Credit: Holland America Line.

Discover the floating art gallery onboard Rotterdam - Holland America Line

Author: Lucy Abbott

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Holland America Line flagship Rotterdam boasts more than 2,500 incredible pieces of art from dozens of global artists. Every corner brings a new piece of art – so what’s onboard?

Holland America Line ships have long been regarded as floating art galleries for their extensive collections of museum-quality pieces.

Onboard Rotterdam you are in for a visually rewarding journey with some of the most thought-provoking, striking and bold pieces in the fleet - including historical works and memorabilia from beloved previous sister ships.

Rotterdam’s art collection is valued at more than $4.1million (£3million) and curated by Oslo-based YSA Design and London-based ArtLink, who collaborated with acclaimed hospitality design atelier Tihany Design.

The result is a museum at sea with 2,645 pieces of diverse works ranging in value from $500 (around £400) to $620,000 (roughly £500,000) that span the decks, public rooms and staterooms.

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More than 37 nationalities are represented by Rotterdam’s artists, with the greatest number of contributors coming from the Netherlands, United States and the United Kingdom.

Artists also hail from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.

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Many of the pieces focus on entertainment, showcasing themes of music, dance and movement, weaving the ship’s narrative of a new sound of cruising into the art.

The works are in many different types of media, including photography, painting, mixed media, illustration, prints and sculpture – so you are guaranteed to find something you like!

Discover what memorable works of art await onboard Rotterdam with Holland America Line.

Holland America Line’s history finds a home on Rotterdam

As the seventh ship in the fleet to bear the name, Rotterdam has adopted some previous stunning works of art from Rotterdam VI, which left the cruise line in 2020.

Learn about the rich history of Rotterdam ships with eight historical paintings featured on Rotterdam, including depictions of Rotterdam I, Rotterdam II, Rotterdam III, Rotterdam IV and Rotterdam V.

The ship also hosts three previous Rotterdam ship models, and the bell from Rotterdam VI can be found in the Crow’s Nest.

HAL: Admire the intricate glasswork by the spa onboard Rotterdam (left) and the fibre-glass otter sculpture on deck nine (right). Credit: Holland America Line.

Explore the highlights of Rotterdam’s art collection

Ensure that you see the largest and most expensive piece, ‘Harps’. This 7.5-ton stainless steel sculpture in the Atrium spans three decks. With dynamic colour-changing spotlighting and a mirrored ceiling, the work is a striking focal point on board.

‘Harps’ was produced and designed by ArtLink, based on a concept by Tihany Design and valued at $620,000 (around £500,000)

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The smallest works are by Betty Pepper, who uses reworked books and adds intricate details and scenes made from old maps. They can be seen in the forward stairwell between decks 7 and 8. The exquisitely small elements are a testament to Pepper’s ability to work at a scale that few artists can master.

Marvel at each of the stairwells which possess a unique theme that reaches from top to bottom. The theme of the forward stairs is architecture, midship stairs are music and aft stairs is zoology.

The oldest artist featured onboard is Baron Wolman, born in 1937, the U.S. native was the chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine from 1967 until late 1970. He was ranked among the 20th century's elite and most collectable photographers, so be sure to view his famous black and white photographs of the stars.

As with Rudi’s Sel de Mer French restaurant on Nieuw Statendam, Master Chef Rudi Sodamin’s son and emerging artist Magnus Sodamin created a visually stimulating mural that adorns the wall in his father’s namesake speciality restaurant on Rotterdam. Called “Oceans Feast,” the work measures 23 feet long and 3.6 feet tall.

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Make sure you get a picture next to one of the most striking and expensive pieces on the cruise, the dazzling, illuminated crystal “Key” (treble clef) created by Dutch artist Hans van Bentem for Deck 3, midship. The piece is valued at $27,000 (around £20,000).

Considered among the most avant-garde pieces in the collection is a fibre-glass sculpture of an otter in the aft stairwell lobby on Deck 9 by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel. San Miguel is known for his distinctive style of colourful geometric patterns that portray animals, skulls, religious iconography and human figures.

One of the most valuable works is a mixed media on canvas piece in the forward stairwell lobby on Deck 8 by Mehdi Ghadyanloo, an Iranian artist, painter and muralist known for his gigantic trompe l'oeil–style murals.

HAL: Ensure you see Rotterdam's 'Key' treble clef (left) and Yonsun Jang's Cello (right). Credit: Shutterstock

Ghadyanloo recently had solo exhibitions in Almine Rech’s galleries in Paris and Brussels, and now Holland America Line guests can enjoy his captivating art.

Yongsun Jang, from the Republic of Korea, welds cross-sections of stainless-steel pipes to configure clusters of “cells,” then puts it all together to represent different organic beings. Jang also created the Cello for B.B. King's Blues Club/Lincoln Center Stage space.

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For Rotterdam, he created cello and pan flute sculptures for the B.B. King’s Blues Club/Lincoln Center Stage space.

The vibrant work of Lisa Krannichfield is on display in the Club Orange speciality restaurant. Her pieces meld the border between masculine and feminine and explore what it means to be fashionable and make a statement.

The art aboard Rotterdam comprises one of the finest collections at sea. You can admire the decks inside and out and discover inspired works from a global assembly of emerging artists who share the spaces alongside some of the most renowned talent in the world.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is a cruise journalist who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.