The new Dutch football season is about to start: here’s the lowdown

Eredivisie logo
Logo: Eredivisie

The start of the new Eredivisie season is almost upon us. Who will be battling for glory? Who will be fighting for survival? Neil Adderley has the lowdown on what teams to look out for in the upcoming Eredivisie season.

The football season is about to kick off but several of this weekend’s matches have already been cancelled because of industrial action by police. Some, such as Ajax – AZ will go ahead with the club’s own security. Others, such as ADO Den Haag – PSV have been postponed.

The picture is still unclear. But in the meantime, here’s a club by club guide to this season’s Eredivisie. In alphabetical order.

ADO Den Haag:

Expectations for ADO were raised last season with the arrival of new owners China United Vansen Sports company.

adoHowever, the club from the Hague, under the tutelage of Henk Fraser, flattered to deceive and finished in a disappointing 13th place in the Eredivisie table.

So far there have been more outs than ins for ADO this summer, and it is clear ADO must hold on to star striker Michiel Kramer if Fraser’s side are to meet the new owners’ wishes of challenging the ‘big three’ in Holland.

With just under a month before the transfer window slams shut, ADO will be fighting to retain the services of top scorer Kramer, who scored 17 goals in 32 games last season.

Transfers In: Édouard Duplan (FC Utrecht), Kenji Gorré (Swansea City, loan), Giovanni Korte (FC Dordrecht) Ludcinio Marengo (FC Volendam), Ruben Schaken (free agent), Sem de Wit (returned from loan).

Transfers Out: Robin Buwalda (VVV-Venlo, loan), Mike van Duinen (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Malcolm Esajas (FC Den Bosch), Richelo Fecunda (released), Ricky van Haaren (Dinamo Bucharest), Ninos Gouriye (released), Papito Merencia (released), Guy Smith (Noordwijk), Wilson Eduardo (returned to Sporting), Mitchell de Vlugt (released), Oleksandr Iakovenko (returned to Fiorentina), Mitchell Schet (released).

Ajax (Amsterdam):

For the first time in four years Frank de Boer’s Ajax will not go into the new Eredivisie season as champions. The Amsterdammers sole aim will be to wrestle back the championship crown from PSV Eindhoven.

ajaxUnlike in recent summers, the quest to win what would be a 34th Eredivisie title, has been boosted by Ajax’ ability to hold on to their most important players.

De Boer has also been busy this window strengthening the core of his team, while the manager will be banking on the return from long-term injury of Viktor Fischer to offset the departure to Lazio of winger Ricardo Kishna.

Transfers in: Mitchell Dijks (Willem II), Lerin Duarte (Heerenveen, return from loan), Nemanja Gudelj (AZ), Mickey van der Haart (Go Ahead Eagles, return from loan), John Heitinga (Hertha BSC), Arek Milik (Bayer Leverkusen), Yaya Sanogo (Arsenal, loan), Amin Younes (Borussia Mönchengladbach).

Transfers out: Sheraldo Becker (PEC Zwolle, loan), Lesley de Sar (Willem II, loan), Ricardo Kishna (Lazio), Niklas Moisander (Sampdoria), Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (FC Nantes), Niki Zimling (returned to FSV Mainz), Richairo Zivkovic (Willem II, loan).

AZ Alkmaar:

A storming finish to the season combined with a capitulation of form from Feyenoord saw AZ to an impressive third place finish last season

az footballWith the extra weight of the Europa League and the loss of key players, including captain Nemanja Gudelj and winger Steven Berghuis, Jon van den Brom’s charges may find a repeat of last year’s campaign more than a difficult ask.

Van den Brom will be hoping the Eredivisie player of the year, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, brought in from promoted NEC Nijmegen, can quickly fill the boots of departed captain Gudelj.

Transfers In: Gino Coutinho (Excelsior), Raymond Gyasi (Roda JC, returned from loan), Jonatan Ingi Jonsson (FH Hafnarfjördur), Vincent Janssen (Almere City FC), Joris van Overeem (Dordrecht, returned from loan), Jop van der Linden (Go ahead Eagles), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (NEC Nijmegen), Rajko Brezancic (Cukaricki).

Transfers Out: Steven Berghuis (Watford), Nemanja Gudelj (Ajax), Jonas Heymans (FC Antwerp), Wesley Hoedt (Lazio), Simon Poulson (PSV).

