World Cup. The first match between the two rivals, one year before, had finished a drab and ill-tempered 0-0 draw in Antwerp, and both teams have beaten the other two group rivals, Iceland and Norway, twice, Belgium with an aggregate score of 12-0 over 4 matches, the Netherlands with 24-2. As goal difference (rather than goal average) is the tie-breaker, the Dutch team only need a draw at home, but concede a goal by Verheyen shortly before the end of the match, after a free kick by Van Himst. However, the Soviet linesman has flagged off-side, a marginal and controversial decision, and the referee follows his advice: the score remains 0-0 and the Belgian side coached by Raymond Goethals (later involved in bribery scandals in two different countries) is eliminated without conceding a goal in qualifying - tellingly illustrative of Goethals' catenaccio vision on football.
The hundred-sixth derby on April 25, 1976, is another competitive match, the first leg of the quarterfinals of the European Championship (at the time, the final tournament involved only four countries). The Netherlands have qualified for this stage by winning a qualifying group containing Poland (third at the 1974 World Cup, where the Netherlands lost the final to the hosts) and Italy (fourth at the 1978 World Cup, where the Netherlands again lost the final to the hosts), probably the strongest ever European qualifying group for any major tournament; Belgium have eliminated France and East Germany at the group stage. It is the match of Rob Rensenbrink, who plays at Belgian top side Anderlecht. By the time of the match, the Dutch outside left had played for more than 5 years in the Belgian league, so Belgian defenders should know him, but het Slangenmens ("snake man") eludes them time and again, scoring 3 goals in a 5-0 win which secures Dutch qualification even before the away match (which Oranje would win 2-1 four weeks later). In 2007, Rensenbrink was chosen as the best foreigner ever to grace the Belgian league.
After the Netherlands had eliminated Belgium in three consecutive qualifying tournaments in the 1970s (those for the 1974 and 1978 World Cup and in the quarter-finals for the 1976 European championship), Belgium had gotten the better of the northerners in qualifying for the 1982 World Cup (Belgium winning the qualifying group with a match to spare while the Netherlands lost out on the second qualifying place against Platini's France). For the 1986 World Cup, the two neighbours met for the fourth consecutive World Cup qualifying tournament in spite of having been drawn in different groups. Belgium had finished runners-up in their group behind Poland, the Netherlands had been second behind Hungary in their group. Whereas the third runners-up in a four team group (Scotland) got an easy ride to Mexico by having to face Australia in a playoff, Belgium and the Netherlands had to play each other. Belgium had won the ill-tempered first match 1-0 (Kieft having been sent off after 3 minutes after some pitiful show-acting by Vercauteren) but on November 20, 1985, in the hundred-fifteenth derby, the Netherlands take a 2-0 lead in the second half of the return (albeit much against the run of play). With just 5 minutes left, Gerets crosses and Georges Grün heads the ball: 2-1, the most devastating "win" ever for the Netherlands. In Mexico, Belgium will eliminate the Soviet Union and Spain before falling to Maradona's Argentina in the semifinal.
The hundred-twenty-first derby is played on September 4, 1999, a friendly match in anticipation of the 2000 European championship, jointly organised by Belgium and the Netherlands. Both teams are at a low ebb: the Netherlands have failed to win any of their previous eight matches, and Belgium are fresh from a 3-4 home loss against Finland; their other results in 1999 had mostly been 0-1 losses against equally unimpressive opponents such as Egypt and Greece. The match seems to take the derby back by half a century or more: both teams twice take the lead (Belgium 0-2 and 3-4, the Netherlands 3-2 and 5-4) before settling for a 10-goal draw. It is the highest ever scoring draw for both countries (the Netherlands had played a 5-5 against Germany back in 1912, Belgium had never drawn higher than 4 all), with Patrick Kluivert scoring a hat-trick for the Netherlands and Croatian-born Branko Strupar leading Belgium with two goals in the first half hour.


Official Matches

All matches listed are friendlies unless otherwise stated.

