Holland America Line has reached a monumental milestone with its 150th anniversary, and marked the exact day of the event – April 18, 2023 – with appropriate ceremony as the line’s flagship, Rotterdam, arrived at the Port of Rotterdam where the line was first founded.
Flagship Arrives to Begin 150th Anniversary Celebration
Holland America Line’s flagship, the Pinnacle-class Rotterdam, arrived the capital of The Netherlands on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at the end of her 150th Anniversary crossing that departed Fort Lauderdale on April 3. This marks the exact birthday of the cruise line, and included all-day celebrations both on the ship and at very special locations on shore.
Part of the festivities took place at Hotel New York, home to the cruise line’s original headquarters from 1901-1977, with Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, and descendants of Holland America Line’s original founders all in attendance.
Also at the ceremony were Holland America Line team members and more than 60 of the cruise line’s top Mariners, guests who have sailed at least 1,400 days on Holland America Line’s vessels.
At Hotel New York, the cruise line unveiled a commemorative 150th Anniversary bell to be permanently displayed at the property. Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet poured champagne over the bell, a Holland America Line tradition usually reserved for launching a new ship.
“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.
“The fabric of history is woven from the threads of millions of stories, and at the heart of each of those stories is a person,” he continued. “I am certain that there are many chapters still to be written. And I hope that decades from now, those who come after us will gather on this very spot at Hotel New York to share them.”
In addition to the bell ceremony, 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.
Celebrating Onboard and On Shore
It wasn’t only at Hotel New York where festivities were noting the remarkable anniversary.
Other commemorative events include the issuance of a special 24-karat gold-foil stamp that features Rotterdam I, the cruise line’s first ship, alongside Rotterdam VII, the current flagship.
The stamp is officially issued through PostNL, the post office of The Netherlands, and was designed by Frank Janse. Only 1,000 of the limited-edition stamps have been produced, and each has a retail price of €50 ($55 USD)
A gala dinner was held aboard Rotterdam, as well as a Lido Pool deck party, where Antorcha presented a special toast.
“To the builders, architects, visionaries and explorers who have brought us to today. To our generations of crew who have seen our guests from shore to shore. And most importantly, to all of the passengers and guests who have trusted us along the way. Cheers to 150 years and many more to come,” he said.
Onshore, the city of Rotterdam’s Erasmus Bridge was illuminated with a special light display honoring the line’s 150th Anniversary.
Anniversary parties were also held aboard the other ships in the Holland America Line fleet, no matter where they are sailing on this very special day.