Holland America Line



The Nederlandsch Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatshcappij (NASM) was founded in 1873 in Rotterdam by a group of businessmen who had seen the success of the USA routes of the Royal Dutch Steamship Company (KSNM) in Amsterdam and thought Rotterdam should have its own company. Rotterdam was at that time hampered by not having easy access to the North Sea. NASM established routes to the USA and started with chartered vessels whilst waiting for ordered vessels to be delivered. During the early years there was a trade war with KSNM but the companies struck a deal with NASM being the sole trader operating the New York routes however there was still much competition from other lines.

The company adopted a standard naming policy with all passenger ship names ending in 'dam', while cargo ships had the suffix 'dijk' and later the Anglicised spelling of 'dyk'. The company’s initial house flag design carried green/white/green horizontal bands, with the letters NASM in black on the white band.

In 1897 the name of the company was changed to Nederlandsch Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatshcappij (Holland Amerika Lijn) and the shipping world rapidly began to use the name Holland America Line. By the company’s 25tth anniversary in 1898 it had carried 90,000 full-fare passengers, 400,000 emigrants and 5 million tons of cargo. In 1902 J Pierpont Morgan acquired 51% of the shares in NSDM as part of his scheme to establish a monopoly of the North Atlantic emigrant traffic through his International Mercantile Marine Company. This enterprise was a failure and the only corporate policy that IMMC succeeded in imposing on their independent-minded companies was the requirement to order their new ships from Harland & Wolff.

During WW1, Holland was neutral and NASM was able to continue to trade, focusing on cargo. Neutrality did not protect the ships from mines; a number were lost and a couple more sunk by German submarines – apparently acting without authorisation. This largely profitable business was stopped in 1917 when America entered the war and ships in the USA were pressed into service as either troopships or to carry cargo. More importantly the company was able to buy back the shares owned by IMMC.

After the war the US restricted the number of immigrants and this badly affected trade for NASM as did the Wall Street Crash. The company began operating cruises to employ its passenger ships. New cargo routes were opened to the Mexican Gulf, the West Coast and to the Far East. The company’s transatlantic trade recovered to some extent in the late 1930s and it took over the Red Star Line services from Antwerp.

Holland tried to remain neutral again in WW2, but the country was invaded in 1940. Attempts to hold back the Germans by flooding the country was met with retaliation in the form of bombing raids which flattened most of Rotterdam including much of NASM's property. Ships outside Holland became involved in the war efforts of the Allies; those in Holland were taken over or sunk by the Germans. There were only 10 ships left by the end of the war – less than half the pre-war total.

By 1949 the line was back to 27 vessels but faced difficulties in the following years from protectionism and political issues including the independence of Indonesia. By the 1960s airlines were having a big impact on passenger numbers and cruising became an increasingly important occupation for its passenger ships. NASM entered into partnerships with other lines to introduce containerisation.

During 1968 the company split into separate cargo and passenger divisions. In 1972 the current house flag and livery were introduced, and a major investment was made to adapt the passenger fleet to the higher standards needed for cruising. The company reached its centenary year in 1973 and changed its name to Holland Amerika Lijn NV. It was operating 7 cruise ships, 5 cargo ships and 3 container/LASH ships. The OPEC oil price changes and subsequent world-wide inflation made most of HAL’s operations uneconomic and the company began to incur heavy losses.

HAL's transport division was sold to the Swedish Brostrom Group in 1975 and in 1976 the passenger division headquarters was moved to Manhatten in an effort to improve its performance in the vital US cruise market. The passenger fleet was gradually rationalised and in 1983 the headquarters moved again to Seattle. The small Windstar cruise company was bought as a stand-alone subsidiary and Home Lines was acquired but was integrated into the HAL fleet.

In 1987 Carnival bought HAL. At that time, it had 4 cruise ships totalling 148,597 grt. It was Carnival's first corporate acquisition and it very wisely it established a successful federal structure that allowed HAL to flourish, whilst fully benefiting from Carnival's expertise in the cruise market. HAL is now far larger than at any time in its history. In 2006 the company operated 13 cruise ships totalling 834,684 grt and they carried 730,000 passengers on 6,910,000 cruise/days.


Vessel Type Launched/Completed Tonnage DWT Builder
Aagtedyk No Info 1945?
Aaksdyk Cargo 527,843 G. 1944 Yard No: 533 Gross: 7645 Net: 4635 10600 Permanente Shipyard No 1, Richmond,
Abbedyk No Info 1945?
Akkrumdyk No Info 1945?
Alblasserdyk No Info 1943?
Almdyk No Info 1943?
Amsteldyk No Info 1944?
Andyk Cargo / Passenger 770,600 G. 1946. Yard No: 556 Gross: 8380 Net: 4956 12370 Sun Shipbuilders & Drydock Ltd. Chester, Pennsilvania
Arkeldyk No Info 1945?
Arnedyk Cargo 568,793 G. July 1944. Yard No: 527 Gross: 7658 Net: 4635 10600 Permanente Shipyard No 1, Richmond,
Averdyk No Info 1944?
Bilderdyk Cargo 445,000 G. Aug 1922. Gross: 6855 Net: 4229 G. Vander Giessen & Zonen ,Krimpen.
Blommersdyk Cargo 445,000 G. Feb 1922. Gross: 6855 Net: 4229 G. Vander Giessen & Zonen ,Krimpen.
Blydendyk No Info
Dalerdyk No Info
Damsterdijk Cargo / Passenger 147,630 R. 1930 Gross: 10820 Net: 6390 12450 Wilton's Eng. & Slipway Co. Ltd. Rotterdam.
Delftdyk Cargo / Passenger 723,000 G. 1929 Gross: 10200 Net: 6300 12500 Wilton's Eng. & Slipway Co. Ltd. Rotterdam.
Diemerdyk No Info
Dinteldyk No Info
Dongedyk Cargo / Passenger Oct 1929. Gross: 10220 Net: 6385 Wilton's Eng & Slipway Co. Ltd. Rotterdam.
Drechtdyk Cargo / Passenger 712,000 G. 1923 Gross: 9486 Net: 5800 11800 Harland & Wolff Ltd. Greenock.
Duivendyk Cargo 599,000 G. 1930 Gross: 8338 Net: 4958 10500 Deutsche Werft A/G. Hamburg
Eemdyk No Info 1944?
Gaasterdyk No Info 1950?
Gorredyk No Info 1960?
Grebberdyk Cargo 653,191 G. July 1962. Gross: 7259 Net: 3797 10100 N.V. Wilton-Fyenoord. Schiedam.
Grotedyk Cargo 653,191 G. Aug 1962. Gross: 7251 Net: 3816 10200 Rotterdamsche Drydock. Moats.
Kamperdyk Cargo 435,350 G. March 1959 Yard No: 499 Gross: 5290 Net: 2753 Lubecker Henderwerke, Lubeck
Katesdyk No Info 1961?
Kerkedyk No Info 1958?
Kloosterdyk No Info 1957?
Moerdyk No Info 1965?
Korendyk No Info 1959?
Nieuw Amsterdam No Info
Noordam No Info
Poeldyk No Info 1963?
Rotterdam No Info 1959?
Ryndam No Info 1951?
Schiedyk Cargo / Passenger 613,111 G. Feb 1949 Yard No: 1366 Gross: 7594 Net: 4253 9472 Harland & Wolff Ltd. Belfast
Sloterdyk No Info 1950?
Sommelsdyk No Info 1939?
Statendam No Info
Veendyk No Info 1914?
Veendam No Info 1922?
Volendam No Info 1922?
Volendam No Info 1958?
Westerdam No Info 1946?

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