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

1938 Nieuw Amsterdam (II)

TONN. BRT: 36,287 NRT: 21,496 DWT: 10,429
BUILT AT: N.V. Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
BUILT IN: 1937 YARDNO: 200
ENGINES: Two sets of single reduction geared Parsons quadruple steam turbines by the Koninklijke Maatschappij ” de Schelde”, Vlissingen, the Netherlands.
ENGINE OUTPUT: 35,100 Shp. PROPS: Two (fixed)
SERVICE SPEED: 20.5 Knots MAX. SPEED: 22.8 Knots (Trials)
LENGTH.Over All: 231.20 Meters BEAM Over All: 26.82 Meters
DRAFT: 9.61 Meters at 36.815 tons displacement.
PAX.CAP: 556 in Cabin class, 455 in Tourist class and 209 in Third Class. CREW: 694 maximum.
REMARKS: Bunker capacity 4600 tons of oil at a consumption of 210 tons a day.

Since the introduction of the Statendam in 1929 the company had been thinking about a proper running mate for this ship. Although the company was not interested in gaining North Atlantic speed records, it knew that it had to offer top-notch ships in order to attract clientele. However the depression after the Wall Street crash in 1929 made an investment in such an expensive ship impossible. Government aid would be necessary and the Dutch Government was very leery about subsidizing private company’s both in good times and in bad times. In the Dutch system there was not such a thing as Navy grants so that passenger ships could used as Armed Merchant Cruisers in times of peril as the British were doing; nor was there was the desire to show-off the countries achievements by building a ship of State as the French tended to like. Thus HAL was left on its own to find a way out and unfortunately there wasn’t one. The company continued to develop plans however and speculation was rife in the early 1930,s.

Nieuw Amsterdam Model of proposed new building

There was open speculation about what the name for the new ship would be as can be seen here from a contemporary postcard.

Names such as Prinsendam and Stellendam were mentioned for the new flagship but nothing concrete was happening. The company kept talking to the government and slowly the thinking of the politicians came around. They were not necessarily interested in directly helping HAL but building a big passenger ship in the Netherlands might put the Dutch shipbuilding Industry back on its feet and that idea they liked. Thus the company received a loan on favorable terms and on 4 December 1935 the contract was signed. A request from HAL for an additional loan to build a sister ship was turned down. The Rotterdam Dry – Dock Company was selected as the builder and on 3 January 1936 the keel was laid.

Nieuw Amsterdam 1936 on the blocks

The hull of the Nieuw Amsterdam towering high above the yard on the day of the official launch.

During the construction period the rumors increased about names for the ship but in the end it was announced that the name would be Nieuw Amsterdam and as such the ship was christened on the 10th. of April 1937, by her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. This was the second ship of that name in the company, the first Nieuw Amsterdam of 1906 having been scrapped in 1932. It was by far the biggest ship ever built in the Netherlands date and indeed it did help to get the Dutch shipbuilding industry going again. Not only Dutch companies started to place orders again but also foreign interest perked up. Holland America was well pleased with the quality of the construction and later on ordered the Noordam class of intermediate liners also from Dutch yards.

Before completion there are always the trials to see if everything on board is working properly. Sometimes there is only one, sometimes there are several depending on what is needed or what shipyard and company desire from a point of advertising. In the case of the Nieuw Amsterdam it followed the regular pattern by having two sets of trials. The technical trials were held between 21 and 23 March and the ship was delivered on 23 April 1938 during the official trial trip. The latter was more of a publicity exercise then anything else. However as everybody was very proud of this achievement and as the dark days of the depression were slowly fading, the arrival of the new flagship for the company was a joyous affair. The Nieuw Amsterdam was the biggest ship in the Dutch fleet upon its arrival and remained so until the commissioning of the Rotterdam (V) in 1959.

Nieuw Amsterdam as built

The Nieuw Amsterdam upon delivery getting ready for her North Atlantic service.

Constructed for the North Atlantic service, she commenced her maiden voyage on the morning of the 10th of May 1938, sailing from Rotterdam via Boulogne sur Mer and Southampton to New York under the command of the company’s Commodore Captain J.J. Bijl.

Nieuw Amsterdam commodore JJ Bijl Captain Bijl on the bridge wing of the Nieuw Amsterdam during her official trial trip.

The ship made the crossing in 5 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes.
A rather peculiar part of her construction was the six ventilation slots in the front of the first funnel. These had been put in with the idea that the wind flow through them would lift the soot out of the top of the funnel and so high up in the air that it would not come down onto the decks but behind the ship in the sea. It did the opposite; depositing more soot than ever onto the decks and within the first year of service the gaps were welded shut.

Nieuw Amsterdam 1938 First Panama Canal Cruise

As soon as the North Atlantic summer season was finished the ship started to make cruises and here we see her during her first transit of the Panama Canal in 1938. Note the open slots in her forward funnel.

By the beginning of 1939 the world political situation was becoming more and more un-stable and the company started to prepare for alternatives in case the North Atlantic would become too dangerous. Although the policy of the Dutch government was to remain neutral in case there was going to be a conflict between Germany and other countries; Holland America had no intention to loose its most valuable ship to a U-boat commander who was not paying attention enough before pulling the trigger. Thus after the summer season of 1939 the ship was laid up in New York in September 1939. With the war now being a certainty, the name and homeport appeared in white letters on both sides of the hull. Instead of leaving the ship in lay up, a number of cruises were made in the American hemisphere. Between 21 October and 18 November some cruises were made to Bermuda followed by another series from 23 December (Starting with the Christmas Cruise) to the Caribbean. As these were very successful, the ship kept cruising for the whole of the 1939/1940 winter.