Cambuur Leeuwarden:

Having defied the relegation odds since a 2013/14 return to the Dutch top flight, Cambuur will look to build on two successful Eredivisie campaigns with a top half finish in 2015/16.

cambuurHenk de Jong has been a busy man this summer, bringing in no less than seven signings, and the popular coach will be working hard to integrate the new players into his free-flowing style of football.

Transfers in: Jack Byrne (Man City, loan), Valmir Berisha (Roma), Jerge Hoefdraad (Almere City), Dominik Masek (Hamburg), Kai Heerings (Utrecht), Sjoerd Overgoor (Go Ahead Eagles), Marvin Peersman (FC Dordrecht).

Transfers out: Lucas Bijker (Heerenveen), Mart Dijkstra (Sparta), Mohamed El Makrini (Odense BK), Wout Droste (Heracles Almelo).

De Graafschap:

De Graafschap are back in the Eredivisie for the first time in four seasons.

de graafschapThe ‘Super Farmers,’ who finished sixth in the Eerste Divisie before causing a huge upset in the play-offs, will however, be odds-on favourites to make an immediate return to the second tier of Dutch football.

Transfers in: Alexander Bannink (FC Emmen), Thijs Bouma (Almere City FC), Andrew Driver (Aberdeen), Youssef El Jebli (FC Lienden), Tim Linthorst (Vitesse), Bryan Smeets (MVV), Eric Verstappen (VVV Venlo), Erik Quekel (FC Den Bosch).

Transfers out: Caner Cavlan (Heerenveen), Jerry van Ewijk (Go Ahead Eagles), Vlatko Lazic, Nathan Kabasele (Anderlecht, loan).

Excelsior (Rotterdam):

New manager Alfons Groenendijk will have his work cut out to replicate what was a successful 2014/15 Eredivisie campaign for Excelsior.

logo_excelsior_205x200The ex-Willem II boss would almost certainly take a repeat of last season when, under Brentford-bound Marinus Dijkhuizen, Excelsior recorded a 15th place finish and a run to the Dutch cup semi-final.

The sole task for Groenendijk will be to lead his men away from the spectre of relegation with Eredivisie survival once more being the name of the game for the Rotterdammers.

Transfers in: Bas Kuipers (Ajax), Filip Kurto (Dordrecht), Brandley Kuwas and Tom Overtoom (Volendam), Nigel Hasselbaink (free agent).

Transfers out: Gino Coutinho (AZ), Daan Blij (Excelsior Maassluis), Jordy Deckers (VVV Venlo).

Feyenoord (Rotterdam):

Given the disastrous finish to last season not many Eredivisie teams will be looking forward to a new campaign more than Feyenoord.

Feyenoord logoTasked with challenging for the title, outgoing manager Fred Rutten was shown the door before season’s end and new boss, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, will be hoping his players can hit the ground running in the 2015/16 campaign.

Van Bronckhorst has been active in the transfer market but with a number of comings and goings, the inexperienced former Feyenoord and Dutch captain, will have his work cut out to find the right blend at De Kuip this season.

Transfers in: Warner Hahn (PEC Zwolle, returned from loan), Jan-Arie van der Heijden (Vitesse), Simon Gustafson (BC Häcken), Marko Veijnović (Vitesse), Colin Kazim-Richards (Bursaspor), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahçe).

Transfers out: Jean-Paul Boëtius (FC Basel), Khalid Boulahrouz (released), Jordy Clasie (Southampton), Kostas Lamprou (Willem II), Erwin Mulder (SC Heerenveen), Joris Mathijsen (released), Wesley Verhoek (released).


With a strong eighth placed finish and an historic victory in the KNVB cup final, Dutch cup holders Groningen will be hoping to serve up more glory for their ‘green and white army’ this season.

FC-GroningenTrainer Erwin van de Looi will also be leading his men into Europe, with a UEFA Europa League group berth secured on the back of winning the club’s first ever major trophy.

While Van de Looi has lost both playmaker Tjaronn Chery and captain Maikel Kieftenbeld to the English Championship, Groningen have so far been relatively quiet in the transfer market.

