Holland America Line marks 150th anniversary in Rotterdam

Royalty, local dignitaries and guests attended celebrations at the line’s original home

Holland America Line marks 150th anniversary in Rotterdam

Holland America Line

Princess Margriet of the Netherlands poured champagne over a commemorative 150th anniversary bell as part of the celebrations

By Alex Smith |

Holland America Line has marked its 150th anniversary with celebrations in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which were attended by royalty, local dignitaries, port officials and the cruise line’s guests.

The cruise line’s ship, Rotterdam, arrived at the Port of Rotterdam on the morning of 18 April to kick off celebrations, following a 150th anniversary crossing that departed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 3 April. The ship's arrival coincided with the exact date of Holland America Line's 150th anniversary.

At Hotel New York, which served as Holland America Line's original headquarters from 1901 to 1977, the brand's president Gus Antorcha joined Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, and descendants of Holland America Line's original founders to commemorate the anniversary.

"The celebration of 150 years is about more than our history, it's about how we are building on the legacy of a great brand to make it relevant for the next 150 years," said Antorcha. "From those first early days, we built our reputation on the care we provided to every person who stepped onboard. And through the decades, whether that person was an immigrant, a titan of industry, a soldier or a vacationer, each of them was treated as though they were a guest in our own home. It is still a hallmark of our brand.”

Rotterdam berthed in its namesake city overnight while the brand hosted a number of events to mark the milestone, including the presentation of a commemorative 150th anniversary bell, which Princess Margriet poured champagne over in a Holland America Line tradition usually reserved for a new ship’s launch. A collectible 150th anniversary gold-foil stamp designed by PostNL, the postal office of the Netherlands was also unveiled. The stamp features an illustration of two iconic ships from the company's history: Rotterdam VII, Holland America Line's newest ship, and Rotterdam I, its first ship.

Members of one of Holland America Line's founding families presented an original company share that will be kept as part of a special collection in the Rotterdam City Archives. Holland America Line team members and guests who have sailed at least 1,400 days on the line's ships attended the ceremony at Hotel New York.

Following a gala dinner onboard Rotterdam, Antorcha toasted to Holland America Line's anniversary alongside the ship's captain Bas van Dreumel and Mai Elmar, executive director of Cruise Port Rotterdam and the ship's godmother, inviting guests to join in the celebration. The city of Rotterdam's Erasmus Bridge was illuminated with a special light display honouring the anniversary. Additionally, the other nine ships in Holland America Line's fleet held anniversary parties onboard for guests.

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