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  • Writer's pictureDianna Janas

Holland America Celebrates 150 Anniversary in Rotterdam

On April 18, Holland America Line's flagship Rotterdam arrived at the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, culminating a 150th Anniversary crossing that began on April 3 from Fort Lauderdale.

To celebrate this special occasion, a day-long celebration was held, attended by royalty, local dignitaries, port officials, and guests.

At Hotel New York, where Holland America's original headquarters were located from 1901 to 1977, a celebration was hosted by Holland America President Gus Antorcha, along with Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, and descendants of the company's founders.

Antorcha remarked that commemorating the 150 years is not just about the history but also about how the company will remain relevant for the next 150 years. From the early days, Holland America built its reputation on providing exceptional care to every person who boarded their ships. This attention to customer service is still a hallmark of the brand.

“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,” Antorcha said. “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.”

During the overnight stay, several memorable events marked the milestone. Holland America presented a commemorative 150th Anniversary bell, which Princess Margriet poured champagne over in a Holland America tradition typically reserved for new ship launches. The company also worked with PostNL to design a collectible 150th Anniversary gold-foil stamp featuring an illustration of two iconic ships from Holland America's long history: Rotterdam VII, the newest ship, and Rotterdam I, the first ship.

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

After a gala dinner onboard Rotterdam VII, Antorcha invited the ship's guests to a party around the Lido Pool. He toasted to Holland America's anniversary alongside Captain Bas van Dreumel and Mai Elmar, the executive director of Cruise Port Rotterdam and the ship's madrina. The evening ended with a special light display on the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam to honor Holland America's 150th Anniversary. The other nine ships in the Holland America fleet also hosted anniversary parties for their guests.

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