However, supporters will have been pleased with the arrival of Jesper Drost from PEC Zwolle. The young attacking midfielder will be handed the task of filling the void left by the departing Chery.

Transfers in: Jesper Drost (PEC Zwolle), Bryan Linssen (Heracles Almelo), Abel Tamata (PSV).

Transfers out: Tjaronn Chery (Queens Park Rangers), Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City), Paco van Moorsel (released), Nick van der Velden (released), Género Zeefuik (Balikesirspor).


With the loss of keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt to Premier League Swansea, captain Marten de Roon to Atalanta and top scorer Mark Uth to Hoffenheim, last season’s solid seventh placed finish may well be difficult to replicate for Dwight Lodeweges’ Heerenveen.

sc-heerenveen-logo-300x300Cash is apparently short at the Abe Lenstra Stadion, and with Lodeweges as yet unable to raid the loan market for a replacement for Mark Uth, the Frisians will be looking internally to fill any gaps in what already seems a youthful looking squad.

Transfers in: Branco van den Boomen (FC Eindhoven), Lucas Bijker (Cambuur), Caner Cavlan (De Graafschap), Erwin Mulder (Feyenoord), Wieger Sietsma (Groningen).

Transfers out: Michael Chacon (Dordrecht), Lerin Duarte (Ajax), Thomas Dalgaard (Sonderjyske), Albert Gudmundsson (PSV), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Swansea City), Viktor Noring (Lyngby), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Jens Jurn Streutker (released), Mark Uth (Hoffenheim), Szabolcs Vargas (MTK Budapest, loan), Stephen Warmolts (Helmond Sport, loan).

Heracles Almelo:

Despite losing nine of the first ten games last season Heracles managed to retain their Eredivisie status with a 14th placed finish.

Heracles AlmeloA somewhat unexpected recovery from a record breaking losing streak was largely thanks to the form of top scorer Bryan Linssen. Unfortunately, with Linssen having left for FC Groningen, avoiding the dreaded drop promises to be a daunting task for John Stegeman and his team.

The fight for Eredivisie survival could well turn out to be the most competitive ever, and the perennial strugglers from Almelo may find this season a battle too far.

Transfers in: Gino Bosz and Robin Gosens (Vitesse), Tim Breukers (FC Twente), Wout Droste (Cambuur).

Transfers out: Bryan Linssen (FC Groningen), Daan Rienstra (RKC Waalwijk), Dennis Telgenkamp (Emmen), Jeroen Veldmate (Viborg FF), Mark Engberink (RKC Waalwijk), Michael Brouwer (Spakenburg).

NEC Nijmegen:

After taking the Eerste Divisie by storm last season, NEC will be hoping to re-establish its berth in the Dutch top flight.

nec-logoChoosing to depart Eredivisie champions PSV to take up his first role as head coach, new boss Ernest Faber will be tasked with preserving newly promoted NEC’s Eredivisie status.

Transfers in: Janio Bikel (SC Heerenveen), Bart Buysse (Cercle Brugge) Marco van Duin (Almere City), Wojciech Golla (Pogon Szczecin), Thór Halldorsson (Sandnes Ulf), Mohamed Rayhi (PSV).

Transfers out: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Kevin Conboy (released), Daan Disveld (Den Bosch), Bahnou Diarra (released), Kenny Elders (Achilles 29), Giovanni Gravenbeek (released), Tobias Haitz (Viktoria Koln), Patrick Joosten (Utrecht), Paco van Moorsel (parent club Groningen), Lasse Nielsen (Gent), Sylla Sow (Utrecht), Mike Vanhamel (White star).

PEC Zwolle:

Since promotion from the Eerste Divisie in 2011/12 PEC Zwolle have been the revelation of Dutch top flight football.

PECZwolleUnder the guidance of respected Dutch coach Ron Jans, Zwolle have won both the Dutch cup and the Johan Cruijff Schaal.

Jans’ team followed the 2013/14 double success with a second successive cup final appearance, a club record points total and a best ever sixth place finish in the Eredivisie.

Zwolle however have been dealt a series of blows in the transfer window. Losing a number of first team players including top scorer, Tomáš Necid and perhaps, more significantly, talismanic attacking midfielder Jesper Drost who has departed for cup winners FC Groningen.