Nieuw Amsterdam 1938 New York spring 1940 together with sloterdyk

The dark clouds of war were gathering over the world and as a result the Dutch ships received their neutral indentification on the hulls. To the right of the Nieuw Amsterdam is the bow of the freighter Sloterdyk which had just been added to the fleet as well.

While sailing from La Guaira to Puerto Cabello on 10 May 1940 the ship is recalled to New York due to the invasion of the Netherlands and laid up on arrival. With the Dutch now involved in the conflict it was to be expected that the ship would be called up for war duty. This took a while as the Dutch Government who had fled the country at the last possible moment had to re-establish itself. For a while the Dutch affairs were ran from Curacao, in the Dutch West Indies, but a permanent seat in exile was set up in London where also Queen Wilhelmina had settled down. A number of exiled governments were now based in London and together with the USA they would later on form the Allied Forces. It took some time to get it all properly set up but by September the governments thoughts had turned to the Dutch Merchant Marine and how its ships could play a part in the war effort. Thus on 12 September 1940, the Nieuw Amsterdam was officially seized by the Dutch Government and handed over to the British Ministry of War Transport. During the First World War the Kingdom of the Netherlands had remained neutral. Which meant; that when in 1917 the USA seized the Dutch ships in a similar way, the Dutch crews had to leave their ships and were returned to Holland. Now with Holland involved in the war, the Dutch crew of the Nieuw Amsterdam could stay and be part of the future liberation effort. The ship was placed under Cunard – White Star management but it remained under Dutch flag and it remained sailing with a Dutch crew. While in New York the ship was shifted from berth to berth a few times and during one of these maneuvers the ship allides with two other ships due to the strong winds blowing. Although the damage was considered un-substantial the repair bill still ran up to $ 100,000. An expensive ship made for expensive repairs.

Nieuw Amsterdam trooping USCG photo

The Nieuw Amsterdam during her war service. I believe this photo comes from the USCG archives although it is not mentioned as such on the photo.

As was expected the ship was converted into a troop carrier for 8000 troops (or 6700 on the long haul) at the Todd shipyard in Brooklyn. The First World War had learned that using passenger ships as Navy cruisers was not very economical to do and that their use near the end of that conflict, as troopships, had worked much better. Partly converted she sails for Halifax and then on 11 October to Singapore for further work and to have 36 anti aircraft guns installed. The ship is ready for service on 22 December and is commissioned under Pennant number 5000. The first trooping voyage commences two days later.

During the duration of the war the ship sails all over the world. Most of the time without escorts as her speed of over 20 knots was considered fast enough to out run torpedoes. Trooping voyages are made in the Far East with Australians and New Zealanders; around the Cape with British troops and a large number of North Atlantic trips where made, where she ran in conjunction with other large passenger ships, all part of the preparation for D Day. During the war she remained crewed by her original ships complement who as a result were away from home for over 6 years. When it was all over the ship had steamed a total of 530,452 nautical miles and carried 378,361 troops. This was a splendid achievement and was not surpassed by any other ship except the Cunard Queens. To put it in perspective; these ships were more than double the size of the Nieuw Amsterdam and had spend most of their trooping time on the North Atlantic shuttle service, while the Nieuw Amsterdam had been sailing all over the world quite often on long voyages instead of short crossings.

On 10 October 1945 the ship is handed back to Holland America but still has to make a number of voyages for the Dutch government. In this case carrying Dutch military and civilians to and from the Dutch East Indies. Released by the Dutch government on the 8th. of April 1946, the ship finally arrives home in Rotterdam on the 10th. of April 1946 after an absence of over six years. Her return home was a momentous occasion for the Netherlands and for Rotterdam in particular. It more or less convinced the Rotterdam Citizens that peace had really returned and that the rebuilding of the city could now start in earnest. The latter was especially poignant for HAL as well. Rotterdam had been severely bombed in 1940 with most of its center completely flattened. This bombing of the city had resulted in the Dutch surrender in 1940 in the first place. For 5 days the Dutch forces had been able to resist the invading Nazi’s by flooding the center of the country and by holding out in strategic places such as the Grebbe Berg near Wageningen. However as the Germans controlled the air, there was very little the Dutch forces could do against their bombers and the bombing of Rotterdam brought about the capitulation. The bombing of Rotterdam had also extended to the port and most of the company’s warehouses and terminals had been flattened as well. It was considered a small wonder that the Main Office at the head of the pier had come through unscathed.

It was to this place that the Nieuw Amsterdam returned and where she had to be refurbished to get back to civilian life. This was not as easy as it might sound. When the ship was requisitioned most of the movable furnishings such as chairs, carpets, bed covers and other not permanently affixed items had been taken off the ship in the various ports where the ship went through the stages of being refitted into a troop ship. At that material had been stored in warehouses some of it quite hurriedly with not the best care taken and now that all had to be returned to Rotterdam somehow. It took the company a while to arrange this but most of it was returned eventually on board Holland America Line freighters. Not all items were still in good condition and could be re-used. Also the more permanent furnishings on board had taken a beating. Soldiers do not tend to be the most caring of people when it comes to temporary accommodation and at the same time, they do enjoy leaving their personal signatures behind; written, painted or engraved. Killroy was here for…………………. (…….various reasons) and other standard graffiti was quite prominently displayed on the once rich and carefully looked after wood paneling. Also “collectors” had been busy in the past years and numerous fittings had simply disappeared. Luckily for items such as hooks, scrolls and other brass or steel pieces, unique to the ship, most of the pre ware molds still existed and items could and were recreated.

On the 22nd. of May the ship was returned to her builders to be refitted to her pre war glory as a passenger ship. Of course the opportunity was taken to change a few things and when she was completed on 15 August 1947, the ship could now cater for 552 in First Class, 426 in Cabin Class and 209 in Third Class. (36,667 Brt.) During cruises only the best cabins were sold and that meant a maximum complement of 750 passengers.

