Rotterdam (5)

david smith
17th October 2004, 12:58
Two shots of the Rotterdam arriving Hamilton, Bermuda

17th October 2004, 20:16
ROTTERDAM was buil in 1959 by Rotterdamsche Droog.At the end 2003 her
name was REMBRANDT (vessel for sale by auction) aquired in 2000.

Jan Hendrik
2nd April 2005, 03:28
Now here is really some nostalgic stuff.
This is the launching of s.s. Rotterdam of the Holland Amerika Lijn (HAL), she was built at the Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij in Rotterdam (RDM) in 1958 and was delivered in 1959.

As a young lad I took these photos with my very first camera, Agfa Clack 60 x 90 mm negatives. Launching date: 13th Sept 1958.
She was the biggest passenger vessel ever built by RDM, 38645 GRT and just 2000 GRT bigger than the "Nieuw Amsterdam".

The next thread will show some pictures upon completion.

Jan Hendrik
2nd April 2005, 03:34
One photo taken in Aug 1959 when the vessel berthed alongside Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam.

The other picture is the official postcard of HAL at the time.

The vessel was well known because of her very unusual funnels at the time.

2nd April 2005, 17:21
Yes Yan the funnel are very strange but she was a good ship!!!.

Jan Hendrik
3rd April 2005, 11:08
There are few launching pictures under "Aurora Australis", "Special Purpose Vessels" , also some tips of sites where you can find more.
Just in case you missed this.

3rd April 2005, 21:02
Does anyone remember a very large model of ROTTERDAM which went the rounds of various exhibition halls when she was new.Seem to remember this at an industries exhibition in Glasgow.

Jan Hendrik
4th April 2005, 09:00
Don't know about this model.
Next time I visit the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam, I will check it out, as there is a model displayed over there.

Jan Hendrik
18th April 2005, 15:18
Just found another photo which I took around 1965.
She either arrives or just left the Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam, which is HAL's own quayside.

John Rogers
19th April 2005, 01:36
Do you have any pictures of the M.S. ZAANDAM?? I just booked a 11 day cruise on her.

Jan Hendrik
19th April 2005, 03:11
Hi Oldsalt,

I have no pictures of the Zaandam, but you can visit following informative sites:
the latter also includes particulars of all ships of the HAL

There have been 2 "Zaandam" vessels prior to this one and all the vessels end in "dam" named after a city in The Netherlands.

Meanwhile enjoy the trip and as this vessel has a theme all about music, then you better don't forget your dancing shoes.

1st October 2005, 07:58
From the same company's photographer[HAL]here a nice shot of her, taken in Alaska area.What will happen to her?That's still a mistery, ended up somewhere on a "crap yard" or will she be back in the city of Rotterdam?She 's still in Gibraltar and will undertake a removal for the asbestos. (
In common with other ships of her age, many of the original construction materials were made of asbestos. Before a renovation could begin, an inventory of the asbestos risks was required. The objective of the asbestos risk inventory was to estimate the quantity of asbestos materials and the possible emissions of asbestos fibres into the atmosphere. It was at this point that RPS Advies BV became involved in the project. RPS operates one of the largest accredited asbestos laboratories in Europe and has a vast experience in asbestos management and risk inventories on ships from around the world.

In order to assess the extent of the asbestos problems, an RPS team visited the SS Rotterdam in the Bahamas in the autumn of 2003. The findings of RDM and RPS only increased their enthusiasm to keep the ship afloat. The SS Rotterdam was found to be almost in her original state with all her famous works of art, halls and lounges still in situ. However, the quantity of asbestos containing materials was enormous. It was concluded from the asbestos inventory that the asbestos in the ship must be removed as much as possible or otherwise coated so that no asbestos fibres could be released into the atmosphere during refurbishment.

It was decided to tow the SS Rotterdam to the port of Gibraltar where the renovation activities could take place. The huge and unique asbestos project is being carried out non-stop during a six month period from August 2004. The asbestos containing materials are being removed and treated by the Cuddy Group, the largest asbestos cleaning company in the UK. The project team “SS Rotterdam” and RPS are supervising the work.

The following techniques have been selected for the removal and coating of the asbestos:

- The asbestos containing insulation material of the pipelines is to be removed by an injection method. This involves inserting a needle into the insulation cladding at distances of 20 to 25 cm. The needle injects a liquid which dissolves the binder course within 24 hours. The cladding can then be easily removed and fibre emissions are prevented as much as possible.