Transfers in: Sheraldo Becker (Ajax, loan), Josef Kvida (FK Pribram), Queensy Menig (Ajax, loan), Lars Veldwijk (Nottingham Forest (loan).

Transfers out: Joost Broerse (retired), Jesper Drost (Groningen), Warner Hahn (Feyenoord), Jody Lukoki (Ludogorets), Maikel van der Werff (Vitesse).

PSV Eindhoven:

Newly crowned Eredivisie champions PSV go into the new season defending a top flight title for the first time in seven years.

psv logoThey say defending a title is more difficult than winning one and with the loss of star players, Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum, PSV will be tested to the full.
Manager Phillip Cocu, a winner of four titles with PSV as a player, delivered the club’s 22nd Eredivisie title as the Eindhoven side comfortably saw off the threat of outgoing champions Ajax.

PSV have been busy this summer, notably taking Davy Pröpper from Vitesse. However, with coffers bulging, and Ajax determined to wrestle back their crown, manager Cocu may well have to conclude more business before the closing of the transfer window.

Transfers in: Gaston Pereiro (Nacional), Andres Guardado (Valencia), Davy Pröpper (Vitesse), Luuk Koopmans (FC Oss), Maxime Lestienne (Al-Arabi, loan), Menno Koch (loan), Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (AS Monaco), Nikolai Laursen (Bröndby IF), Simon Paulson (AZ Alkmaar).

Transfers out: Memphis Depay (Manchester United), Georgino Wijnaldum (Newcastle United), Przemyslaw Tytoń (VfB Stuttgart), Karim Rekik (Olympique Marseille), Abel Tamata (FC Groningen), Nigel Bertrams (Willem II), Oscar Hiljemark (Palermo).

Roda JC (Kerkrade):

After suffering relegation from the Eredivisie for the first time since 1973, Roda JC successfully navigated the play-offs before making an instant return to the top flight at the expense of NAC Breda.

roda jc logoAs with fellow promotees NEC and De Graafschap, the club from Kerkrade will have just one aim on their Eredivisie return; to avoid relegation.

With a squad seemingly lacking in both quality and numbers, the task at hand could prove to be too much for Darije Kalezic and his team.

Transfers in: Santiago Palacios Macedo (De Treffers), Gibril Sankoh (Henan Jianye (China), Jens van Son (FC Eindhoven), Royston Griffiths (Perth Glory).

Transfers out: Guy Ramos (FC Wil 1990), Johan Plat (Katwijk), Raymond Gyasi (AZ), Timo Letschert (Utrecht).

FC Twente:

With FC Twente’s well documented financial meltdown leading to the departure of no less than 15 players, the Enschede club enter the 2015/16 Eredivisie season with expectations significantly lowered.

FC TwenteEredivisie champions in season 2009/10, the ‘Tukkers’ attempt to break the ‘big three’ cartel and fast track a route into the Champions League failed spectacularly, as financial irregularities were punished severely by the Dutch footballing authorities.

With both pressure from supporters, and the weight of expectation lifted from his shoulders, manager Alfred Schreuder will lead a much changed team into his second full season at the helm.

However, with three weeks of the transfer window to be navigated, Schreuder may not have seen the end of the Twente exodus.

Transfers in: Thomas Agyepong (Manchester City, loan), Bruno Uvini Bortolanca (Napoli), Felitciano Zschusschen (NAC Breda, return from loan) Giorgos Katsikas (PAOK Saloniki) Jerson Cabral (Willem II, return from loan), Michael Olaitan (Olympiakos Piraeus, loan).

Transfers out: Andreas Bjelland (Brentford), Andrej Rendla (released), Bilal Ould-Chikh (Benfica), Chris David (Fulham), Cuco Martina (Southampton), Daniel Fernandes (San Antonio Scorpions), Darryl Lachman (Sheffield Wednesday), Derre Kwee (FC Emmen), Dico Koppers (Willem II), Filip Bednarek (FC Utrecht), Kasper Kusk (FC Kopenhagen), Luc Castaignos (Eintracht Frankfurt), Orlando Engelaar (released), Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal, return from loan), Tim Breukers (Heracles Almelo).

FC Utrecht:

Utrecht will be aiming to put a disappointing 2014/15 season behind them as new trainer Erik ten Hag takes over the reigns from the outgoing Robby Alflen.

fc-utrecht logoThe former Bayern Munich reserve coach, known for pushing players to their limits, will be expected to better an 11th placed finish and at the very least push Utrecht into a Europa League play-off place.