Nieuw Amsterdam 1938 Black hull departing New York color

The Nieuw Amsterdam as she looked like in 1948 sailing from New York to Europe.

The Nieuw Amsterdam returned to service on the North Atlantic on the 29th. Of October 1947 with her first post war departure from Rotterdam. The ship then settled down into a regular routine of North Atlantic sailings in the summer and cruises in the winter. In 1956 the hull is painted gray due to the new color scheme adopted by the company and the new innovation of stabilizers is introduced. Also the whole ship is now fully air-conditioned, including the crew area’s.

Here follow a number of interiors photos of the ship some from 1938 (Main lounge and cinema) and the rest for the 1950’s.

Nieuw Amsterdam 1938 Grand Hall

This shows the Grand Hall or the First Class dayroom. Its modern style caused quite a few raised eye brows with the clientele who had thusfar been used to much darker late Victorian and Edwardian interiors. The ceiling with nude nymphs cavorting around was not universally well received either. When the ship was scrapped, this ceiling was saved and is now on permanent display in the lobby of the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam.

Nieuw Amsterdam First class cinema

The First Class Cinema which also could be used for other performances. A peculiar thing is that the clock, seen on the background wall, could also be found in the theatre of the Rotterdam of 1959 in the exact same location.

Nieuw Amsterdam Entrance first class

The Embarkation entrance and pursers office for the First Class. As this area was one of the focal points of the ship much attention was paid to the lay-out.

Nieuw Amsterdam First class swimming pool

The First Class swimmingpool. As the ship had been designed for the North Atlantic there were no outside pools. A feature that would become an issue lateron in life when cruises where the norm instead of the exception.

Nieuw Amsterdam first class dining saloon color

The First Class diningroom. Located low in the ship so that the motion of the ocean would have the least influence on the passengers during dinner. Note the Orchestra booth in the back, a feature that would return to Holland America when the S-class was built in the 1990’s.

Nieuw Amsterdam first class jungle bar color

The first class bar, called the Jungle Bar. As Holland America tended to be very frugal where it came to publicity budgets, the photographers often resorted in using family and friends as models. They would get a free lunch or maybe a complimentary coastal trip with the ship while the shots were taken but no salary.

Nieuw Amsterdam Tourist class lounge

The Tourist Class day lounge. Compared to earlier ships and their interiors, there was on the Nieuw Amsterdam not so much difference in the quality of the furnishings between the classes. This photo is from after the conversion into a two class ship.

In 1958 the airplanes flying across the Atlantic are for the first time carrying as many passengers as the passenger ships do on the sea and that meant that Holland America had to start paying close attentions to its occupancy figures. It also meant that the accommodation of the Nieuw Amsterdam had to be adapted to the latest insights in passenger trading and that again meant making it as compatible as possible with the new flagship of the company the ss Rotterdam (V) of 1958. The Nieuw Amsterdam had had to wait a long time before the company had been able to build a running mate, but by 1959 this had finally been the case. As a result the Nieuw Amsterdam went for a refit in 1961 and now the 3rd class was abolished. Between the 16th. of August 1961 and 13th. of January 1962 her original builders changed her accommodation lay out to the two-class set up that had been so successfully introduced on the Rotterdam. From now on 574 First and 583 Tourist class passengers would be carried (36,982 brt.) However this accommodation could be switched around between classes and thus in reality the first class could accommodate between 301 and 691 and tourist class between 583 and 973 passengers.

Nieuw amsterdam and Rotterdam first meeting

A meeting of the old flagship and the new one. The ss Rotterdam and ss Nieuw Amsterdam manuvring off Pier 40 in New York.

After a trial trip the ship resumed her service on the North Atlantic on the 20th. of January 1962. Sailings that are continued to be interspersed with cruises. Cruises that are becoming more and more important as the airplanes continue to take away larger and larger number of passengers from the North Atlantic trade.

Problems are also looming on the horizon as the ship is getting older and the machinery that had been put hard to the task throughout the 2nd world war is starting to show its fatigue. Holland America management deliberated for quite awhile about whether to sell, scrap or refurbish the ship, but in the end, to the delight of many of the clientele it was decided to give the ship a new lease of life by installing new boilers. The fact that five surplus boilers could be obtained for a cheap price did help considerably to come to a positive decision.

Nieuw Amsterdam pushing in new boiler

A hole was cut in the hull of the ship and a sort of rail road constructed by which means the old boilers were removed and the new boilers installed. It would give the ship another lease of life.

On the 16th. of August 1967 the ship arrived at the Wilton Feijenoord repair yard in Schiedam, near Rotterdam, to receive these new boilers. Five new boilers, coming from an American Navy ship that was considered obsolete, were brought over by Holland America freighters and were installed. The whole process was completed on 11 December 1967. The ship then returned to continue her Atlantic crossings but also makes an ever-increasing number of cruises. In 1968 an upgrade follows to make the ship compliant with the latest SOLAS regulations.

By 1968 the North Atlantic service for which the Nieuw Amsterdam had been built was coming to an end. All her peers had already been scrapped, sold off or were laid up. Full time cruising was the only option left. So on 8 November 1971 the ship departed for her final North Atlantic voyage from Rotterdam to New York and is then solely used for cruises with sailings from Port Everglades. In September 1972 the ship is registered under the flag of the Dutch Antilles for the N.V. Nieuw Amsterdam, of Willemstad, Curacao, (part of the commonwealth of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.) This was an administrative move to reduce the taxation on the ship, which was becoming a real burden due to the progressive tax measures introduced by the Dutch government around that time.