Game Date        Venue      Result                      Remark

  1. 30- 4-1905  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-4 Netherlands [aet]
  2. 14- 5-1905  Rotterdam  Netherlands 4-0 Belgium    
  3. 29- 4-1906  Antwerpen  Belgium     5-0 Netherlands
  4. 13- 5-1906  Rotterdam  Netherlands 2-3 Belgium    
  5. 14- 4-1907  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-3 Netherlands [aet]
  6.  9- 5-1907  Haarlem    Netherlands 1-2 Belgium    
  7. 29- 3-1908  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-4 Netherlands
  8. 26- 4-1908  Rotterdam  Netherlands 3-1 Belgium    
  9. 21- 3-1909  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-4 Netherlands
 10. 25- 4-1909  Rotterdam  Netherlands 4-1 Belgium    
 11. 13- 3-1910  Antwerpen  Belgium     3-2 Netherlands [aet]
 12. 10- 4-1910  Haarlem    Netherlands 7-0 Belgium    
 13. 19- 3-1911  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-5 Netherlands
 14.  2- 4-1911  Dordrecht  Netherlands 3-1 Belgium    
 15. 10- 3-1912  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-2 Netherlands
 16. 28- 4-1912  Dordrecht  Netherlands 4-3 Belgium    
 17.  9- 3-1913  Antwerpen  Belgium     3-3 Netherlands
 18. 20- 4-1913  Zwolle     Netherlands 2-4 Belgium    
 19. 15- 3-1914  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-4 Netherlands
 20. 26- 4-1914  Amsterdam  Netherlands 4-2 Belgium    
 21. 31- 8-1920  Antwerpen  Belgium     3-0 Netherlands [Olympic Games]
 22. 15- 5-1921  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-1 Netherlands
 23. 26- 3-1922  Antwerpen  Belgium     4-0 Netherlands
 24.  7- 5-1922  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-2 Belgium    
 25. 29- 4-1923  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-1 Belgium    
 26. 23- 3-1924  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-1 Belgium    
 27. 27- 4-1924  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-1 Netherlands
 28. 15- 3-1925  Antwerpen  Belgium     0-1 Netherlands
 29.  3- 5-1925  Amsterdam  Netherlands 5-0 Belgium    
 30. 14- 3-1926  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-1 Netherlands
 31.  2- 5-1926  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-5 Belgium    
 32. 13- 3-1927  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-0 Netherlands
 33.  1- 5-1927  Amsterdam  Netherlands 3-2 Belgium    
 34. 11- 3-1928  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-1 Belgium    
 35.  1- 4-1928  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-0 Netherlands
 36.  5- 6-1928  Rotterdam  Netherlands 3-1 Belgium     [Olympic Games]
 37.  4-11-1928  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-1 Belgium    
 38.  5- 5-1929  Antwerpen  Belgium     3-1 Netherlands
 39.  4- 5-1930  Amsterdam  Netherlands 2-2 Belgium    
 40. 18- 5-1930  Antwerpen  Belgium     3-1 Netherlands
 41. 29- 3-1931  Amsterdam  Netherlands 3-2 Belgium    
 42.  3- 5-1931  Antwerpen  Belgium     4-2 Netherlands
 43. 20- 3-1932  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-4 Netherlands
 44. 17- 4-1932  Amsterdam  Netherlands 2-1 Belgium    
 45.  9- 4-1933  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-3 Netherlands
 46.  7- 5-1933  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-2 Belgium    
 47. 11- 3-1934  Amsterdam  Netherlands 9-3 Belgium    
 48. 29- 4-1934  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-4 Netherlands [World Cup Qualifier]
 49. 31- 3-1935  Amsterdam  Netherlands 4-2 Belgium    
 50. 12- 5-1935  Brussel    Belgium     0-2 Netherlands
 51. 29- 3-1936  Amsterdam  Netherlands 8-0 Belgium    
 52.  3- 5-1936  Brussel    Belgium     1-1 Netherlands
 53.  4- 4-1937  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-1 Netherlands
 54.  2- 5-1937  Rotterdam  Netherlands 1-0 Belgium    
 55. 27- 2-1938  Rotterdam  Netherlands 7-2 Belgium    
 56.  3- 4-1938  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-1 Netherlands [World Cup Qualifier]
 57. 19- 3-1939  Antwerpen  Belgium     5-4 Netherlands
 58. 23- 4-1939  Amsterdam  Netherlands 3-2 Belgium    
 59. 17- 3-1940  Antwerpen  Belgium     7-1 Netherlands
 60. 21- 4-1940  Amsterdam  Netherlands 4-2 Belgium    
 61. 12- 5-1946  Amsterdam  Netherlands 6-3 Belgium    
 62. 30- 5-1946  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-2 Netherlands