- The sprayed asbestos which was applied to the ceilings is to be impregnated and coated in three coloured layers. The final white coat is about 6 mm thick and provides a completely smooth surface.

Both techniques are applied in an enclosure with a partial vacuum. This is in order to ensure that no asbestos fibres are emitted. Surface samples are taken before work begins and air samples are taken throughout the process.

Because all the asbestos removal takes place in a British territory, the whole operation is performed and supervised in accordance with British HSE directives.

6th October 2005, 21:54

Here the Rotterdam painted by Henk van der Veer, as seen in the '70's. (

7th October 2005, 11:00

Here another Rotterdam, made by Henk, painted with moonlight in front of the HAL building. (

8th October 2005, 02:12
Rotterdam, alongside at Gibraltar, Asbestos removal. Tried to get aboard but sadely couldn't.

Jan Hendrik
2nd December 2005, 00:10
On the grapevine I heard that this vessel will go to an outfitting yard for preservation purposes and prior to that she will drydock most likely this month. I am still getting details and may even get back with photos during the drydocking.
Hereby a photo from 1958 whilst she was under construction at the Rotterdamse Droogdok Mij (RDM)

Jan Hendrik
11th December 2005, 09:44
The ss Rotterdam is going into drydock in Cadiz on Monday for a 6 weeks refit, after which she will go to Polen in order to finalise the asbestos removal prior to her last resting place.
They are currently looking for a suitable berth in Maashaven or Rijnhaven in the old port of Rotterdam.
This means that she will definitely be preserved and becomes a museum ship of some kind.
Through friends I hope to receive photos at regular intervals during the drydocking and can post these accordingly.

11th December 2005, 10:48

As Jan already explained, here some more news:

"ss Rotterdam will goes in dock (7-12-2005) coming weekend, the Rotterdam will be drydocked for the first time after 8 years. She has located since 25 November last in Cadiz at the Navantia yard. These have been among others chosen because of the climate conditions. Another important reason was that the ship went on to this yard,that the yard shortly was available. Painting the ship will confiscate a number of weeks. There is about 28,000 litres painting necessary be needed to cover the complete outside side. The gold-yellow colour and the naming with logo on the ship will be brought back from the the original working plans. The fuselage becomes grey. By the sophisticated painting system the skin of the ship will be conserved for at least 15 years. By the end of January ss Rotterdam is expected to be ready in its original colour and with its original name." See the press bulletin on ( written in Dutch unfortunately.

Jan Hendrik
11th December 2005, 11:23
Thanks for the additional info Ruud, a very interesting site indeed.

And as you may already have guessed Ruud, I know all about the paints, just spoken with my colleague in Rotterdam.
Eventually I can give you the exact litreage used and you may be very close to 28.000 litres.
To put this in perspective: 28.000 li at say an average of 8 Euro per litre = 224,000 Euro, this is only the cost of the paints!!
Surface preparation and application is usually 4 times the cost of the paint, so you are looking at abt 1 million Euro just to freshen her up.......
This is a ballpark figure.

Jan Hendrik
12th December 2005, 05:01
Another photo of her launch 13th Sept. 1958

Photo: Gemeentearchief.

Jan Hendrik
24th December 2005, 23:42
Exciting developments as the vessel entered the drydock in Cadiz.

You can all follow the drydocking and subsequent paintwork below and above water by clicking on the following link which is to be updated daily/weekly as work progresses:
Click on: Stoomschip Rotterdam,
the bottom of the page you find "hier" (here), click for the progress of the drydocking.

Unfortunately it is only in Dutch, but plenty of photos and with somewhat reduced text you would be able to follow the input by my colleagues from Rotterdam Office.

photo: copyright Hempel Rotterdam

Jan Hendrik
2nd February 2006, 04:53
ss Rotterdam in leadlight with stained glass.

Restricted production , size abt. 350 x 270 mm.

8th February 2006, 01:30

The Germans already have a preserved merchant ship, in the form of the CAP SAN DIEGO:

Another interesting preserved merchant ship of the past is the GEORG BUCHNER in Rostock, the former combi-liner CHARLESVILLE of CMB:

She now is being used has a hotel, just like the QUEEN MARY.

Best regards from Lisbon,
Paulo Mestre

Best wishes to the Dutch on this magnificent preservation project.
The Germans I believe have similar ideas with a 50/60's cargo vessel.
The Italians also have something in mind with a vessel presently under the Philippino flag.
The French with typical Gallic nonchalance, let Norway slip through their fingers. Excuse.. asbestos removal too costly.
The Brits have lost Windsor Castle, so what's left?