Nieuw amsterdam in later years

A photo of the Nieuw Amsterdam taken during one of her last years in service. Still proudly showing off her gracefull lines and spacious decks. Items that made her such a favourite with the travelling public.

It did not help very much that the ship was starting to show its age more and more. The steel plates in the double bottom tanks were going and her machinery was deteriorating to such an extent that it was decided to retire the ship on 17 December 1973 after returning from her last cruise. The ship is laid up over Christmas and New Year while the sale to a scrap merchant is being completed and then the Nieuw Amsterdam departs on the 9th. of January 1974 from Port Everglades to Taiwan. The trip goes via Curacao (for bunkers), through the Panama Canal, calling at Los Angeles (for bunkers) and then straight to Kaoshiung where the ship arrives on 25 February 1974 at the scrap yard of Nan Fong Steel Enterprises Ltd. On arrival the pilot comes on board and she is deliberately ran aground for easier dismantling. This process starts on the 16th. of March and is completed on the 5th. of October 1974.

There had been some vague attempts to dock the ship in Rotterdam and to preserve it as a museum, hotel and conference center but no sufficient funding could be found. This was mainly due to the fact that the 1973 oil crisis was going on at that time. A crisis that hit the Netherlands very hard. Petrol was rationed and car-free Sundays were introduced to save fuel. In this atmosphere there was no surplus money available to spend on the preservation of a ship that had been called the “Darling of the Dutch”. Many in the shipping world, then and now and certainly those who sailed on her, did and do consider the Nieuw Amsterdam the most beautiful and well loved North Atlantic liner of her day.

Updated: 29 Dec. 2020


  1. W.J. Fransdonk

    April 1, 2014 at 12:03 am

    I sailed on the nieuw Amsterdam in 1959. As a bellboy and later as a deck stewart before coming to Australia in 1960. Up and down to New York and than a short cruise to the West Indies. It was the best time of my life,

    • Beste mijnheer Fransdonk,
      Zou ik u iets op uw mailadres mogen vragen over het interieur van de Nieuw Amsterdam? Zou fijn zijn als ik u een mail mag sturen.
      Met hartelijke dank bij voorbaat,

  2. My mother and father migrated to the U.S. in 1952 from Germany. My father wrote a book about his life before he died with many fond memories aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam.

  3. I sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam April 15 1969 from New York to Southampton and home late August 1969.The first class ticket was around 700.00 I think I was 15 at the time and it was one of the greatest times I ever had.The QE2 was coming out of Southampton as we sailed in.In later years I took the QE2 and now have car license plates with QE2–QETWO–QETOO–and QE-II four cars now I can’t afford to travel my ship to England.I live on Marthas Vineyard so have sea travel but nothing is as great as ocean travel on two great ships like the Nieuw Amsterdam and the QE2

  4. Mike Wallner
    Is the book your dad wrote out or was it for family would love to read about his time cross the ocean.
    Kendall Harris
    14 Brickyard Rd
    Chilmark Ma 02535

  5. Thank you for this discription. I was looking for some information to match with my family background. It seems that my grandfather on my father’s side managed one of the bars on the ss Nieuw Amsterdam that was built in 1938. His name was Arie Mol and he lived in Rotterdam. In rather scarse family stories about that period of time I was told that he stayed away for a very long time because of the war and that he came back with silk stockings for his wife, which were a grand luxury at that time. It’s also possible that his son, Gerard Lucas Mol, worked on the same ship lateron.
    I don’t know if it’s possible but could you give me some information about this? And I’m especially curious about possible pictures that you might have.
    Thanks in advance for your reaction.

    • Good morning,

      thank you for reading my blog. Your grand father must have left with the ship in 1939 and as it did not return until 1945 he must have been stuck with the ship for the whole war. I have photos of that war time, but it would be a far shot if your grand father would be on one of them. His personnel card will be in the archives and I can look that one up in august, but it will not have much more on it of where he was born and lived before the war and maybe the ships he sailed on if any other then the NA. Same for his son.
      I can try to do that in August if you are interested.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

      • Hello! I am researching Capt J J Bijl, I believe he was my husbands maternal grandfather. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

        • Captain Albert

          April 24, 2019 at 1:55 pm

          Thank you for reading my blog,

          I will contact you from my hobby email as not all information has yet been uploaded.

          Best regards

          Capt. Albert

          • Rodolfo Ravissant

            September 13, 2020 at 8:52 am

            Dear Captain Albert, yesterday I found an interesting drawing on a antique & curiosity market in Amsterdam,Netherlands. On the drawing is written : Jungle Bar …Nieuw Amsterdam Midsummernight Cruise 1966
            It shows people at a bar,a cat,monkeys,a giraffe,a witch and left on the foreground the pianist
            I think this cartoonesque piece is made by Henry M. Bateman, but I’m not sure.
            I would like to send you a pdf with pics of it,but via this way this is not possible.
            Greetings from Amsterdam

          • Thank you for your comment.

            I would be very interesting to see this. If you are willing, you could send me a picture on Captalbert1@aol.com I wonder if this a print, or maybe even an original Jo Spier drawing and would be very interesting.

            Thank you and best regards

            Capt. Albert

  6. I sailed with my family on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam from Rotterdam to New York in the summer of 1958. I was 5 years old and have only scattered memories of the voyage. I do recall the tiny interior cabin my brother and I shared. No doubt my parents could only afford to sail 3rd class. But I can’t be sure, because I distinctly remember seeing my very first movie ever while on the ship– The Vikings, with Kirk Douglass and Ernest Borgnine. And from the descriptions above, it seems the movie theatre (an innovation at the time) was only in First Class. I also had somewhat unpleasant memories of the indoor pool (again only available to First Class passengers according to this website). I was very young, didn’t know how to swim yet, and the tiled sides seems frighteningly deep. So how I remember those two facilities in First Class, I can’t say–unless 2nd and 3rd Class passengers were occasionally allowed in to use the pool and movie theatre. I would love to find the ships deck plans if they are still available as well as the passenger regulations from that time. My last memory of the trip was standing on desk as we sailed past the Statue of Liberty.