 63.  7- 4-1947  Amsterdam  Netherlands 2-1 Belgium    
 64.  9- 5-1947  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-2 Netherlands
 65. 14- 3-1948  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-1 Netherlands
 66. 18- 4-1948  Rotterdam  Netherlands 2-2 Belgium    
 67. 21-11-1948  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-1 Netherlands
 68. 13- 3-1949  Amsterdam  Netherlands 3-3 Belgium    
 69.  6-11-1949  Rotterdam  Netherlands 0-1 Belgium    
 70. 16- 4-1950  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-0 Netherlands
 71. 12-11-1950  Antwerpen  Belgium     7-2 Netherlands
 72. 15- 4-1951  Amsterdam  Netherlands 5-4 Belgium    
 73. 25-11-1951  Rotterdam  Netherlands 6-7 Belgium    
 74.  6- 4-1952  Antwerpen  Belgium     4-2 Netherlands
 75. 19-10-1952  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-1 Netherlands
 76. 19- 4-1953  Amsterdam  Netherlands 0-2 Belgium    
 77. 25-11-1953  Rotterdam  Netherlands 1-0 Belgium    
 78.  4- 4-1954  Antwerpen  Belgium     4-0 Netherlands
 79. 24-10-1954  Antwerpen  Belgium     4-3 Netherlands
 80.  3- 4-1955  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-0 Belgium    
 81. 16-10-1955  Rotterdam  Netherlands 2-2 Belgium    
 82.  8- 4-1956  Antwerpen  Belgium     0-1 Netherlands
 83. 14-10-1956  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-3 Netherlands
 84. 28- 4-1957  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-1 Belgium    
 85. 17-11-1957  Rotterdam  Netherlands 5-2 Belgium    
 86. 13- 4-1958  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-7 Netherlands
 87. 28- 9-1958  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-3 Netherlands
 88. 19- 4-1959  Amsterdam  Netherlands 2-2 Belgium    
 89.  4-10-1959  Rotterdam  Netherlands 9-1 Belgium    
 90. 24- 4-1960  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-1 Netherlands
 91.  2-10-1960  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-4 Netherlands
 92. 22- 3-1961  Rotterdam  Netherlands 6-2 Belgium    
 93. 12-11-1961  Amsterdam  Netherlands 0-4 Belgium    
 94.  1- 4-1962  Antwerpen  Belgium     3-1 Netherlands
 95. 14-10-1962  Antwerpen  Belgium     2-0 Netherlands
 96.  3- 3-1963  Rotterdam  Netherlands 0-1 Belgium    
 97. 20-11-1963  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-1 Belgium    
 98. 22- 3-1964  Antwerpen  Belgium     0-0 Netherlands
 99. 30- 9-1964  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-0 Netherlands
100. 17- 4-1966  Rotterdam  Netherlands 3-1 Belgium    
101. 16- 4-1967  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-0 Netherlands
102.  7- 4-1968  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-2 Belgium    
103. 19-11-1972  Antwerpen  Belgium     0-0 Netherlands [World Cup Qualifier]
104. 18-11-1973  Amsterdam  Netherlands 0-0 Belgium     [World Cup Qualifier]
105. 30- 4-1975  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-0 Netherlands
106. 25- 4-1976  Rotterdam  Netherlands 5-0 Belgium     [European Champ QF]
107. 22- 5-1976  Brussel    Belgium     1-2 Netherlands [European Champ QF]
108. 26- 3-1977  Antwerpen  Belgium     0-2 Netherlands [World Cup Qualifier]
109. 26-10-1977  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-0 Belgium     [World Cup Qualifier]
110. 26- 9-1979  Rotterdam  Netherlands 1-0 Belgium    
111. 19-11-1980  Brussel    Belgium     1-0 Netherlands [World Cup Qualifier]
112. 14-10-1981  Rotterdam  Netherlands 3-0 Belgium     [World Cup Qualifier]
113. 21- 9-1983  Brussel    Belgium     1-1 Netherlands
114. 16-10-1985  Brussel    Belgium     1-0 Netherlands [World Cup Qualifier]
115. 20-11-1985  Rotterdam  Netherlands 2-1 Belgium     [World Cup Qualifier]
116.  9- 9-1987  Rotterdam  Netherlands 0-0 Belgium    
117. 25- 6-1994  Orlando    Netherlands 0-1 Belgium     [World Cup] 
118. 14-12-1996  Brussel    Belgium     0-3 Netherlands [World Cup Qualifier]
119.  6- 9-1997  Rotterdam  Netherlands 3-1 Belgium     [World Cup Qualifier]
120. 13- 6-1998  St-Denis   Netherlands 0-0 Belgium     [World Cup]
121.  4- 9-1999  Rotterdam  Netherlands 5-5 Belgium
122. 29- 3-2000  Brussel    Belgium     2-2 Netherlands
123. 20- 8-2003  Brussel    Belgium     1-1 Netherlands
124. 29- 5-2004  Eindhoven  Netherlands 0-1 Belgium
125. 15- 8-2012  Brussel    Belgium     4-2 Netherlands

