Only in 1956/57 a unified national league, called "eredivisie", was installed in the Netherlands, two years after professionalism had been introduced. Originally two levels of professional football existed below the eredivisie, the "eerste divisie" (which literally translates as "first division") and "tweede divisie" (second division). Both were sometimes played in one, sometimes in two groups.
At the end of the 1970/71 season, the second division was abolished after it had been found that too many teams had been allowed to turn professional in the fifties. Over the years, several had voluntarily returned to the amateur leagues, some had been relegated, and on two occasions teams had been promoted as amateur champions to the professional section (Xerxes and Velox). In 1970/71 many of the remaining small clubs, which were deemed incapable of sustaining in professional football, were forced to return to the amateurs and only two divisions (eredivisie and eerste divisie) of professional football remained, both played in one group. Since then, the number of professional teams has varied from 34 to 41, teams occasionally going bust or (from the eighties) being admitted to professional football when meeting certain criteria (R.B.C., R.K.C., Emmen, T.O.P. and V.C. Vlissingen - the last team folding after two unsuccessful seasons).
In 1972/73 a special promotion regulation was introduced: teams that had been the best in an (usually) eight game "period" were allowed to fight for (usually) one promotion place in an end-of-the-season playoff called "nacompetitie".
Below all the group winners of the Eerste and Tweede Divisie since 1956/57 are listed. From 1972/73 onwards, winners of the nacompetitie (obtaining promotion) are listed as well.
1956/57 A.D.O. and Blauw Wit 1957/58 Willem II and S.H.S. 1958/59 Volendam and Sittardia 1959/60 G.V.A.V. and Alkmaar 1960/61 Volendam and Blauw Wit 1961/62 Heracles and Fortuna Vlaardingen  1962/63 D.W.S. 1963/64 Sittardia 1964/65 Willem II 1965/66 Sittardia 1966/67 Volendam 1967/68 Holland Sport 1968/69 S.V.V. 1969/70 Volendam 1970/71 F.C. Den Bosch Nacompetitie Winners 1971/72 Haarlem 1972/73 Roda J.C. De Graafschap 1973/74 Excelsior Wageningen 1974/75 N.E.C. Eindhoven 1975/76 Haarlem F.C. V.V.V. 1976/77 Vitesse Volendam 1977/78 P.E.C. Zwolle M.V.V. 1978/79 Excelsior Willem II 1979/80 F.C. Groningen Wageningen 1980/81 Haarlem De Graafschap 1981/82 Helmond Sport Excelsior 1982/83 D.S. '79 F.C. Den Bosch 1983/84 M.V.V. N.A.C. 1984/85 Heracles N.E.C. 1985/86 F.C. Den Haag Veendam 1986/87 Volendam D.S. '79 1987/88 R.K.C. M.V.V. 1988/89 Vitesse N.E.C. 1989/90 S.V.V. Heerenveen 1990/91 De Graafschap V.V.V. 1991/92 Cambuur Leeuwarden B.V.V. Den Bosch  1992/93 V.V.V. Heerenveen and N.A.C.  1993/94 Dordrecht '90 N.E.C. and R.K.C.  1994/95 Fortuna Sittard De Graafschap and Go Ahead Eagles  1995/96 A.Z. Volendam and N.E.C.  1996/97 M.V.V. R.K.C. and N.E.C.  1997/98 A.Z. R.K.C. and Cambuur Leeuwarden  1998/99 F.C. Den Bosch R.K.C. and Sparta  1999/00 N.A.C. F.C. Groningen and R.B.C. Roosendaal  2000/01 F.C. Den Bosch Fortuna Sittard and Sparta  2001/02 F.C. Zwolle R.B.C. Roosendaal and Excelsior  2002/03 A.D.O. Den Haag F.C. Zwolle and Volendam  2003/04 F.C. Den Bosch Vitesse and De Graafschap  2004/05 Heracles Almelo R.B.C. Roosendaal and Sparta Rotterdam  2005/06 Excelsior N.A.C. Breda and Willem II  2006/07 De Graafschap Excelsior and V.V.V.-Venlo  2007/08 F.C. Volendam De Graafschap and A.D.O. Den Haag  2008/09 V.V.V.-Venlo Roda J.C. and R.K.C. Waalwĳk  2009/10 De Graafschap Willem II and Excelsior  2010/11 R.K.C. Waalwĳk Excelsior and V.V.V.-Venlo  2011/12 F.C. Zwolle V.V.V.-Venlo and Willem II  2012/13 S.C. Cambuur (Leeuwarden) Roda J.C. and Go Ahead Eagles  2013/14 Willem II F.C. Dordrecht and Excelsior  2014/15 N.E.C. Roda J.C. and De Graafschap  2015/16 Sparta Rotterdam Willem II and Go Ahead Eagles  2016/17 V.V.V.-Venlo Roda J.C. and N.A.C. Breda  2017/18 Jong Ajax (Fortuna Sittard) [!] Emmen and De Graafschap  Heracles and Fortuna Vlaardingen played a decisive match for promotion, won by Heracles. Fortuna remained in the eerste divisie. They are therefore not counted as "Eerste Divisie" Champions in the following list. In other years, no matches between group winners were played to decide the championship or promotion.  From 1991/92 on, the nacompetitie was played in two groups. In 1991/92, the second group was won by Go Ahead Eagles who then lost the promotion playoff against Den Bosch. (They obtained promotion nonetheless by beating eredivisie side F.C. Den Haag.)  From 1992/93 on, eredivisie sides finishing just above the automatic relegation spot had to fight for their survival in a nacompetitie group. Since 2006/07, the group system was replaced by a knock-out format. Teams given in italics were eredivisie sides who managed to retain their place in the nacompetitie. [!] Jong Ajax won the league but were ineligible for promotion, so Fortuna Sittard were promoted automatically as runners-up.