  7. Patrick Mooney

    May 15, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    I have a photo of my mother and me on the deck circa 1960. The rescue ring hanging next to my mother identifies the ship as the Nieuw Amsterdam. We took several trips across the Atlantic in the early ’60’s on this ship. I have vague memories of the indoor pool and a porter hunting me down when I had vanished from our room.

  8. My Great, Great Grandad sailed back to the UK from NY (1st class btw, (way to go Great, Great Gramps!! unless everyone was the same during WW2)) in August of ’45 in which was probably her last trip under the White Star flag. I actually have a copy of a photo which I’m lead to believe was taken at the time of arrival showing him being met by his Grandson (my Great Uncle). Unfortunately, there is no detail showing the ship unless she is one of the vessels in the distant background, hard to tell.

  9. Anybody know where to view a schedule for HAL from 1968?
    Thank You.

  10. alfred dernison

    May 15, 2018 at 7:48 am

    In 1946 I went by bike from Leiden to Rotterdam to look at the Nieuw Amsterdam returning from her war job.During the 60 ties I made at various occasion photos of the Nw Amsterdam and HAL Liners.
    Now we still have the Rotterdam as a hotel ship. It is a pity that ship was not my favourite. I missed the yellow funnels that were replaced by two strange chimneys.
    Greetings Alfred

  11. My travel on the Nieuw Amsterdam goes back to a departure date of November 1, 1968 from Rotterdam to Halifax, NS. We arrived on November 8th. Less than a day’s travel from Rotterdam, we laid still in the waters due to some breakdown for about 24 hours. We could still see the coast line of the Netherlands. I wonder if there are any records kept of passenger lists and sample menus of this particular sailing.

  12. Captain Albert, I am so glad I found your blog here on the Holland America site while I was researching the Nieuw Amsterdam.
    I am in possession of a photograph of a beloved aunt boarding the Nieuw Amsterdam.
    From the way she is dressed it appears to be the late 60’s or very early 70’s.
    From what I read above, the ship may of been docked in Port Everglades, which is now my local port.
    She would of flown in from New York City as she is wearing a fur coat.
    Would you be interested in the photo?
    I was wondering if Holland America keeps an archive of images.
    I can email it to you.
    By the way, I am finally booked on my first HAL cruise!
    It’s the April 2019 Nieuw Statendam transatlantic from Fort Lauderdale to Amsterdam.
    Thank you, Mark

    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      Yes I would be very interested in the photo. Maybe there is enough detail that I can pin point the date a little bit better.
      If you could send a scan to CaptAlbert1@aol.com then I will be glad to receive it, with the name of your good aunt as well of course.
      Holland America does not really keep an archive, so I am doing it for them. And my collection will go to the
      Maritime Museum later on, which has a lot of material but it stops in 1973 when HAL left Rotterdam. I am working hard to fill all the gaps.

      Thank you very much for your gift. I will be on the Nieuw Amsterdam from coming October to December 16 (which includes the first voyage
      so keep following my blog and you will see what you can expect for your cruise.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  13. My grandfather was the hiring boss of pier 40 for Holland America. Wondering if you have any photos of the dockeworkers during its time at pier 40 nyc.

    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      There is very little documentation about dock workers in the HAL archives as they did not really work for the company but were hired for the day, or out of the union pool. Your father should have been employed by HAL directly but most of the regular dockworkers were not. I have most of the company periodicals in my collection and there is only one time that dockworkers were really featured and that was with sponsoring the dog mascot at hoboken. This dog was so popular with the dockworkers that they had a bank account for her, so they can care for the puppies which were born on a regular basis.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  14. My father travelled with the troops to England during World War II on the Nieuw Amsterdam. He was a Royal Canadian Engineer in the Canadian Army.

  15. My mother emigrated to from the UK to America on the Niewe Amsterdam in, I think, 1957. She was only 21, recently widowed and had her arm in a cast because she had broken her elbow. She has very fond memories of the trip – despite a particularly nasty storm – and of a young American (an oil man?) who she liked very much and who gave her a large bottle of Channel No 5 which she still had on her dressing table when I was a child in England ( she returned late in 1959)

  16. What a treasure! I’ve been trying to fill in the blanks of what I know from love letters of the radioman, Pieter Wybenga, who did a lot of the radio, sonar, etc. when she was refurbished after the war. He was on from 8/1947 until he married a late friend who worked at RCA in NYC. I’m currently dissecting their story through his HAL onion skin air mail love letters. Would love some input on where his quarters would have been, etc. Finding a deck plan is very difficult for this civilian. I have really fun black and whites. The dockworkers were union ILA. Pieter was on the ship while docked in Hoboken during the days of Blackie, the lab. Would love some guidance for historical accuracy.

    • Captain Albert

      April 6, 2020 at 10:40 am

      Thank you for readng my blog.

      I think I can help, but I need a bit more information then just 8/1947. If you have a bit more, then I can supply more facts of his times and work. Please send me an email on Captalbert1@aol.com

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  17. David Kattenburg

    April 7, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Hello Captain Albert!

    You wouldn’t happen to have a log of the Nieuw Amsterdam’s ports of call during WWII, would you? If so, I’d love to see it.

    Cheers! Stay healthy!

    • Captain Albert

      April 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      Yes I have and in due course it will appear on the blog. In WWII there was a naughty boy on the NA who kept a log, although it was strictly forbidden. But I still have to verify a few dates and that will happen this summer.

