Holland America Line: celebrating 147 years of history and resilience

This Saturday April 18, 2020, Holland America Line is commemorating its 147th anniversary by honoring its rich legacy, taking care of each other in the present and looking forward to its next chapter.

With travel paused globally, Holland America Line is reflecting on the resilience that has been exhibited throughout the company’s history, enduring challenging times many times before and emerging even stronger thanks to loyal guests, dedicated crew and employees, and the support of travel advisors.

Since 1873, Holland America Line has traveled to all seven continents, offered decades of world cruises and explored Alaska for more than 70 years. While the cruise line has paused its global operations through June 30, only one other time in company history did operations cease. During World War II, all passenger voyages stopped, and ships were called to serve in the Allied war effort.

“It’s important during these challenging times to still celebrate important milestones, and our 147th anniversary reminds us that Holland America Line has one of the deepest histories and richest legacies in the cruise industry,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We stand on a solid foundation built by those that came before us over nearly a century and a half, and just as they weathered uncertain times, we will as well. Holland America Line will be back taking guests around the world as soon as we can, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back on board.”

Founded April 18, 1873, as the Netherlands-American Steamship Company, the brand has welcomed more than 150 ships throughout the years. A third Pinnacle-class ship, Ryndam, is under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy and scheduled for delivery in late spring 2021.

Within 25 years of its founding, the company owned a fleet of six cargo and passenger ships and operated between Holland and the Dutch East Indies. Because it was headquartered in Rotterdam and provided service to the Americas, over time the company became known as Holland America Line.

Though transportation and shipping were the primary sources of revenue, in 1895 the company offered its first vacation cruise. The line was primarily a carrier of immigrants from Europe to the United States until well after the turn of the century, bringing nearly one million people to new lives in the New World. It supported the Allied cause during two world wars and several ships served as troop carriers. In 1973, the company sold its cargo shipping division.

Through the early ‘70s, Holland America Line was the first to establish schools in Indonesia and the Philippines to train future employees, thereby making its shipboard service renowned in the industry.

Holland America Line has been headquartered in Seattle since 1983. Purchased by Carnival Corporation in 1989, the company grew to new heights, embarking upon a shipbuilding path that has seen the introduction of 17 new vessels over the years to the line’s fleet so far. In December 2018, Holland America Line welcomed Nieuw Statendam to the fleet. Nieuw Statendam is the second Pinnacle Class ship for Holland America Line, joining Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016.A third Pinnacle-class ship, Ryndam, is under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy and scheduled for delivery in late spring 2021.

To help loyal guests look forward to their next cruise, new short-term Book with Confidence cancellation policies are available for cruise bookings with departure dates through Oct. 15, 2020, and a generous Cancellation Protection Plan (CPP) is always available for purchase right up until the cancellation policy for a booking is in effect. CPP permits cancelling for any reason and provides cash refunds. Additional offers that feature perks and savings will have cruisers dreaming of travel in 2021 and beyond.

A special 147th Anniversary Edition Gift Card is available for a limited time at hollandamerica.com. When purchased by May 31, 2020, a bonus $100 will be added with purchase of a $500 gift card or a $200 bonus with the purchase of a gift card for $1,000 or more.

2 thoughts on “Holland America Line: celebrating 147 years of history and resilience

  1. Was the MS Volendam sunk during World War II? My mother arrived in the US on March 26 1926.
    Her name was Clazina Vanderkley and she was 9 years old. Im wondering if you have any photos of the ship from that era.
    We are having a family reunion this summer and it would be so exciting to see any photos from that era

    1. hi Joan, the current MS Volendam (built in 1999) is the third, after SS Volendam (1922-1952) and SS Volendam (1972-1984), Holland America Line ship to carry the name. Together with the SS Nieuw Amsterdam (1935-1973) the first Volendam served in the Allied cause during WW II. On 30 August 1940 the ship was attacked by the German submarine U-60 who fired two torpedoes that hit No. 1 hold and damaged and caused flooding in No. 2 hold. The captain gave the order to abandon ship and fortunately all passengers got away safely in one of the 18 lifeboats. The only person lost was the Dutch purser. The Volendam was taken in tow by a rescue tug and beached on the Isle of Bute. The ship was refloated and repaired. It returned to service in July 1941. After the was the ship was partly reconditioned and used to carry British troops to Palestine. In 1946 volendam carried Dutch troops to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). In the following years the ship was used in the Australia emigrant service, bringing (mainly Dutch) immigrants to Australia. The Volendam made her las big voyage in October 1951 sailing from Rotterdam to Quebec and back to Rotterdam. The ship was scrapped in 1952.

      We’ve reached out to our contacts at Holland America Line to see if we can forward you some photos of the ship from the time your mother crossed the Atlantic. We hope to be able to forward them real soon.

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