Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands took part in the festivities at the historic, former headquarters of Holland America Line. Anniversary celebrations took place on Holland America Line’s fleet and on board the ships Rotterdam VII in Rotterdam and Zuiderdam in Amsterdam.
Holland America Line‘s flagship Rotterdam arrived at the port of Rotterdam on 18 April in honour of the shipping company’s 150th anniversary. The ship departed from New York in the US on 6 April for a crossing to the Dutch port city. The ship’s arrival on the exact date of the 150th anniversary marked the start of a full day of festivities.
The festive ceremony took place at Hotel New York, the cruise line’s original headquarters from 1901 to 1977. Holland America Line president Gus Antorcha was joined at this anniversary ceremony by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, and descendants of Holland America Line’s original founders.
150 years of Holland America Line
‘The celebration of 150 years is about more than just our history, it is also about how we build on this wonderful legacy and how we will remain relevant for the next 150 years,’ Antorcha said. ‘From those very early days, we built our reputation on the care and attention we gave to everyone who stepped on board with us. And over the decades, whether that person was an immigrant, a titan of industry, a soldier or a holidaymaker, each of them was treated as if they were a guest in our own home. This is what we still stand for as a cruise line.’
From the ship’s arrival to a two-day stay at the port, all these memorable moments gave colour to the 150th anniversary today. In a room that served as a luggage room for immigrants in the early 1900s, Holland America Line unveiled a commemorative bell in honour of the 150th anniversary. It will be on permanent display at Hotel New York. Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet christened the bell with champagne, a tradition usually reserved only for the christening of a new ship.
Holland America Line worked closely with PostNL to design a gold stamp in honour of the 150th anniversary. This stamp was unveiled at the ceremony by Bob van Ierland, Managing Director PostNL Netherlands. The stamp, designed by Frank Janse, shows an illustration of two iconic ships from the company’s long history: Rotterdam VII, Holland America Line’s newest ship, and Rotterdam I, its first ship. The limited edition stamp is available for collectors to purchase online.
First company share
In addition, family members of one of the original founders of Holland America Line presented the first original company share. This will be preserved as part of a special collection at the Stadsarchief Rotterdam. Among those attending the official ceremony were Holland America Line team members and more than sixty of the cruise line’s most loyal Mariners, guests who have sailed on the line’s ships for at least 1400 days.
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Picture (top): Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands christens the ship’s bell as part of Holland America Line’s 150th anniversary celebrations (picture by Rebekka Mell).
All pictures below by SWZ|Maritime/G.J. de Boer.