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Ocean Liner History and Stories from the Sea, Past and Present. With an In Depth focus on Holland America Line

Bouman, Coenraad

Capt. Bouman Conraad 1956 small

Note: Although Captain Bouman rose to the rank of Commodore with Holland America there is very little known about him  of his early years and family life; also not much in the company archives, except for his final 3 years on the ss Rotterdam V.  So if anybody who reads this has any information, photos etc. etc. especially from his earlier days, please contact me on CaptAlbert1@aol.com

Name:  Bouman; Coenraad

Born:  01 September 1897, Maasluis, The Netherlands (City just west of Rotterdam).

The Father was Geert Hendrik Bouman  Vice Inspector of the Dutch Shipping Inspection and his mother was named Jenneke Mensinga. They were living at Harienstraat 158 Rotterdam in 1915. Religion: Dutch Reformed. His father had started out as a sailing ship captain and then spent the last 25 years of his career with the Dutch Shipping Inspection.

Pupil of the Kweekschool voor de Zeevaart at Amsterdam. Taken in on 17 September 1913. Capt. Bouman was at school very good at mathematics and on 16 July 1914 he obtains the 2nd price in practical Navigation and modern seamanship. Plus he receives the crossed golden anchors insigne for being the  best behaved and most skilled pupil of his class. And in 1915 (class 2B) missed the school prize (Navigational Octant) by 0.5 points. Finished school as nbr 5 of an intake of 72 pupils.) (e)

Lateron his brother would attend the Academy as well.

He was taken on by the Holland America Line for his cadet year and joined the company on 23 July 1915, assigned to the ss Rijndam (I); returning a year later to school on  24 July 1916 with very good report. Obtained his 2rd mates license on 11 October 1916 and was dismissed from the school a day later with full honors. He was rated best of his class for 3 periods and one 2nd for one period of his class during one of the four school periods. Looking at his ratings, it seems he did not like French and geography. He then returned to Holland America as a 4th. officer as was assigned to the ss Noordam (I). He stays until 1920 on the passengerships.

Married on 18 May 1922 at Schiedam Margaretha Diderika Papenhuijzen (born 28 Feb. 1899 – deceased 26 Jan. 1945 at Zeist) She was the daughter of Antonie Marinus Elisa Papenhuijzen en Maartje de Kok. (a) There was one daughter Margot (1925 – 1983) and a son Gerard.

They divorced on 05 October 1933 at Schiedam,

Was awarded in June 1922 a barometer by the Royal Dutch Meterorigical Institute for the good keeping of the weather observation journals on Board. (c.)

Three 2nd officers on this photos with Coenraad Bouman to the right. Year unknown. The two others to be identified.

On the 8th. of March 1925 he is on board the ss Maasdam (IV) when a fire is reported in the linen room located on the upper tween deck under the accommodation. Smoke is coming out one of the ventilation pipes on deck. The fire teams are assembled and an entry is made, but everybody is pushed back due to the excessive smoke. The captain puts the ship perpendicular on the wind so the wind is sucked out of the accommodation.  After 12 hours the fire is finally under control. The cabins of the passengers had burned out, the bulkhead to the hold (loaded with tobacco) had been buckled and the ships fridge deformed. Most likely cause of the fire was the smoking of the Spanish 3rd class passengers under decks. Although this was strictly forbidden it was known that it still happened all the time. The Board of Inquiry commended the actions taken by the captain and the crew.

The ss Maasdam (III) docked in Vera Cruz, Mexico. Bouman was sailing to Mexico in 1925

He remarried on 08 December 1937 with Adriana de Jong  (born. 30.12.1902 at Enkhuizen deceased before 1980) daughter of. Dirk de Jong (Estate Agent) and Guurtje Wijdom. (a) she brought in to sons of a previous marriage. They took his last name and one moved to the USA, One to Canada and two stayed in the Netherlands. The daughter moved to England.

The ms Drechtdyk approaching Vancouver. Shew as one of the first motorships of the company. Stuck in Rotterdam during the war she did not survive the invasion in 1940.

