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

Eulderink, Willem Hans. biography pending

The following is from the 1983 bio that was used by the company, when Captain Eulderink was selected to command the Noordam on its maiden voyage. the black and white photo is from the same year.

eulderink 1984 smallWhile still in high school, Captain Hans Eulderink had already explored Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, all countries bordering the Netherlands, on bicycle trips with school friends during summer vacations.

He enjoyed this so much that at a young age, he decided that later in his life he had to find a profession in which he could travel beyond these countries and see a lot more of the rest of the world, other people and cultures.

Therefore, he decided to become an airline pilot. But when the time came to begin that education, he found that he was a year too young to start. Because of this, he took the other opportunity and went to the Merchant Marine Academy in Amsterdam. After finishing this school, he applied for a position with Holland America Line in Rotterdam. He started sailing as an apprentice deck officer on HAL ships in August 1956, first on cargo ships and later, while he was working his way up through the ranks, on passenger ships.

In March 1979, he was promoted to captain, with his first command on the passenger ship Volendam. After the Volendam, other commands were on the Prinsendam, Veendam and Statendam IV.

In 1984, Captain Eulderink was chosen to bring out the new Noordam from the shipyard in France on her maiden voyage. He then sailed on that ship for eight years, with a short intermission on the Westerdam.

In August 1992, Captain Eulderink went to Italy for the building of the new Statendam V, brought this ship out on her maiden voyage from the Italian shipyard in January 1993 and since then has had her under his command, with one intermission on the new Maasdam in 1994.

During his years of service with Holland America Line, Captain Eulderink has sailed the company’s ships to almost all corners of the world and considers sailing his hobby, with meeting so many nice and interesting guests on board the passenger ships as a welcome and pleasant break in his hobby.

Captain Eulderink found an understanding wife in a ship’s nurse on one of the Holland America Line ships. They reside in a village located in the center of Holland. The Eulderinks have a daughter and a son.

Capt. Eulderink Hans smallAs will be well know by the old time guests of the company, Capt. Eulderink passed away shortly before his retirement. He was on the last leg of a World Cruise voyage when he was taken off the ship and called back to the hospital at home for further tests. Not long after that he passed away.  I had the privilege to sail with him as 3rd officer for a few years including the first two years of the Noordam 1984 to 1986.   I will add some anecdotes about that later, as Captain Eulderink, nicknamed “Eul” was a great seaman but also a great character.  For the moment I will leave it with the words of Mr. Kirk Lanterman:

To: All Employees                                                                   July 20, 1999

Passing of Captain W. H. Eulderink

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Captain Willem Hans Eulderink.  Captain Eulderink succumbed to cancer at the Academic hospital in Utrecht Holland this morning.  He is survived by his wife, Annelore, his daughter, Liesbeth Christine and his son Hans.

Captain Eulderink served Holland America Line for 43 years and was our most senior Master.  His distinguished career encompassed the captaining of numerous new builds, world cruises and internationally recognized “ship’s of the year.”  His professionalism, dedication and always present good humor will be missed by all who had the good fortune to work with and for him.

Cremation services will be held Saturday morning and the family has requested that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to the Cancer Fund in Captain Eulderink’s name, the address of which will be communicated shortly.


  1. I have sailed with captain Eulderink many times in the early 80ties and up to his passing.
    In the first year of Noordam there was a small basket with eggs on the bridge until the day the first scratches came on the hull in the spring of 1985 in Acapulco due to wind and swell, after that the basket was removed for ever.
    I found him to be one of the nicest persons I have ever met, period, he was also very friendly and fair.
    Even though many of his jokes were always the same, like the one about his quarters, we never had a problem with that.
    He was also very famous for his whistle that he used to blow in the OB of the Noordam and then everybody in attendance had to hold one finger at the ceiling, if not done, you had to buy a round.
    I believe I was on Ryndam when we heard that he had passed away, and I was heartbroken, I loved that man, as many that have sailed with him will have too.

  2. Had the pleasure of sailing with Captain Eul a number of times. Still get a good chuckle out of his speech during Captains Night. “And for the newlyweds on board with us we have prepared a special meal; lettuce alone no dressing”. During my last contract on the Noordam I had my French Canadian wife onboard and Captain Eul and Brigitte hit it off right from the get-go. If there were french speakers on board she was summoned often times by Captain Eul to make the announcements in Frech.
    What a great guy!

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