Ten Hag will go into his debut season at Utrecht without fan favourite Edouard Duplan, although after a successful loan period, Utrecht have secured the services of fellow Frenchman and promising young target man, Sébastien Haller.

Transfers in: Filip Bednarek (FC Twente), Bram van Eijk (Feyenoord), Robin de Jong (FC Twente), Patrick Joosten (NEC Nijmegen), Sebastian Haller (AJ Auxerre), Sinan Keskin (Ajax), Timo Letschert (Roda JC), Sylla Sow (NEC Nijmegen), Ali Ulusoy (Feyenoord), Louis Nganioni (Olympique Lyon, loan), Andreas Ludwig (VfR Aalen), Rico Strieder (Bayern München).

Transfers out: Edouard Duplan (ADO Den Haag), Kai Heerings (Cambuur Leeuwarden), Tommy Oar (released), Elroy Pappot (released), Kenny Teijsse (Go Ahead Eagles), Gyliano van Velzen (FC Volendam), Danny Verbeek (NAC Breda), Jeroen Verhoek (released), Jordy van der Winden (FC Den Bosch), Michael Zullo (Melbourne City).

Vitesse Arnhem:

Vitesse ended a disappointing season on something of a high with a 5-2 play-off win over Heerenveen. Securing a Europa League preliminary round qualification in the process.

Vitesse_logoManager Peter Bosz retained his job despite pressure from the owner and supporters, who expected the Arnhemers to make a real challenge for a top three Eredivisie finish.
The loss of key midfielders Davy Pröpper and Marko Vejinovic to rivals PSV and Feyenoord, will see Bosz once again under the spotlight in the opening weeks of the 2015/16 Eredivisie season.

Meanwhile, the revolving transfer door between English champions Chelsea and Vitesse has continued spinning unabated this summer, with, as things stand, the club being loaned no less than five Chelsea youngsters.

Transfers in: Zhang Yuning (Hangzhou Greentown Football Club), Isaiah Brown (Chelsea, loan), Lewis Baker (Chelsea, loan), Nathan Allan De Souza (Chelsea, loan), Danilo Pantic (Chelsea, loan), Dominic Solanke (Chelsea, loan), Milot Rashica (FC Llamkos Kosova), Sherran Yeini (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Maikel van der Werff (PEC Zwolle).

Transfers out: Bertrand Traoré (Chelsea, loan), Dan Mori, Davy Pröpper (PSV), Gino Bosz (Heracles Almelo), Jan-Arie van der Heijden (Feyenoord), Josh McEachran (Chelsea, loan) Marko Vejinovic (Feyenoord), Wallace Oliveira dos Santos (Chelsea, loan), Zakaria Labyad (Sporting).

Willem II (Tilburg):

Newly promoted Willem II proved themselves to be one of the revelations of Eredivisie season 2014/15 and the Tilburgers would surely settle for a repeat of their excellent 9th placed finish.

Willem_IITrainer Jurgen Streppel has been a very busy man this summer, with Willem II having seen sixteen players depart the club, while welcoming nine new faces to the Koning Willem II Stadion.

Transfers in: Dico Koppers (FC Twente), Erik Falkenburg (NAC Breda), Funso Ojo (FC Dordrecht), Guus Joppen (VVV Venlo), Kostas Lamprou (Feyenoord, return from loan), Lesly De Sa (Ajax, loan), Nigel Bertrams (PSV), Richairo Zivkovic (Ajax, loan), Ruben Ligeon (Ajax, loan).

Transfers out: Ali Messaoud (FC Vaduz), Ben Sahar (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Charlton Vicento (Helmond Sport), Frank van der Struijk (released), Jerson Cabral (FC Twente), Jonas Heymans (AZ), Kevin Brands (NAC Breda), Mattijs Branderhorst (MVV, loan), Mitchell Dijks (Ajax), Norair Mamedov (Almere City FC), Renan Zanelli Consilieri (released), Ricardo Ippel (MVV), Ryan Sanusi (Sparta Rotterdam), Samuel Armenteros (Anderlecht), Simon van Zeelst (released), Tim Cornelisse (retired).

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation