Captain Jacob Metz. Photo taken in the period 1921 – 1922 (on the cargo ships the captains normally in wore three stripes) (c)

Another of the early captains about whom  very little is known,  most likely due to the fact that he was only 2 years on the passenger (-cargo) ships and thus not very much in the spotlight. Still he spent 34 years with the company and thus a company man from the beginning until his retirement.

He was born on 30 October 1864 at Alkmaar in the Netherland as the son of Jan Metz (painter /decorator) and Aaltje Gerbrands Kruijt.  The records of his Maritime Academy indicate that he had been living in an orphanage for awhile as the entry articles for the Academy were signed by the Director /Guardian  and the secretary of the Orphanage in Alkmaar.  Thus he joined the “Kweekschool voor de Zeevaart” in Amsterdam on 03 August 1878. The Orphanage also paid for the education costs.  His yearly marks indicate that he was a good student although he did not seem to enjoy languages very much.

On 20 July 1882 he is assigned as cadet to the sailing ship NOACH IV. (Capt. Gomes) for a voyage from Rotterdam to Java. Monthly wage was 12 Dutch Florins. He returns from his first voyage on 29 September 1883 with a very good report. On 13 Oct. he re enlists on the same ship for a similar voyage and his pay is now increased to fl. 18,– From this voyage he returns on 01 November 1884.

On 24 Feb. 1885 he passes for his 2nd mates certificate and is discharged on the same day from the Academy with a very good report for skills, behaviour and testimonials received.

Then we lose sight of him in the period 1885 to 1890. It can be assumed that he returned to the sailing ships, maybe even to the same ship. The NOACH IV had been built in the winter of  1874/75 and was thus not yet ready for scrap.

The ss  P Caland. This was ship nbr. 4 of the company and built after Holland America Line (NASM) went public with a share issue in 1873.  The ship was named after Mr. Pieter Caland who was the designer of the New Waterway or “Nieuwe Waterweg” in Dutch. this was the new connection between Rotterdam and the open sea which made the existence of the company possible.

He joined Holland America on   18 October 1890 as 4th. officer just after obtaining his Chief’s Mates’ / Captains ticket.. Not unusual for Holland America to have somebody with a master license and 5 years of experience starting at the lowest rank. Steam was different then sail and passenger ships were different than cargo ships. And Holland America was different than the rest.  He was sent to the ss P. Caland the 4th. ship of the company, built in 1874 when Holland America became a public company.  Promotion goes fast as in 2 years time he has risen to the rank of 2nd officer.

On 17 November 1892 he married at Rotterdam   Margaretha Catharina Hooybergh (born 08 July 1862) who is 2 years older than he is. It is unknown if he met her through a sailing connection. (a) He returns to sea and 5 months later he is promoted to Chief Officer e.g. 2nd in command.

The ss Maasdam (II) which was the first ship of Jacob Metz as Chief officer. this ship was one of a series of ships Holland America bought around that time and which o fcourse helped promotion.  Although the emphasis was on emigrants and other passengers, the ship could still carry a large amount of cargo in 5 holds.

In 1893 he decides to join the Royal Netherlands Navy Reserve (KMR) and is appointed on 01 Jan. 1895 as Leutenant 3rd class. The KMR had been established in 1893 and the company was very keen for as many as its officers to join the KMR as it would help with getting the lucrative postal contracts and keep control of their vessels if they would be seized for war purposes.

Mrs. Margaretha Metz (Photo from around 1990) (c)

In the meantime children start to arrive and in line with the medical and health standards of those days not all survived; including the first one.  All  were born in Rotterdam. (a) (c)

01 – No Name. – Passed away 1893

02 – Daughter  Aaltje (Alida) – born 08 April 1894

03 – Son Jacob Franciscus (Jaap)– born 08.Aug 1897

04 – Son Franciscus Jan  (Frans) – born 13 Sept. 1898

05 – Daughter Catharina Margaretha Leonie (Cathrien)  – born 12 Nov. 1900

06 – Daughter Jeanne Jacoba Gerbrandine  (Jeanne) – born 07 Sep. 1902

07 –No Name  – Passed away 1905

08 –Daughter  Margaretha Catharina Anna –Passed away 1907 – 13 days old

The calling names of the children are in between (). Captain Metz was known as Grandfather Job in later life.


The ss Soestdijk (I). This ship was built in 1900 and was a full cargo ship and one of the first for the company after it had decided to split up the  fleet in passenger ships and cargo ships.  The impressive steam cloud on the bow is a caused by the steam blowing out of the safety valve of the anchor winch.

He was promoted to Captain in 1902 and in accordance with the company policy was assigned to a cargo ship and was then to work his way up to the more prominent ships. This was not easy as there were a large number of captains in roughly the same age group. 2 months difference in joining date could mean years of waiting for an assignment to the more prominent passenger ships. Also those of same age, but having joined as cadets, would be higher up in the pecking order.

The ss Leerdam (II). Captain Metz was assigned to her after her first voyage and it would be his last ship. She had been built as part of a series of four sisterships, The ss Edam, ss Werkendam, ss Spaarndam and ss Leerdam. They were passenger cargo ships and had been especially designed for the service from Rotterdam via Spain and Portugal to Cuba and the Gulf of Mexico ports. This photo shows the ship with two funnels. Most photos show only one funnel as the 2nd one, which was a dummy ,was removed in 1935.

He retired in 1924 at the mandatory age of 60 and settled down in the Village of Ede in the eastern part of the Netherlands. For unknown reasons this town always had, had a large number of Holland America officers living there. Maybe because it had a direct train connection with Rotterdam.