He arrived back in the Netherlands on the 6th. of May1940  with the ss Drechtdijk and was thus stuck in the Netherlands for the war period. He took a job with the local “Association for Fruit and Vegetables”  and according to himself was able to do some “useful work there”. Because of his position he was able to avoid being deported to Germany,

In 1947 he was promoted to captain on Board the ss Eemdyk (III) being the oldest ship n the fleet and thus the one given to the newest captain.

The ss Eemdyk (III) was a war built ship bought by the Dutch Government and then handed over to HAL. Later captains were not very complimentary about the very spartan layout of the officers and crew quarters.

In February 1950 voyage 18) the ship had been outward bound from Rotterdam to the west coast of America, when during stormy weather heading for America, he had to request tug boat assistance (Thames of Smit Int). During bad weather a hatch cover broke and the steel loaded on the top crashed into the shaft tunnel damaging the shaft and stopping the propeller. The Eemdyk (III) is then towed back to the Netherlands. (9 passengers on board) It stopped in Horta on Feb 9, to obtain a new safety certificate and continued the journey on the 14th.

While captain of the ss Groote Beer he welcomed in July 1952 the 100.000nd dutch emigrant to Canada.

Captain Bouman was known to take the well being of the passengers (nowadays called guests) very seriously and tried to make sure that they were entertained whenever he had the chance to talk to them. For this he had set up a sort of information gathering system whereby he asked the deck officers to supply him with as many tid bits of news or knowledgeable facts, which he could then use during dinner time and socializing.

Captain Bouman was known to be a very social person who made frequent rounds to talk to the passengers and check on their well being (and deal with their complaints) This photo was taken on board the ss Nieuw Amsterdam II. (Courtesy unknown maker)

Although he was stuck in the Netherlands, the company’s seniority count continued, even when not sailing, and thus he was appointed to Commodore  on 01 November 1956 as he was by now sailing on the flagship of the fleet the ss Nieuw Amsterdam (II)

On 16 December 1958 he was medically disembarked from the ss Nieuw Amsterdam (II) at Cobh (Ireland) as three of the bridge windows stove in, during a severe storm in the English channel and he glass got into his eye. The chief officer continued the voyage in command to New York. As the ship was scheduled to make a number of cruises from New York before returning to Rotterdam, Captain H. Hogervorst was flown out to fill the gap until Captain Bouman could rejoin in New York on Jan 05th. 1959.

In 1959 he was awarded the “Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau” which is comparable with a British knighthood. He considered that more an order for the ship than for himself.

Commodore Bouman with a group of Quartermasters (three stripes on the tallywacker), the Bo’sun and two fireguards on the Bridge in 1959 – 1960

Highlight of his career was taking out the new flagship the ss Rotterdam (V) in September 1959 after some trial trips in July and August. By know he was past his 60th. birthday but the rules of retirement had just loosend with the option to be able to stay until 65.  He made 20 voyages with the ship, including two world cruises (although the 1960 one was officially called the 4 continents cruise)

The ss Rotterdam (V) was christened, handed over and sent on he way by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. Here Commodore Bouman is showing her majesty how the ships steering works. Note the decoration on his jacket, this the medal for  an Officer in the Order of Oranje – Nassau. In the back the husband of the Queen Prins Bernhard.

He was planning to retire in May 1961 to catch up with his reading, but was asked by the company to stay on until September. On 16 September he arrived in Rotterdam for the last time after a regular crossing with the ss Rotterdam (V) and then officially left the company on/September 29. After 46 years with the company.

He returned one more time to the spot lights when on January 1962 10 of the 14 captains of the ss Nieuw Amsterdam were invited to join the ship for the trial trip after the major refit when she went from a 3 class ship to s 2 class ship. He was cited in the newspapers that he did not show up for the groups photos but was much more interested to see what changes had been made to his old ship.

After his retirement he was appointed a member of the Dutch Shipping Board Inquiry. He passed away on 8 July 1980 just short of being 83 years old. He was cremated locally in Oestgeest.

The ss Rotterdam (V) flagship of the Holland America Line and the Dutch merchant Marine fleet (as being the largest ship under the Dutch flag) seen here at the end of her official trails with Captain Bouman in command.


  • E.A. Kruidhof
  • Yearbook 2017-2018 Kweekschool voor de Zeevaart via VOK
  • Dutch contemporary newspapers via search engine Delpher.
  • Stamboeken and muster lists Holland America archives as held by the Municipal archives of the City of Rotterdam.
  • Comprtementen boeken van de Kweekschool voor de Zeevaart.