6 F.C. Volendam [includes Volendam] 4 F.C. Den Bosch 3 A.D.O. Den Haag [includes A.D.O. (Den Haag) and F.C. Den Haag] 3 A.Z. (Alkmaar) [includes Alkmaar] 3 Excelsior (Rotterdam) 3 De Graafschap (Doetinchem) 3 Haarlem 3 Heracles Almelo [includes Heracles (Almelo)] 3 Sittardia (Sittard) 3 V.V.V.-Venlo [includes V.V.V. (Venlo)] 3 Willem II (Tilburg) 3 F.C. Zwolle [includes P.E.C. Zwolle] 2 Blauw Wit (Amsterdam) 2 S.C. Cambuur (Leeuwarden) [includes Cambuur Leeuwarden] 2 F.C. Groningen (includes G.V.A.V. (Groningen)] 2 Holland Sport (Den Haag) [includes S.H.S. (Den Haag)] 2 M.V.V. (Maastricht) 2 N.E.C. (Nĳmegen) 2 R.K.C. Waalwĳk [includes R.K.C. (Waalwĳk)] 2 S.V.V. (Schiedam) 2 Vitesse (Arnhem) 1 Dordrecht '90 [**] 1 D.S. '79 (Dordrecht) 1 D.W.S. (Amsterdam) 1 Fortuna Sittard 1 Helmond Sport 1 Jong Ajax (Amsterdam) 1 N.A.C. (Breda) 1 Roda J.C. (Kerkrade) 1 Sparta Rotterdam [**] Technically Dordrecht '90 should be considered the successor of S.V.V., as they took over their (eredivisie) license when S.V.V. and D.S. '79 merged. However, they play at the former D.S. '79 ground. They are therefore listed as an independent entity.
7 De Graafschap (Doetinchem) [1 time as first level team] 6 Excelsior (Rotterdam) [2 times as first level team] 5 N.E.C. (Nĳmegen) [2 times as first level team] 5 R.K.C. Waalwĳk [4 times as first level team] [includes R.K.C. (Waalwĳk)] 5 V.V.V.-Venlo [2 times as first level team] [includes (F.C.) V.V.V. (Venlo)] 5 Willem II (Tilburg) [3 times as first level team] 4 N.A.C. Breda [1 time as first level team] 4 Roda J.C. (Kerkrade) [3 times as first level team] 3 Go Ahead Eagles (Deventer) [1 time as first level team] 3 R.B.C. Roosendaal [1 time as first level team] 3 Sparta Rotterdam [2 times as first level team] 3 Volendam [1 time as first level team] 2 F.C. Den Bosch [includes B.V.V. Den Bosch] 2 Heerenveen 2 M.V.V. (Maastricht) 2 Wageningen 1 A.D.O. Den Haag 1 Cambuur Leeuwarden 1 F.C. Dordrecht 1 D.S. '79 (Dordrecht) 1 Eindhoven 1 Emmen 1 Fortuna Sittard [as first level team] 1 F.C. Groningen 1 Veendam 1 Vitesse (Arnhem) [as first level team] 1 F.C. Zwolle [as first level team]
1956/57 Leeuwarden and R.B.C. 1957/58 Z.F.C. and Heracles 1958/59 't Gooi and Go Ahead 1959/60 E.D.O. and Be Quick 1960/61 Haarlem 1961/62 Velox 1962/63 V.S.V. and Haarlem [*] 1963/64 N.E.C. and Alkmaar [**] 1964/65 S.C. Cambuur and D.F.C. [***] 1965/66 Vitesse and F.C. Den Bosch 1966/67 Haarlem 1967/68 Wageningen 1968/69 De Graafschap 1969/70 Heerenveen 1970/71 De Volewĳckers [*] Haarlem lost the promotion match against V.S.V. and missed out on promotion in an ensuing playoff. They are therefore not listed as a "Tweede Divisie" Champion below. [**] Alkmaar lost the promotion match against N.E.C. They later gained promotion in a playoff nevertheless, but are not listed as a "Tweede Divisie" Champion below. [***] D.F.C. lost the promotion match against S.C. Cambuur and missed out on promotion. They are not listed as a "Tweede Divisie" Champion below. In all other seasons featuring two groups, no matches were played for promotion or championship between the two winners.
2 S.C. Cambuur (Leeuwarden) [includes Leeuwarden] 2 Haarlem 1 Be Quick (Groningen) 1 F.C. Den Bosch 1 E.D.O. (Haarlem) 1 Go Ahead (Deventer) 1 't Gooi (Hilversum) 1 De Graafschap (Doetinchem) 1 Heerenveen 1 Heracles (Almelo) 1 N.E.C. (Nĳmegen) 1 R.B.C. (Roosendaal) 1 Velox (Utrecht) 1 Vitesse (Arnhem) 1 De Volewĳckers (Amsterdam) 1 V.S.V. (Velsen) 1 Wageningen 1 Z.F.C. (Zaandam)
2010/11 Ĳsselmeervogels (Spakenburg) and F.C. Oss 2011/12 Achilles'29 (Groesbeek) and Spakenburg 2012/13 Katwĳk and Achilles'29 (Groesbeek) 2013/14 Spakenburg and A.F.C. (Amsterdam) 2014/15 FC Lienden and Kozakken Boys (Werkendam) 2015/16 Excelsior Maassluis and FC Lienden
2016/17 Jong A.Z. (Alkmaar)
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Prepared and maintained by Karel Stokkermans for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
Author: Karel Stokkermans
Last updated: 24 May 2018
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