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The new football season is well underway in the Netherlands – so, for those less familiar with Dutch football, here’s a brief overview of the three most famous football clubs in Holland: Ajax, Feijenoord and PSV.
Arguably the most acclaimed Dutch football team of all time, Ajax, which is officially known as the ‘Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax’ or more simply as AFC Ajax, was founded in Amsterdam in 1900. Since then Ajax have consistently played in the Eredivisie (the top footballing division in the Netherlands that’s equivalent to the UK’s Premier Division), finishing as champions an impressive 33 times. Ajax have dazzled with a number of particularly successful spells, including 1965 to 1971, when coach, Rinus Michiels, and celebrated Dutch football player, Johan Cruijff, unleashed ‘totaalvoetbal’ (an especially fluid style of football) for the first time, 1986 to 1987, when Ajax won the European Cup Winners’ Cup, 1991-1996, when renowned Ajax players, such as Dennis Bergkamp, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Edwin van der Sar and Danny Blind swept the team to victory in several European cup tournaments, and the period 2010-2014, when Ajax won the league title four years in a row. The Amsterdam ArenA, the largest football stadium in the Netherlands, has been home to Ajax since 1996, whilst Rotterdam football club, Feijenoord, have remained their traditional rivals.
Rotterdam football club, Feijenoord, was founded in 1908 and has enjoyed numerous successes, including 14 national championships, 11 KNVB Cups, one European Cup (the predecessor to the Champions League), two UEFA Cups and even a world trophy. Indeed, Feijenoord is the only Dutch football team ever to win (in 1970) the Intercontinental Cup – a World Cup for club teams. Feijenoord’s peak years were 1970, 1974 and 1984, and several legendary Dutch players have worn the coveted Feijenoord colours, including Johan Cruyff and Ruud Gullit. Feijenoord’s home ground is Stadion Feijenoord, which is fondly nicknamed ‘De Kuip’ (‘The Tub’) by Dutch football fans.
Philips Sport Vereniging, better known as PSV, was originally established in 1913 as a sports association for employees of the Philips factory in Eindhoven. In the early years the association’s football team participated at varyious levels, but PSV quickly turned professional and from 1926 onwards, played only in the distinguished Eriedivisie. The club’s glory years include the 1970s when players, such as Willy van der Kuijlen and brothers, Willy and René van de Kerkhof, helped PSV net a number of prestigious trophies, including the UEFA Cup, as well as a golden period from 1986 to 1992, when PSV won the European Cup. Although they have yet to triumph in the new millennium, PSV have recently nurtured some of the world’s most talented soccer players, many of whom achieved their career breakthrough at the club, including Romario, Ronaldo, Van Nistelrooy and Cocu.
Tip: Unable to watch Dutch football on TV where you live? Then get your Dutch football fix via the internet, using Live Voetbal Kijken, Sporza and WiZiWiG. Or catch up on all of the latest Dutch football news with the latest edition of Dutch football magazine, Voetbal International .
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, which is specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad.