Visiting the Rotterdam in Rotterdam, next to Rotterdam
Rotterdam Travel Blog› entry 993 of 1090 › view all entries
It has become some kind of tradition. Every home leave I spend a day doing a nice activity together with my orchestra friends Sana and Arnoud. And today was such a day. Sana had suggested to go to the City of Rotterdam.
Rotterdam is the second largest city in The Netherlands and is well known for its harbor. For years it used to be the largest port in the world. Currently it is the largest in Europe and only the 4th in the world. Rotterdam is the Sister Port of the Port of Seattle, where I was about a month ago.
Although the city houses some interesting architectonic features our goal today were Hotel New York and the SS Rotterdam.
Hotel New York is located in the building which once housed the headquarters and terminal of the Holland America Line. This company is today known as a successful cruise line. It started in Rotterdam in 1873 and was named Holland America Line in 1896. Initially the HAL was one of the large shipping companies that transported immigrants to the New World. The line Rotterdam - New York was a popular one. The HAL also started offering vacation cruises. This is the current core and only remaining activity. Headquarters were moved to Seattle in 1977 leaving the beautiful terminal building vacant. In May 1999 the building re-opened again, as a hotel and restaurant. One of their specialties is the Afternoon Tea.
The main attraction for today's visit was the SS Rotterdam. The Rotterdam is one of the legendary Cruise liners in the shipping history of The Netherlands. The ship, which was built in 1956, is the largest cruise ship ever built in The Netherlands. She was actually the fifth ship in the company that was named Rotterdam. At the time she was constructed the end of the cruise liner era was already nearing. With that in mind the ship was built with the vision of modern cruising in mind.
The Rotterdam started operation in 1959 for her maiden trip to New York. In the same year she also started her cruises. Cruises were made to South America, around the world, Asia, Caribbean, Hawaii, etc. Per 1968 the HAL applied the ship for cruises only. For that purpose she was refurbished in Rotterdam.
Then it went downhill. The new owner went broke in 2000. The Rembrandt was docked in Canada and later laid up in the Bahamas where the ship started rusting for 3 years and 9 months. In the meantime a foundation was established in The Netherlands that tried to save the ship as being Dutch Maritime Heritage.
We arrived by water taxi, which moors right at the stern of the big ship. Especially from that angle the Rotterdam looks impressive. A very nice co-incidence was the fact that at the time that we arrived the successor of the SS Rotterdam, the Rotterdam VI, was docked almost next to her predecessor.
Arnoud and I took a tour into the engine room where a very enthusiastic guide explained all the ins and outs of the engine section, which is mainly intact. Later on the three of us took a tour over the more common areas of the ship. The atmosphere of the sixties is still present. It feels like going back in time. I can very well understand why this ship was so much appreciated by the cruise public.
Thank you Sana and Arnoud for this nice day!
More pictures below!