8th February 2006, 09:46

Found an old negative of her, taken at St.Thomas[Caribbean].Not the best quality after all those years.

12th October 2006, 14:06
After the s.s. ROTTERDAM has been drydocked in Cadiz and the hull repainted in dove-grey, she was towed to Gdanks, Poland where she arrived at the end of February.
In Gdansk they met big problems as down in the refrigerators, some 500 cubic meter asbestos toxic waste was found which was not reported to the Polish authorities.
A lack of licences also occurred and at the end of the story, the governor of Pomorania ordered the ship to leave Polish waters.
She did and was towed to Wilhelmshaven in Germany, where she arrived on 2 September. As stated by the owners, the ship would stay there for six to eight weeks (Wilhelmshaven Port Authorities notes e.t.d. 31 October) during which time the asbestos waste should be offloaded and restoration work of the exterior would be done.
Next Saturday she is in Wilhelmshaven and nothing has been done yet.
Last week I was informed that finally all licences were completed and that the work would start this week. A further delay was not denied nor confirmed. Nor was a return to Gdansk confirmed although the owners have stated that after Wilhelmshaven should return to Gdansk for further refurbishment.

The photo attached is showing the ship in Wilhelmshaven, photographed by me on 6 September 2006.
More photos can be viewed via my website.

K urgess
12th October 2006, 15:46
I was about to post this in "News from Yesteryear" but for those interested here's the model.

From the Illustrated London News, 22nd September, 1962.

Jan Hendrik
13th October 2006, 00:36
Willem, thanks for this , the full story can be viewed as follows:

You also find up to date photos of this ship from the moment she was moved from the Bahamas. Top class photos.


Jan Hendrik
13th October 2006, 00:43
Marconi Sahib, more about models of this ship:


13th October 2006, 10:07
Willem, thanks for this , the full story can be viewed as follows:

You also find up to date photos of this ship from the moment she was moved from the Bahamas. Top class photos.


Hello Jan-Hendrik,

The full story is not only on the Foundation's website, but also on mine.

While the ship was in Gdansk, I received the information about the first ultimatum. Two days later, the Foundation inquired on which day I received that information and stated, just like the PR of the owners did, that this information was not true. However, on that same day, the representative in Gdansk, mr. Hagens, confirmed on Radio Rijnmond that they indeed received that ultimatum.

I know all about the Foundation as I have been a boardmember for several years, but for personal reasons I stepped down in May this year.

Jan Hendrik
13th October 2006, 10:24
Willem, after I posted my reaction then I also saw your other article and understand you were once involved with the foundation.
I deal with a certain person of that foundation now in relation to the usage of some photos as I do presentations about this vessel down under.
I also visited the RDM when they received the model from Madurodam, that was a nice project.
Meanwhile beste groeten,

13th October 2006, 10:51
Hi Jan-Hendrik,

Just take a look into my photo-albums and tell me which I can provide to you as long as you are not involved with ssmaritime.

I can tell you that it was a great pleasure for me to see my old cabin after such a long time when the ship arrived in Gibraltar.

Jan Hendrik
13th October 2006, 13:35
Willem, thanks for your offer . I 've seen your photos but those are similar to the ones I already have and I also received a complete set of over 80 from the drydocking in Cadiz.
I also took photos during her launch in 1958 and several times after that whilst living in Rotterdam.
p.s. I am not involved with ssMaritime, don't know them, have seen their site once I think.

17th October 2006, 12:21
My correspondent in Wilhelmshaven has reported that Turbo-Technik has built a 'container' living/storage building on the quay near the ship. However, there is no sign at all that any work is carried out on the ship, in spite of the information that all licences have been completed and the work would start in the week of 9 October.
Two new photos (made by mr. Cai Rönnau, Wilhelmshaven) can be seen on my website.

17th October 2006, 15:07
Unconfirmed rumours are going around, that because of all problems encountered, the s.s. ROTTERDAM will not return to Gdansk for further restoration.

I wonder if there is a penalty-clause in the contract which was signed in July by the owners and the yard.

Frans Romeijnsen
27th August 2008, 19:19
Hallo, Jan Hendrik, mijn Engels is slecht, dus doe ik het in het Ned..
Ik ben maritiem kunstschilder en ook lid van de ver. van de HAL, dus veel schilderijen van de Rotterdam enz. kijk op en via aanbod naar schepen, als je wilt kan ik je foto,s toesturen, in elk geval bedankt voor je regelmatige bijdrage met nieuwe foto,s.
groeten, Frans Romeijnsen

Jan Hendrik
28th August 2008, 01:14
Hallo Frans, ik zal je een mail sturen.

