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

Holland America Line celebrates 150th anniversary in Rotterdam

Author: Kaye Holland

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The cruise line marked the milestone in its founding city

Holland America Line’s flagship, Rotterdam, arrived at the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, earlier this week – following a 150th Anniversary 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 all-day celebrations that included royalty, local dignitaries, port officials and guests who commemorated the special day.

Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line (HAL), was joined by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands; Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of Rotterdam; and descendants of Holland America Line’s original founders for a celebration at Hotel New York –home to Holland America 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,” said Antorcha.

“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 was treated as though they were a guest in our own home. It is still a hallmark of our brand.

Antorcha continued: “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.”

Holland America Line presented a commemorative 150th Anniversary bell, to mark the occasion, which will be permanently displayed at Hotel New York.

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About Kaye Holland

Kaye is a London-based wordsmith who has written for a range of publications including The Times, The Independent, The I, Culture Trip, The Sun, and ABTA among others. In June 2022, Kaye joined the Real Response Media where she looks – together with Lucy Abbott – after the World of Cruising website. Want to get in touch? Kaye can be reached at: [email protected]