The Eredivisie (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈeːrədivizi]; "Honour Division" or "Premier Division") is the highest echelon of professional football in the Netherlands. The league was founded in 1956, two years after the start of professional football in the Netherlands. As of the 2018–19 season it is ranked the 11th best league in Europe by UEFA.
The top division consists of 18 clubs. Each club meets every other club twice during the season, once at home and once away. At the end of each season, the club at the bottom is automatically relegated to the second level of the Dutch league system, the Eerste Divisie (First Division). At the same time, the champion of the Eerste Divisie will be automatically promoted to the Eredivisie. The next two clubs from the bottom of the Eredivisie go to separate promotion/relegation play-offs with eight high-placed clubs from the Eerste Divisie.
The winner of the Eredivisie claims the Dutch national championship. Ajax has won most titles, 25 (34 national titles). PSV Eindhovenare next with 21 (24), and Feyenoord follow with 10 (15). Since 1965, these three clubs have won all but three Eredivisie titles (the 1981 and 2009 titles went to AZ and FC Twente won the 2010 title). Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord are known as the "Big Three" of Dutch football. They are the only ones in their current forms to have appeared in every edition of the Eredivisie since its formation. A fourth club, FC Utrecht, is the product of a 1970 merger between three of that city's clubs, one of which, VV DOS, had also never been relegated out of the Eredivisie.