Overviews

Total record:

Netherlands         125 55 29 41 278-218 139
Belgium             125 41 29 55 218-278 111 

Some more stats:

                     Pd  B  D  N  BG- NG

In Belgium:          62 27 14 21 118-107         
     Antwerpen                            52 24 10 18 106- 93
     Brussel                              10  3  4  3  12- 14
In the Netherlands:  61 13 14 34  99-171
     Amsterdam                            31  6 10 15  54- 77
     Rotterdam                            24  4  4 16  34- 77
     elsewhere                             6  3  0  3  11- 17
Elsewhere:            2  1  1  0   1- 0


                     Pd  B  D  N  BG- NG

prebellum            20  5  1 14  36- 65
     1905-1914                            20  5  1 14  36- 65
interbellum          40 13 10 17  75- 90
     1920-1930                            20  8  8  4  35- 25
     1931-1940                            20  5  2 13  40- 65
postbellum           64 22 18 24 106-123
     1946-1955                            21  9  6  6  53- 42
     1956-1965                            18  6  4  8  29- 44
     1966-1975                             6  3  2  1   5-  4 
     1976-1985                            10  2  1  7   5- 17
     1986-1995                             2  1  1  0   1-  0
     1996-2005                             7  1  4  2  10- 14
     2006-2015                             1  1  0  0   4-  2

Unofficial Matches

In addition to the 125 official derby matches above, 7 more matches were played between the full international sides of Belgium and the Netherlands between 1925 and 1939, but these were not declared official because of being played for specific occasions and not being part of the annual home-and-away series.


Game Date        Venue      Result                      Remark

U 1.  6- 9-1925  Antwerpen  Belgium     1-1 Netherlands [FIFA fundraiser]
U 2. 29- 8-1926  Rotterdam  Netherlands 1-5 Belgium     [charity]
U 3.  8-12-1929  Amsterdam  Netherlands 1-0 Belgium     [40-year anniversary NVB]
U 4. 14- 9-1930  Brussel    Belgium     4-1 Netherlands [opening Heysel stadium]
U 5. 14- 2-1932  Amsterdam  Netherlands 2-3 Belgium     [FIFA fundraiser]
U 6. 16-10-1932  Brussel    Belgium     2-3 Netherlands [charity]
U 7. 10-12-1939  Rotterdam  Netherlands 5-2 Belgium     [50-year anniversary KNVB]


Total unofficial record:

Netherlands           7  3  1  3  14- 17   7
Belgium               7  3  1  3  17- 14   7 

Some more stats:

                     Pd  B  D  N  BG- NG

In Belgium:           3  1  1  1   7-  5 
     Antwerpen                             1  0  1  0   1-  1 
     Brussel                               2  1  0  1   6-  4
In the Netherlands:   4  2  0  2  10-  9
     Amsterdam                             2  1  0  1   3-  3
     Rotterdam                             2  1  0  1   7-  6



Belgium - List of International Matches
Netherlands - List of International Matches


About this document

Sources include: [VeW 00], [Ver 01], [Ver 02], [Ver 03], [Ver 04], [VeV 05], [VeV 06], [VeV 07], [VeV 08], [VeV 09]

Thanks to Roberto Di Maggio

Prepared and maintained by Karel Stokkermans for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation

Author: Karel Stokkermans
Last updated: 6 Mar 2014

(C) Copyright Karel Stokkermans and RSSSF 1996/2014
You are free to copy this document in whole or part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the author. All rights reserved.