Holland America celebrated its 150th anniversary with fleetwide parties and festivities in Rotterdam and Amsterdam on Tuesday.
The cruise line’s flagship Rotterdam VII arrived at the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands following a special transatlantic crossing that departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 3. The ship’s arrival on the exact date of Holland America Line’s 150th birthday kicked off celebrations featuring royalty, local dignitaries, port officials and guests.
HAL President Gus Antorcha, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb and descendants of Holland America Line’s original founders were among those in attendance at Hotel New York, which served as the home to the cruise line’s original headquarters from 1901 to 1977.
“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,” Antorcha said in a statement. “From those first early days, we built our reputation on the care we provided to every person who stepped on board. And through the decades, whether that person was an immigrant, a titan of industry, a soldier or a vacationer, each of them were treated as though they were a guest in our own home. It is still a hallmark of our 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. 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,” Antorcha concluded.
Anniversary festivities included the presentation of a commemorative 150th Anniversary bell to be permanently displayed at Hotel New York, the introduction of a 150th Anniversary gold-foil stamp featuring both Rotterdam VII (HAL’s newest ship) and Rotterdam I (the line’s first ship) that’s available for purchase in the Netherlands.
What’s more, 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, a gala dinner and party was held onboard Rotterdam VII and the namesake city’s Erasmus Bridge was illuminated with a special light display honoring HAL’s 150th Anniversary.
Parties were also held onboard Zuiderdam in Amsterdam as well as HAL’s other nine ships on Tuesday.
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