Sailing List: (d)

Date:                    Function:                            Ship:                                    Wages and/or remarks.

23 Jul.    1915      Cadet Officer                     Rijndam                              20,–

18 Dec. 1915      Temporary dismissed, scheduled for the Noorderdijk.

23 Dec. 1915      Cadet Officer                     Noorderdijk                       20,–

29 Jul. 1916         Dismissed to go to school to obtains 3rd mate license

11 Oct. 1916       Passed exam for 3rd Mate

12 Oct. 1916       4th. Officer                         Noordam                              30,–

23 Apr. 1917       Temporary dismissed for military service

06 Mar. 1919      4th. Officer                         Noordam                              50,–

01 Jul. 1919         Wage increase                                                                   100,–

22 Mar. 1920      4th. Officer                          Rotterdam                         100,-

01 Jan. 1920       Wage increase                                                                   110,–

05 May. 1920     3rd. Officer                         Andijk                                    125,–

01 Jan. 1920       Wage increase                                                                    170,–

22 Jan. 1921       Temporary ashore to go to school for 2nd Mate’s license

13 Apr. 1921       Passed exam for 2nd Mate

14 Apr. 1921       Temporary ashore

04 May. 1921     3rd. Officer                         Zuiderdijk                            170,–

11 May. 1921     Temporary ashore

17 May. 1921     2nd Officer                          Sommelsdijk                      240,–

With the Nieuw Amsterdam to NY as passenger to join ship there.

01 Sep. 1921       Wage decrease                                                                   228,–

16 Oct. 1921       Wage decrease                                                                    216,–

Commences 05 Dec 1921 see letter Cap.b. pag. 382

04 Mar. 1922      2nd Officer                          Edam                                       216,–

18 May. 1922     Wage decrease                                                                    210,–

08 Nov. 1922      2nd Officer                          Andijk                                     210,–

02 Sep. 1923       Temporary ashore to go to school for first mates ticket

01 Dec. 1923      Passed exam for First mates ticket.

02 Dec. 1923      Temporary ashore

10 Dec. 1923      2nd Officer                          Blijdendijk                           210,–

09 Mar. 1924      2nd Officer                          Maasdam                              210,–

21 Oct. 1925       Temporary ashore

In possession of Sperry Gryro Certificate.

12 Dec. 1925      2nd Officer                          Nieuw Amsterdam         210,–

25 Jan. 1926       2nd Officer                          Veendam                              210,–

26 May. 1926     Temporary ashore

28 Jun. 1926       Act. Chief Officer              Maasdam                           285,–

04 Jan. 1927       2nd Officer                          Rotterdam                           210,–

04 Apr. 1927       Wage increase                                                                     220,–

24 Dec. 1928      Temporary ashore                                                              220,–    Chart room in Rotterdam office until 7 Jan.29.

18 Jan. 1929       2nd Officer                          Statendam                            220,–    Newbuilding

01 Jan. 1929       wage increase                                                                       225,–

17 May. 1929     wage increase                                                                       230,–

01 Jan. 1930       Wage increase                                                                     235,–

On 1 April 1930 8 years , 7 mnd. and 14 days as 2nd Officer

02 Jul. 1930         2nd Officer                          Statendam                         235,–    Senior

16 Nov. 1931      Wage decrease                                                                   208,–

03 Jul. 1932         Temporary ashore                                                             208,–    On leave

10 Jul. 1932         Temporary ashore 70%                                                   208,–

05 Aug. 1932      2nd Officer                          Drechtdijk 70%                  208,–

15 Aug. 1932      2nd Officer                          Drechtdijk                              208,–

22 Aug. 1932      2nd Officer                          Leerdam                                  208,–

24 Aug. 1932      Temporary ashore 70%                                                    208,–

02 Sep. 1932       Temporary ashore 100%                                                 208,–

15 Sep. 1932       Temporary ashore                                                         without wages

12 Oct. 1932       Temporary ashore                                          70%          208,–

27 Oct. 1932       2nd Officer                          Damsterdijk                         208,–                   Port Watch

