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

Snelleman, Cornelis M.

Capt. Snelleman C.M  1958 small

Captain C.M. Snelleman was born on 2 September 1910 in Rotterdam and joined Holland America as a cadet in July 1927.

 As second officer on the Pennland he sailed in the Mediterannean during the 2nd world war. On 15 April 1941, he volunteered to command a rescue team to board an abandoned vessel. Despite the ship being on fire and several direct bomb hits, he managed to save three wounded seamen trapped below decks. For this act of heroism he received the Cross of Merit from Queen Wilhelmina and from the British Government the DSC. 

 In 1961, after 34 years at sea, he transferred to the Nieuw Amsterdam.

 In his later years he lived in Vlaardingen with his wife Toni after having raised three children. One of them a boy, joined HALl lateron as press officer in the 1970’s and 80’s.


Capt. Snelleman meets Eisenhouwer Cancer Society New York on board NA 1961 web

Captain Snelleman is seen here shaking the hand of ex President Eisenhouwer, during a Cancer society – fund Raising Ball – on the Nieuw Amsterdam while docked in New York.


  1. One of them a boy, joined HALl lateron as press officer in the 1970’s and 80’s.

    This is not correct. They never have been press officers.

    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      I do not know what your relation is to the family, but when I was 3rd officer for the new building of the Noordam in 1983/1984 I was in frequent contact with Aad Snelleman who ran “Samenspel” and the press side in Holland. When dealing with “the English side” of things he frequently referred to himself as Press Officer. That is where the phrase is coming from. It might be very well possible that that was not the official title but that is what I heard and thus used.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

      • Laurens van der Laan

        November 3, 2022 at 12:26 pm

        For good order’s sake: Aad Snelleman was not related to Captain Snelleman, as he told me.

        Laurens van der Laan, NASM/HAL historian

  2. Ik schrif een roman over mijn tijd bij de HAL toen ik in 1966/ 1967 op de Nieuw Amsterdam heb gevaren. Kunt u, en bent u bereid om me met een paar vragen te helpen?

  3. If memory serves, I was 3 years old in 1963. On the New Amsterdam. I was watching a Mickey mouse cartoon about him having trouble in some sort of clock factory. Over my objections. My father pulled me out of the theater and brought me up to the captain and introduced me. The captain was kind enough to sound off the foghorn. At least that’s my recollection

  4. In 1965 I was five years old and a passenger on the ship. I remember sitting in the theater watching Mickey Mouse having trouble in some sort of clock factory. My father came in took me out over my objection and introduced me to Capt. Snellerman. If I recall correctly he sounded the foghorn. I have a picture of the encounter. I will share it if you like. Best wishes for the holidays.

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