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Historical footage Holland America Ships (1956)


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Came across a dramatized promotional film about the port of Rotterdam.


Story is narrated in Dutch unfortunately without subtitles, but in short is a story about a reporter showing an important foreign guest all of what the port of Rotterdam is about, back in 1956.

(Waterfalls around minute five are not in the Netherlands, but show the river Rhine near its start in Switzerland and which end up in Rotterdam, where all the river traffic ends up).


The film has footage of the SS Ryndam II at minute 11:34 arriving and departing again at minute 17:51.


It also shows departure of the SS Nieuw Amsterdam II at minute 17:04.


The other ship showing at 07:08 and 10:54 is the famous Dutch liner “Willem Ruys”, another ship on which many immigrants sailed to and from Indonesia, Australia and new Zealand. This ship was later sold to be the “Achille Lauro” (yes, the one that ended up being hijacked).


For those who have visited Rotterdam on a cruise, you may see some familiar places, like the war memorial of Zadkine at 04:30 and also the very characteristic ventilation building of the “Maas tunnel” at 06:18.


Link to the film;



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22 hours ago, Himself said:

Thanks for posting this great memory.  HAL has come a long way since then.

Or not . HAL at that time had a large fleet of freighters as well , all sold eventually. Last ones early 70’s . Besides the freighters also lots of interests or ownership of companies active in harbor, transport and storage activities.  The company was simply referred to as “ The Line” in the Rotterdam area and everybody knew what you were talking about.

The whole port area of Rotterdam has changed tremendously. Ships getting bigger , introduction of container vessels ,  bulk carriers etc. Most traditional cargo handling is gone and the harbor has extended into the North Sea , especially with the latest reclaiming of land on which Maasvlakte 2 is built. When you sail out of Rotterdam , everything you see on the port side of the ship is part of the port of Rottedam , all the way to Hoek van Holland, which is on the starboard side just before entering the North Sea.

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Almost at the end , the “ Groote Beer” , a former Victory ship ( ss Costa Rica Victory) which was rebuild into a passenger ship . Mainly for carrying immigrants . It was managed by the HAL.

In 1963 , a Rotterdam newspaper called Het Vrije Volk, chartered the Groote Beer and the Waterman , another converted Victory, to transport football fans from Feyenoord Rotterdam  to Lissabon for the semifinal of the European Cup against Benfica. An epic journey for several thousand fans. Too bad we have take airplanes today to go to European away matches....

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