      So please bear with me,

      Capt. Albert

      Best regards

  18. I was a passenger on the Nieuw Amsterdam exactly 63 years ago today.
    My parents and three younger brothers sailed from Hoboken, NJ on April 4th, 1957. It snowed that day.
    As a little girl I was mesmerized by the sheer size of her and even now when I look at the First class Day Room I’m still taken with the height of the ceiling and the expanse of the windows on each side. There’s nothing as grand on any of the HAL ships today.
    I also remember very heavy seas and going down to the pool. It was so rough that the pool water was sloshing up to the ceiling!
    The photograph of the Nieuw Amsterdam and the new Rotterdam made me smile, because 10 years later in April 1967 I was fortunate to sail back from Rotterdam on the Rotterdam.
    I have now added to my bucket list a trip to the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam.
    Thanks so much for reminding me of those glorious ships and much simpler times.
    Stay safe and well.

  19. Hi there! Thanks for all the info on the N.A. My Opa, Oma, and two uncles emmigrated in 1950 via the Nieuw Amsterdam according to the manifest I found. It says they were “cabin” class. Was that 1st or 2nd at that time? I am trying to get a better idea of what their experience would have been on their crossing.

    Thank you.

    • Captain Albert

      June 6, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      the class identity was a little confusing. When the ship came out there was first class, 2nd class and 3rd class / tourist class. then it was felt that First Class was a bit too posh a name in post ware austerity and the phrase Cabin class was invented. This was a sort of First Class but now they could also 2nd class cabins under that banner. The other class on board was now tourist class, which gave the option to also place some lower end 2nd class cabins under that banner. It gave more flexibility and people were not put of by being considered too posh (first) or being a poor pauper (3rd)

      I hope this helps

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  20. Hi.

    Just found out my grandfather and his Squadron (22 Squadron) sailed on this ship from Durban on 3rd April 1942. Thank you for a great blog, I really enjoyed reading about the ship. Will mention this in the book I am writing.


    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      Please let me know if you need any illustrations about that period let me know and I will try to help

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

      • How we found out I don’t know, but while getting ready for school on the morning of April 10, 1946 someone in the family cried out exitedly “the Nieuw Amsterdam is coming in” and I, boy of ten, followed a number of older sisters from our square, joined by more and more exited people across the footbridge over the railway yard along Hudson Street, via Speedwel- and Pilgrim streets to the Maasriver bank beween Koushaven and the shipyard of Niehuis where we joined a crowd of hundreds already there. And there she appeared, steaming slowly, majestically past her birthplace at Rotterdam Dockyard. She was sill in war grey, streaked with rust, but the funnels gleamed in fresh company colors, and scores of festive signal flags flew from a line starting at the bow, over the top of the two masts to the stern. All around her crowded a happy crowd of tugs and barges and ferries and director launches, police cruisers and parlevinkers, floating stores for inland ships. It was a homecoming as no other: once again it seemed a liberation, end of the war. For me it remains an equaled memory from my youth.
        In 1973, as shipschandler in San Pedro, Los Angeles, I was on board while she was there for two days for bunkers, en route to the scrapyard in Taiwan, and twice called the Los Angeles Times to alert them about the ship that had carried several hundred thousand allied troops.
        I have wanted to do a painting of that joyous return to rotterdam, and there is one photo on the internet the comes close to what I would like to use. I see a mention of you having “fotos”. What would be very helpful to have a couple of 3/4 approaching profiles in wartime livery of the port side with the main deck at about eye level, or better yet, with eye level about the boat deck, because some way I have to get the crowd in there. Do you possibly have such a picture? All the small stuff that accompanied her I can find or make up.
        Have enjoyed reading about her. It was a gorgeous ship.
        Your help would be appreciated!

        • Thank you for reading my blog.
          It is great to read your own account about the return of the great ship. I will have a look of what I have in my collection and I will send some over from my hobby account.

          Best regards

          Capt. Albert

  21. The scrapping of the SS Nieuw Amsterdam certainly led to a big outcry in the Netherlands and this led to money being made avaliable to have the SS Rotterdam preserved 35 years later.

  22. I sailed in her in the late ‘60’s as an 8 or 9 year old. Westbound, we ran into a classic North Atlantic storm. My mother and brother were out for the count … as were about 98% of the rest of the passengers. At one point, I remember clearly walking into breakfast and the dining room being nearly empty, except for maybe 20 other passengers. The waiters treated me like a king. I also remember only being allowed on the covered promenade … outside being an invitation to vanish. The liner rolled and pitched like little I have been on since, except a few freighters on the North Sea in lousy weather. But unlike modern cruise vessels, nothing moved inside (well maybe glassware on the table). No streams of water running down stairwells. A liner designed for the North Atlantic … nothing better.

  23. Hi. Was going through some of my dad’s letters, photos and other ephemeral. Found an “Assembly Dinner” menu dated Sunday, February 11, 1940, for the Nieuw Amsterdam which on this particular cruise was exploring the West Indies and South American waters. One point of interest is that fellow passengers signed the menu with their name and home address. I am assuming they were my dad’s dinner company for that particular meal. Quite a selection of food on the menu!!!! Many thanks for posting the history of this ship. Interesting read.

  24. April 10, 1946, thousands, tens of thousands of happy people crowded the riverbanks wherever accessable. I ,age10, one of them, at the koushaven entry
    opposite Waalhaven. Unforgettable sight war-grey, rust streaked hull, but the funnels in bright company colors, signaling flags from stem over the two mast to the stern. It seemed that everything that could float crowded around the stately liner coming up from Schiedam, passing Rotterdam Dockyard where she was launched exactly nine years before. It was a second liberation.
    I am making a painting of the scene, but would like more photo material of the scene than I can find on the internet.
    Did you take pictures anywhere along the Maas or Nieuwe Waterweg and would share them?
    Guus van Hoorn
    San Pedro, California

    • Captain Albert

      June 14, 2021 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you very much for your response.

