Big Three (Netherlands)

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In Dutch sports, The Big Three (Dutch: De Grote Drie) (or The Traditional Top Three (Dutch: De Traditionele Topdrie)) is the nickname for the three most successful rivalling football clubs in the Netherlands: Ajax from Amsterdam, Feyenoord from Rotterdam and PSV from Eindhoven. Collectively they amounted for 73 of the 130 Dutch Football Championships ever played, and the three generally end up sharing the top three positions and contending for the title. None of them have been relegated from the Eredivisie either, having been participants in all editions since 1956–57 season; the lowest position any of them has earned is 14th, PSV, while Ajax and Feyenoord's lowest positions have been 13th.

Location of the three clubs in the Netherlands

Several other clubs outside the big three have won the Dutch league, with HVV Den Haag having the fourth most national titles behind the Big Three in the Netherlands with 10 in total. But the last one was in 1914.

Only after the start of the in 1956 established Eredivisie, AZ Alkmaar (2 times), DOS, Sparta Rotterdam, DWS and FC Twente were other champions, outside the “big three” clubs.

Also Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord are the only Dutch clubs which have won international prizes. Feyenoord was the first. It won the European Cup in 1970 and the UEFA Cup in 1974 and 2002, which is the last. And it won the Intercontinental Cup in 1970. Ajax won the European Cup 3 consecutive times in 1971, 1972 and 1973. And its successor the UEFA Champions League in 1995. They won the UEFA Cup in 1992 and Cup Winners Cup in 1987. And the Intercontinental Cup of 1972 and 1995. And the UEFA Supercup in 1972, 1973 and 1995. PSV won the European Cup of 1988 and the UEFA Cup in 1978.

Also, FC Twente and AZ Alkmaar played a UEFA Cup finals besides the “Big Three”, in 1975 and 1980. But were runners up to Borussia Möchengladbach and Ipswich Town.


Team Major National International Grand Total
ED KB JCS National Total CL CWC EL USC UIC IC International Total
Ajax 34 19 9 62 4 1 1 2 2 2 12 74
PSV Eindhoven 24 9 11 44 1 - 1 - - - 2 46
Feyenoord 15 13 4 32 1 - 2 - 3 1 7 39
Last updated following the 2019–20 season.

Footballers who have played for all three clubs[edit]

  • Netherlands Ruud Geels (Feyenoord 1966–1970, Ajax 1974–1978, PSV 1981–1982)
  • Netherlands Ronald Koeman (Ajax 1983–1986, PSV 1986–1989, Feyenoord 1995–1997)

Managers who have managed all three clubs[edit]

  • Netherlands Hans Kraay Sr. (Ajax 1974–1975, Feyenoord 1982–1983, PSV 1986–1987)
  • Netherlands Ronald Koeman (Ajax 2001–2005, PSV 2006–2007, Feyenoord 2011–2014)

See also[edit]