Holland - who missed out on World Cup qualification - head to Germany on Monday knowing a draw or a win would see them leapfrog France and seal their place in the last four of the Nations League finals next June.
Georginio Wijnaldum scored just before halftime and Memphis Depay converted a late penalty as the Dutch dominated against the world champions, looking much changed from the side that missed out on the 2016 European Championship and the last World Cup in Russian Federation.
The hosts were dominating proceedings in the first half, but were nearly behind when Benjamin Pavard hit a stunning volley - reminiscent of his superb goal against Argentina in the World Cup - which was tipped over just before the half hour.More news: Pence slams China, says United States offers countries `better option'
A draw in Rotterdam would have ensured top spot in Group A1 for the world champions but they were outplayed by the dominant Dutch and slipped to a 2-0 loss.
They would have been beaten by a bigger margin had it not been for a string of saves from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. We have shown on such a night that we have made enormous steps. We were very, very good.
"It shows that we have a bright future, we have to continue like this".
Wijnaldum broke the deadlock just a minute before halftime with his 10th worldwide goal in his 52nd appearance for the Netherlands. Now we have seen a match in which we, even against an opponent like France, start well and hold on to the end.More news: Stacey Abrams Prepares 'UNPRECEDENTED MOVE' to Force SECOND VOTE — LAST DITCH EFFORT
Depay doubled the lead with a "Panenka" penalty in stoppage time, chipping the ball over Lloris to complete a memorable victory. Lloris had to get down well to parry a late free kick past the post before again saving from the Lyon forward following a well-worked corner.
In September these squads met for their first game against each other in the group stage, and France prevailed 2-1.
Depay said that the young team were on the right track.More news: Countryside must change to prepare for climate change, experts warn