      I will send you some photos from my email. hopefully they will be of use.

      Best regards

      Capt. albert

  25. My father (RAF) returned from Canada on the Nieuw Amsterdam sometime between 1/1/45 and 5/3/45. During the crossing the whole ship’s complement stood at boat stations for a day because of a direct U-Boot threat.
    That same day my mother working in the Admiralty Citadel, Whitehall, London,
    watched on the large wall map as the ship was guided around a suspected U-Boot line. After the war my father gave me and my brother small wooden models of the ship. I think now that he was grateful to the ship for bringing him home safely.
    I wonder if you know what this incident may have been and how I might find about each Westward crossing which Nieuw Amsterdam made between those dates.
    Thanks for commemorating this fine ship.

    • Good morning,

      Sofar I have not been able to find anything inregards to an U boat threat to the ship as the ships crew was under strict orders to keep the information in the ships logs very limited.

      But I do have the voyages Eastbound as mentioned in your updated email:
      voyage 54: Halifax departure 3 jan. – Gourock arrival 09 jan.
      voyage 56: 08 feb. departure Halifax – Gourock arrival 14 feb. –
      voyage 56a: 25/26 feb. departure Halifax – Liverpool arrival 04 march

      I hope this helps

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  26. Reference my email of fifteen minute ago about my father’s return from Canada.
    I typed ‘Westward’. I am of course interested in Eastward crossings by the Nieuw Amsterdam between 1/1/45 and 5/3/45. Thank you.

  27. Thanks so much for details of Nieuw Amsterdam’s crossings.
    This helps me a lot working out my father’s story.
    I can quite see why the ship’s log has no mention of instructions from the Admiralty. So few people knew the source – Enigma decyrpts.

    I’ll let you know if I find more on this.

    Do keep up the blog,

  28. Does anybody have some pictures of the glass art pieces in the Grandhal? They were made by Charles Eyk. Best, Frank

  29. Captain Albert
    I read the blog with interest. My father, who is still alive at 101, sailed on the New Amsterdam from South Africa to Suez in 1942. I was looking for the sailing dates but have been unable to find a schedule of sailings. He sailed to South Africa on the MV Abosso in 1942 just before it was sunk on a return voyage to England. He also sailed on the Athlone Castle from Liverpool to Sydney, departing on Dec 22, 1944. He was in the Fleet Air Arm and was an observer in Swordfish squadron 815.

    • Thank you for your comment,
      The Abosso left for her final voyage from Capetown on 08 October 1942 and was then torpedoed on the 29th. So he must have been on the NA starting with the month October and was leaving Liverpool on December 22nd. again. That only leaves only one option:

      Voyage 35 Departing Capetown on 03 October and arriving at Suez about 14 days later. I have no exact date for Suez but the ship was back in Durban on 31 October. It takes 12.5 days against 19 knots to travel that distance so at the earliest he could have been there was on 16 October. Back to Durban would have taken 11 days, hence there is the window of 16 to 20 October but in reality the most likely date would have been 17 October and disembarked on the 17th or 18th.

      I hope this helps

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  30. A great page honouring a beloved and stylish ship. The Nieuw Amsterdam is widely acknowledged to have been one of the most beautiful ocean liners to ever sail across the atlantic ocean.

    The heart of the Dutch people should be full of regret, at their failure to ensure that this elegant vessel was not retained as a museum; hotel; university; school; maritime training facility; social housing; exhibition venue and / or conference centre.

    PS – Curious that no mention is made that ‘Statendam’ was gutted by fire (& later scrapped) during the German attack on Rotterdam in May 1940.

  31. My dad was on her as a troop carrier in 1942 being transported to Aden from the Suez. I’m currently transcribing his war diaries

  32. It was the original Amsterdam that brought my great grandfather born in Italy to the USA in 1890..so i was intrigued to read about the history of this Amsterdam as well.

  33. My dad sailed on Nieuw Amsterdam from UK 20th? April 1945 to Australia to join a ship in the Pacific fleet, arriving ?May 1945. I am trying to find the exact dates route the ship took and exact transit dates and any ports enroute. Can you assist

    • Good morning from rainy England.

      the dates which I have are as follows. This was voyage 58 of the ship with in command Captain Cornelis Coster. The ship sailed on 22 April 1945 from Gourock and sailed via Gibraltar (27 April) Suez (May 1-3) to Fremantle and Sydney and returned via Durban and Cape town to Liverpool. The ship was in Fremantle between 16 and 18 May and in Sydney (anchored at Point Kembla) between 23 May and 02 June. That was the route, in calm weather and no hiccups as far is recorded. So you will need to find out if your father left in Fremantle or in Sydney.

      Any other questions, please let me know and I will try to help

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

      • My Dad disembarked in Sydney to join a ship sailing with the Pacific fleet towards Japan. Thank you for the info, kind regards

  34. Dick de Waal Malefijt

    May 2, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    Goedemiddag, mijn naam is Dick de Waal Malefijt en zoek de stamboom uit van de Waal Malefijt. Mijn vader Pieter de Waal Malefijt 1920-1993, heeft voor en tijdens de de 2e Wereldoorlog gevaren op met name de Volendam en Nieuw Amsterdam. Periode 1937-1945. Met de Volendam is hij zelfs getorpedeerd door de Duitsers, hij heeft het er gelukkig levend afgebracht. Ik heb al veel uitgezocht, hij is bijv. 42 x in New York aangekomen. Ook heb ik uitgezocht waar met name de Nieuw Amsterdam tijdens de 2e Wereldoorlog heeft gevaren. Maar ik ben nu opzoek naar de monsterrollen van de schepen waar op mijn vader heeft gevaren. Ik heb al veel uitgezocht op welke schepen hij tijdens de 2e Wereldoorlog heeft gevaren. Ik heb ook zijn stamnummer gevonden. Kortom kunt u mij helpen aan de monsterrollen of waar ik ze kan vinden. Ik hoop van u te horen. Met vriendelijke groet Dick de Waal Malefijt.