"Will send you a mail"


9th January 2009, 21:36
I've scanned it for us...

1st February 2009, 10:14
Late in the evening of 30 January, the s.s. Rotterdam was moved 30 meters backwards towards the river and 12 meters out of the quay.
When she was in position, the triangles were fixed to the piles which were driven in the Maashaven.
Moored in this way, the ship can move with the tide and while she is 12 meters free from the quay, no damage to the hull can occur.
My friend Leon and two other friends went into the very cold evening to make photos, which can be seen on my website.

Latest news is that she will be opened for the public in the summer of 2009.

The hotel is now taking reservations for dates after 1 July.

1st February 2009, 13:48
Two photos taken by my friend Leon Beesemer.

Jan Hendrik
6th July 2009, 07:03
Through my contacts I visited the ship last month and after passing a number of security checks, then I spent a bit of time on the various decks and can only conclude that the work won't be finalised end of July as now anticipated.
It is quite possible they open small sections up to the public, but my modest view is that they need another 6 months, perhaps even more.

27th October 2009, 20:53
Last week the owners and operators of the Rotterdam made public that it is doubtful whether the Rotterdam will be open for the public this year. The work on the ship is proceeding very well. The main part of the interior is ready, except for the loose furniture and pieces of equipment. They can only be placed on board with permission of the authorities. The main issue on board now is testing the technical installation.

10th February 2010, 20:00
On 30 and 31 January 2010, two pre-opening visits were organised. I could go on both days and have four photo-albums added to my website.

16th February 2010, 12:20
After having waited for a very long time, the s.s. Rotterdam is now open to the public.
RTV Rijnmond has published some photos

Some 'famous' Rotterdammers, like Gerard Cox (artist) and Bram Peper (former mayor) were invited for an official opening lunch.

According to my daughter they forgot to invite me as to her I am the most famous Rotterdammer she has ever met in her life :) :)

3rd March 2010, 10:38
When visiting the s.s. Rotterdam as a day-visitor or staying on board as a hotelguest, please note that you are not able to see the whole ship.

You are only allowed to go into the Club-room (dinner only), the Lido-restaurant (closed for day-visitors till noon as it is in use as breakfast-room for hotelguests) and the Ocean Bar (too small fror the number of people wanting to get a drink).

All other public rooms, such as the Queens Lounge, the Ambassador, the Ritz and the former diningrooms are closed as they are not run by the hotel, but by the company taking care of conferences.

As a day-visitor and hotel-guest you can buy a ship-tour to see the bridge, the rooms on bridgedeck, the doredeck and the engineroom.

When strolling the outerdecks without taking a tour, you might be sent away.

This is the big issue when a project is run by three companies, i.e. there are three captains on the ship
(Cloud) :mad:

15th March 2010, 23:45
(A)I spent five years working on this most beautiful ship. I am delighted that she has not gone the way of many of her peers - to Alang or ???. The movers and shakers behind the hugely expensive preservation project are to be congratulated.
A rare case of a "Grande Dame" escaping an inglorious end. Thanks to the Rotterdam Preservation group.
Great news this week that the Doulos is to be saved in Singapore. Now all we need is for the US government or private enterprise to do the same with the "Big U".
Long live the Rotterdam!!!!!

16th March 2010, 00:03
Hi Willem,
This news saddens me. I was looking froward to the opportunity of strolling down memory lane on my next visit to Rotterdam [the city] and see [the ship] for the first time in many years. I hope they manage to sort out these issues soon

22nd March 2010, 01:33
There is a newsreel clip, with sound, of Queen Juliana launching the ship in 1958, on the British Pathe site.

It also shows close up film of the original large model.


16th July 2012, 20:06
has anyone stayed aboard as i have booked for 2 nights next month

Jan Hendrik
18th July 2012, 01:31
David, I stayed two nights on board. Excellent cabin and great views, excursion is expensive but worthwile I guess.
There are few restaurants, lido is less expensive and excellent to my opinion.
Carpark in front, proper signage to get there despite the small roads.
You can take the water taxi (jetty just 10 metres from the stern) to the city, they do several stops and just tell them to go to the nearest jetty to town, it is called Spido jetty. takes 5 to max 10 minutes.