Holland America Line was founded in 1873 as the Nederlandsche-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij (Dutch-American Steamship Company), a shipping and passenger line. It was headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and provided service to the Americas. The company was formed as a result of the reorganization of an earlier company, Plate, Reuchlin & Co. The company’s first ship was the original Rotterdam, which sailed its 15-day maiden voyage from the Netherlands to New York City on October 15, 1872. Other services were started to other new world ports, including Hoboken, Baltimore and South America. Cargo service to New York started in 1899.
During the first 25 years the company carried 400,000 people from Europe to the Americas. Other North American ports were added during the early 20th century.
Though transportation and shipping were the primary sources of revenue, in 1895 HAL offered its first vacation cruise. Its second vacation cruise, from New York to Palestine, was first offered in 1910.
One notable ship was the elegant 36,000 gross ton SS Nieuw Amsterdam of 1937, it and the RMS Queen Mary being the only two liners built in the 1930s to make a profit.
At the start of the Second World War, HAL had 25 ships; nine remained at war’s end. At the beginning of the war, the Westernland acquired from the Red Star Line in 1939, berthed at Falmouth, England, became the seat of the Dutch government. The Nieuw Amsterdam sailed half a million miles transporting 400,000 military personnel. After the war, the cruise line was instrumental in transporting a massive wave of immigrants from the Netherlands to Canada and elsewhere.
Another notable ship during the post-war period was the SS Rotterdam of 1959, one of the first North Atlantic ships equipped for two-class transatlantic crossing and one-class luxury cruising.
By the late 1960s, the golden era of transatlantic passenger ships had been ended by the introduction of air travel. HAL ended transatlantic service during the early 1970s, leaving the North Atlantic passenger trade for Cunard’s RMS Queen Elizabeth 2.
This piece of history is still evident when you are in Rotterdam. Inside the New York Hotel you can still see signs that it was once the headquarters of the Holland America Line. Outside the hotel there are patches of grass and patches of concrete. On the concrete you find names such as ‘Madison’, ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Utah’ showing the places to which people travelled back in the first half of the nineteen hundreds. Not only the hotel, which has been national heritage since 2000, but also the embankment is a place that breaths history, and makes it an excellent location to grab the notch ‘historical place’.
(click to enlarge)
Have you done a Scavenger Hunt yet? Come on, it’s fun and you can earn your own badges. Otherwise you can just follow the links and see other locations from other participants.
This is my 48th Scavenger Hunt location.
© Rebel’s Notes