The Dutch football league consists of two professional leagues and seven levels of amateur football leagues, the highest of which is called Hoofdklasse
. While they are largely interconnected
by way of relegations and promotions, it is not possible to be relegated to the Hoofdklasse from the second professional league. In order for an amateur club to be promoted to the professional leagues, it has to apply for this after winning the amateur championship.
In the season 2008/2009 there will be a change, the club which ends on the last place in the Jupiler League will relegate. The Algeheel amateurkampioen
: Overall amateur champion
) will promote to the Dutch second division.
Until 1971, when it was discontinued, a Tweede Divisie (English: Second Division) also existed.
The highest league is called Hoofdklasse
, which is then followed by six numbered amateur leagues. Reserve teams do not participate in these leagues, as they have leagues of their own.
- The highest amateur league is called Hoofdklasse (English: Main Class). It is divided into three divisions each of Saturday and Sunday clubs, with 14 clubs in each division. The Saturday league champion and the Sunday league champion compete for the title of amateur champion.
- The next amateur league is called Eerste klasse (English: First Class), with five Saturday league divisions and six Sunday league divisions, with 12 clubs each.
- Tweede klasse (English: Second Class), with ten Saturday league divisions and twelve Sunday league divisions, with 12 clubs each.
- The next level, Derde klasse (English: Third Class), is additionally divided into regional groups. The Saturday league is divided into five regional groups with four divisions each, and the Sunday league is divided into six regional groups, again with four divisions each. Each division has between 11 and 14 clubs.
- In the Vierde klasse (English: Fourth Class), the same regional groups from the Derde klasse are kept, although now the number of divisions varies from four to eight. Again, each division contains between 11 and 14 clubs.
- In the Vijfde klasse (English: Fifth Class), the Saturday league is divided into three regional groups and the Sunday league into the same six regions. The number of divisions varies from three to eleven, with each division having between 11 and 14 clubs.
- The lowest amateur league, Zesde klasse (English: Sixth Class), has no regional groupings for the Saturday league, but four for the Sunday league. The number of divisions is between three and seven, with 10 to 14 clubs participating in each division.