Captain Jacobus Metz behind his desk on either the ss Edam (IV) or the ss Leerdam ((II) Shortly before retirement (c)

He passed away on 02 November 1933 not at home (left Ede on 13 Sept. 1933) but in a town called Oegstgeest. He was survived by his wife who passed away in 1937.


(a) Family information E.A Kruidhof

(b) Stamboeken of the Holland America archives as held by the City of Rotterdam Municiple Archives.

(c) Mr. Herman Bouwman. Grand son of the captain and son of Jaap Metz.

Last updated: 2023 October 15

Voyage List: (b)

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

1885 – 1890 No sailing Information.

Obtained:  2nd mate’s ticket on 12 Feb. 1885

Obtained: First Mates ticket on 11 Sep. 1890

18 Oct.  1890       4th. Officer                       P. Caland                              30,–

19 Jan.1891         4TH. Officer                       P. Caland                              40,–

17 Feb. 1891       4th. Officer                         Schiedam                            40,–

22 Mar.1891       3rd. Officer                          Veendam                            50,–

05 Apr.  1891       2nd. Officer                         Maasdam                            70,–

12 Nov. 1891       2nd Officer                           Didam                                   70,–

14 Nov.1891       2ND Officer                          Maasdam                            70,–

28 Nov.1891       2nd Officer                         Spaarndam                         70,–

17 Dec. 1891       2nd Officer                           Maasdam                            70,–

22 Jul.    1892       act Chief Officer               Maasdam                            90,–

06 Oct.  1892       2nd Officer                           Maasdam                            80,–

12 May.1893       Act. Chief Officer             Maasdam                            100,–

25 jun.  1893       2nd Officer                           Maasdam                            80.-

27 Oct.  1893       Act. Chief Officer             Maasdam                            100,-

16 Dec. 1893       Chief Officer                      Obdam                                 100,–

01 Feb. 1894       Chief Officer                      Didam                                   100,–

15 Jun.  1894       Chief Officer                      Obdam                                 100,–

05 Sep. 1894       Chief Officer                      Amsterdam                        100,–

31 Mar. 1895       Temporary dismissed for service with the Royal Dutch Navy Reserve.

02 Jul.    1895       Chief Officer                      Dubbeldam                        100,–

29 Jul.    1895       Chief Officer                      Werkendam                       100,–

12 Feb. 1896       Temporary dismissed for service with the Dutch Royal Navy Reserve.

17 Aug. 1896       Chief Officer                      Amsterdam                        100,–

12 Jul.    1897       Temporary dismissed and put on standby.

03 Aug. 1897       Chief Officer                      Veendam                            100,–

08 Oct.  1897       Chief Officer                      Werkendam                       100,–

13 Nov. 1897       Chief Officer                      Veendam                            100,–

After the sinking of the ss Veendam (I) on 7 Feb. 1898, arrived with  SS St.Louis on 12 Feb. 1898 in New York.

Returned with the ss Spaarndam on 13 Feb. 1898 as passenger to Rotterdam. Arrived on 25 Feb 1898 and was temporarily dismissed.

26 Mar. 1898       Chief Officer                      Obdam                                 100,–

16 Jun. 1898        Returned with the ss Edam as passenger to                                                              Rotterdam from NY. due to sale of the ss Obdam.

24 Aug. 1898       Chief Officer                      Amsterdam                        100,-

22 Mar. 1899      Temporary dismissed due to illness

05 Apr.  1899       Temporary dismissed due to service for the Royal Navy for 3 months

12 Jul.    1899       Chief Officer                      Maasdam                            100,-

08 Dec. 1900       Chief Officer                      Amsterdam                        100,–

17 Jul.    1901       Chief Officer                      Statendam                          100,–

22 Jan.  1902       Temporary dismissed and on standby

22 Feb. 1902       Captain                                 Soestdijk                             200,–

08 Apr.  1902       Chief Officer                      Potsdam                              100,-

01 Jan.1903         Promoted to Leutenant 1st. class Royal Navy.

05 Mar. 1903       Chief Officer                      Noordam                             100,–

21 Nov. 1904       Chief Officer                      Sloterdijk                             100,–

01 Dec. 1904       Act. Captain                        Sloterdijk                             150,–

15 Mar. 1905       Wages adjusted to                                                          200,–

27 Mar. 1905       Chief Officer                      Potsdam                              200,–

26 Sep. 1905       Captain                                 Soestdijk                             200,–

09 Apr.  1906       Captain                                 Sloterdijk                             200,–

01 Jan. 1911       Due to change in wages adjusted to                        300,–

30 Jan.  1914       Captain                                 Oosterdijk                           300,–

01 Aug. 1914       Due to mobilization of the Dutch Forces back to the                                          Royal Navy.

19 Oct.  1914       Captain                                 Oosterdijk                           300,-

01 Jan.  1916       Wages increased to                                                        350,–

13 jun.  1917       Temporary ashore due to illness.

07 May 1918       Captain                                 Sloterdijk                             350,–

01 Aug. 1918       Wages increased to                                                        400,–

01 Jul.    1919       Wages increased to                                                        750,–

01 Jan.  1920       Wages increased to                                                        775,–

15 Oct.  1920       Wages increased to                                                        800,–

16 Oct.  1921       Wages decreased to                                                       735,–

24 Oct.1921         Captain                                 Edam                                     735,–

16 Jan.  1922       Captain                                 Leerdam                              735,–

03 Nov.1923       Temporary ashore

01 Apr.  1924       Put on standby wages and retired.

02 Nov. 1933      Passed Away at the age of 69.