    • Captain Albert

      May 2, 2023 at 6:58 pm

      Mijn dank

      voor uw email. En dit is zeker mogelijk.

      ik stuur uw een antwoord vanaf mijn eigen email


      Capt. Albert

  35. Helen Perry, PhD (retired)

    July 27, 2023 at 8:03 pm

    Dear Captain Albert,

    I am happy to find your blog. I am attaching here a link to a news article from The Province, a newspaper in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is entitled, “It still takes wood to make a fine boat.”


    It is a story about my late grandfather who was a marine and chemical engineer in the 1930s and 1940s.

    In the article he says how “…in 1937 he designed the salt water evaporator for the Holland America liner Nieuw Amsterdam.”

    During that time, he told about how he met the 103-year old grandmother of the superintending engineer. The article goes on to say that “…because of his great love of ships she presented him with a family heirloom, a leaded-glass window from Henry Hudson’s ship Half Moon, which had been in treasured in the family home in Rotterdam for 300 years…”

    This article has only come to our family’s attention in the last several months, much too late to reach out to our late grandfather. We are curious if (1) this is a true reflection of what happened, for our grandfather liked telling stories, and (2) if it is true about the window, what happened to it and where might it be located. For example, is it in the hands of a private collector or in a museum somewhere? We have searched the memorabilia and documents from the uncle, now deceased, who was the executor of my grandfather’ will, but, to date, there is no evidence or documentation of such an historic object.

    My limited research found that the Half Moon was sunk during a military event in the seas around Indonesia in the early 1600s, so I’m skeptical that the original window survived.

    I am wondering if you had ever heard of the survival of this historic window or its possession by a Holland America line family?

    I have enjoyed reading your very thorough and clear history of this important ship – and the comments from other people. I am most grateful for your time.

    • Captain Albert

      July 30, 2023 at 6:28 pm

      Thank you for your inquiry

      and apologies for only answering 3 days later, but it took me 3 days to dive into my library to see what I could find.
      Gamlen is an English name, not Dutch and brings me to the first problem. When the Nieuw Amsterdam II was buillt, it was to be a ship of State,e.g. built with only Dutch materials and Dutch engineers, otherwise they would not be any government grants. The British and the French did the same thing in those days thus the chance that an Englishman would have been involved would have been very small. He might have been involved in repairs while in New York, or on the west coast during the war. But unless was in holland in the period 1935 – 1937 he would not have been involved in the building.
      Secondly the Half Moon / Haelve Maen. The problem here is that the ship did not have any windows, only wooden hatches to the outside. I do not have drawings of the ship inside, but I have photos of the replica built in 1909 for the Henry Hudson festivities in New York. Those photos also do not give any lead-in-glass windows or decoration. the New Netherlands Museum on the East coast also built a replica some years ago and eventually that ship came to Enkhuizen, the Netherlands, https://halvemaen.nl/ and is open as a museum ship. What photos I could find from that version also give no glass in lead windows.
      Thus I agree with you that it is most likely a nice story to beef up the provenance of the name of the yacht somewhat.

      apologies for not able to confirm a bit of family lore, but I can not find the connection.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

      • Helen N Perry, PhD (retired)

        July 31, 2023 at 9:02 pm

        Thank you, Capt. Albert, for your library search relevant to this inquiry.

        I appreciate your findings and especially your time with your kind reply. It will help us characterize this family lore much as you suggest.

        My sincere best wishes to you,
        Helen Perry

      • Captain Albert: I saw on your blog where you are now retired, but you had plans to keep up with your blog. Is there still a way to reach out to you? Thank you. Helen Perry

        • Good morning,

          yes. I willl keep the blog & website but it will take some time to revamp it, and although it will focus on Holland America, I will be adding other stuff to it, including reports of the cruises my wife and I will be making. (She is planning a lot of them….) Themn there is the 5 book cycle to finish to honor 150 year of HAL. I to III are out, now working on IV and V.

          In the mean time I can be reached on Captalbert1@aol.com.

          Hopefully the website will be up and running again by June.

          thank you for reaching out and best regards

          Capt. Albert

  36. Good evening,
    I believe captain George J. Barends was in command of the Nieuw Amsterdam (II) in May 1940. At that time she was in New York (as was he) and became a troop ship as described. Cpt. G.J. Barendse (Commodore from 1944 onwards) retired in 1946. He came to Voorhout i in 1971 with his wife, enjoying his retirement. He passed away in Voorhout on May 16th, 1981 and was buried in The Hague in cemetary Oud Eik en Duinen. As an amateur historian I am writing his life story as a captain for HAL for our local historical magazine.
    I would very much like to know whether you have pictures of capt. Barendse on board of the N.A.

    Historical Society Voorhout (HKV)

  37. I was on her last voyage with my parents. I was a college student. I was so impressed with the orchestra that played in the balcony as you ate dinner. A stabilizer went out when we were crossing the straight so there were a lot of seasick people. I loved the grand staircase. All the wood made the ship so warm. I was sad when it was scraped.

    • My grandfather, grandmother, mother who was 18 and my Uncle who was 15
      Sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam in November of 1938. They had gotten their passports due to Hitler letting People leave Germany after the Munich conference in Germany. There was Widespread anti-semitism in Berlin, Germany. They were lucky to get out in time. They sailed second class.

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