06 Nov. 1932      Temporary ashore                                          70%            208,–

12 Nov. 1932      2nd Officer                          Breedijk                                   208,–

17 Nov. 1932      2nd Officer                          Rotterdam          70%          208,–

10 Dec. 1932      2nd Officer                          ashore                  70%           208,–

15 Dec. 1932      2nd Officer                          Beemsterdijk                        208,–

29 May. 1933     2nd Officer                          Rotterdam                               208,–

28 Jun. 1933       wage decrease with 5% in accordance with circulaire no 929 dated 27-6-33

01 Jul. 1933         2nd Officer                         Rotterdam 70%                 208,–  70% is cancelled.

09 Jul. 1933         Temporary ashore                                          70%           208,–    70% is cancelled

13 Jul. 1933         2nd Officer                          Leerdam                                  208,–

23 Aug. 1933      2nd Officer                          Rotterdam                              208,–

10 Oct. 1933       2nd Officer                          Rotterdam          70%          208,–

16 Oct. 1933       Temporary ashore                                                                208,–    Regular leave

01 Nov. 1933      2nd Officer                          Rotterdam                              208,–

28 Dec. 1933      Wage decrease                                                                    187,20  See circ: 929 dated  27-6-33

01 Oct. 1934       Wage decrease                                                                       181,–

27 Oct. 1934       Temporary ashore                                                                181,–    Regular Leave

04 Nov. 1934      2nd Officer                          Rotterdam                              181,–

12 Nov. 1934      Temporary ashore                                                                181,–    Regular Leave

17 Nov. 1934      2nd Officer                          Rotterdam                             181,–

21 May. 1935     Temporary ashore                                                                181,–    Regular leave

26 May. 1935     2nd Officer                          Rotterdam                              181,–

10 Feb. 1935       Act. Chief Officer              Breedijk                                208,–    paid as act. Chief for one voy.

16 Apr. 1935       2nd Officer                          Rotterdam                              181.—

24 Apr. 1935       Temporary ashore                                                                 181,–    Regular leave

04 May. 1935     2nd Officer                          Rotterdam                                181,–

25 Sep. 1936       Act. Chief Officer              Rotterdam                             208,–    At New York

25 May. 1937     Temporary ashore                                                                  208,–    Regular Leave

09 Jun.  1937      Chief Officer                      Breedijk                                    208,–

01 Oct. 1937       According to new Regulation                                      238,25

xx.XXX.1940        Chief Officer                      Drechtdijk                           arrives in Rotterdam on 06 May

Stuck in the Netherlands during the war

13 Aug. 1946      Chief Officer                      Delftdijk                              Until

18 Apr. 1947       Captain                               Eemdyk                                  Until 20 Apr. 1950


09 May.1951      Captain                               Duivendijk                          Until 24 Aug. 1951

28 Sep. 1951       Captain                               Dalerdijk                             Until 30 Dec. 1951

03 Jan. 1952       Captain                               Duivendijk                          Until 29 Apr. 1952

20 May. 1952     Captain                               Almdyk                                  Until 23 Aug. 1952

10 Jun. 1952       Captain                               Groote Beer                        Until 08 Jul. 1955

23 Aug. 1955      Captain                               Maasdam                           Until 04 Apr. 1956

16 Apr. 1956       Captain                               Nieuw Amsterdam         Until 23 May. 1959

01 Nov. 1956      Captain                               Appointed Commodore.

01 Jul. 1959         Captain                               Rotterdam                         Until 16 Sep. 1961

Retired from ship and company.





  1. The Son of Mr. Bouman was in my Class at the Chr. Lyceum in Leiden
    From 1957 -1959. His name is Dick. The father of my friend was 3rd navigation officer. On the schip of Commodore Bouman.

  2. Coen Bouman was the brother of my grandmother, the mother of my mother. In the family the captain-business of Coen were supposed very important. Often his name was mentioned in direct connection with the HAL, his (former) employer. He lived the last part of his life in Rotterdam, very near the Euromast.

  3. Stephen Collett

    January 31, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    I have a ship souvenir sailor (made by Norah Wellings), which I assume the person who originally bought it asked Captain Norman to sign. The name of the ship is on the doll’s hat. The top of the hat was autographed by Captain Bouman. I bought it in Portobello Road several years ago and it’s only just occurred to me to look it up!

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