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Ferry van Eeuwen





ms Maasdam

I never voluntarily looked for ships which were on a regular service from point A to point B. I still was a bachelor and preferred to join ships of the "Never Come Home Line as it was called.

Rather than design and build new ships from scratch, H.A.L. decided to redesign the freighter DINTELDYK as a liner. And on top of  immediately the keel was laid for a sister ship, the ms Maasdam. On 30th October 1950 the Line's Director Willem H. de Monchy announced in Rotterdam that DINTELDYK would be renamed RYNDAM (II) and enter service on the Rotterdam-Channel Ports-Southampton-New York run that following summer with a sister named MAASDAM (IV) coming in 1952. Both ships would introduce a revolutionary two-class layout favoring Tourists. The idea was very new and revolutionary for those days.

Furthermore I served as a 3rd Radio Officer on the sister of the Maasdam, the ms Rijndam and also attended the sea trials of the ms Prinsendamss Veendam (ex s.s. Argentina) and ss Volendam (ex s.s. Brasil).


Both sister ships "Maasdam" and "Rijndam" can be seen here at the Holland America Line terminal in New York. For many years this terminal was the gateway to the United States for a lot of people. I can not tell from this picture which ship is which. One of the ships is just leaving the terminal. I judge that from the tugboat's position - pushing full throttle away from the terminal - and the tell tale signs as can be seen from turbulent reverse screw's wake moving to the front of the ship both on the port and starboard side.


The ms Maasdam was in service for the Holland America Line from 1952 - 1968 after which the ship was sold to the Gdynia-America Line. She was handed over on 8th October 1968 at the yard Wilton-Feyenoord in Rotterdam and renamed "Stefan Batory". The ship sailed that same evening from Rotterdam to Gdansk in Poland.


The new profile of the ms Maasdam, now renamed Stefan Batory. I understand that the new funnel was actually built around the old the Strombos Aerofoil streamline funnel which was the ms Maasdam's pride! Any Dutch ship's engineer will look with some horror at the black smoke like it is escaping from an uncontrolled foul volcano eruption instead from a ship's funnel. We got fined, as I remember, for less smoke emission in certain harbors. Probably they are firing up the engine with coal again.....


This is a picture of the very first ms Maasdam with call sign PJST. Built in 1872 by Henderson, Coulborn & Co., Renfrew-Scotland. Keel laying 15th May, 1871 and delivered as ms Maas in October 1872. Gross tonnage 1,705 LxWxH 81,84 x 10,69 x 8,69. Compound steam engine, 4 cyl. 1300 Hp, service speed 10,5 knots. Accommodation for 8 first class and 388 third class passengers, with a crew of 46.


A poster from the old days. The ms Maasdam where I sailed on is number IV. The previous ss Maasdam was torpedoed seven months before Pearl Harbor. Maasdam number V looks likes this:


The 55,451-gross-ton ms Maasdam entered service in 1993. The ship, fifth in Holland America Line's 125-year history to bear the name, is a floating masterpiece of the shipbuilders' art, combining the best of Old World tradition with state-of-the-art modern technology. The 720-foot-long Maasdam carries 1,266 passengers and a crew of 602. 

The Maasdam features a $2 million collection of art and artifacts, continuing a tradition of on-board artwork that has become a trademark of the company's fleet. With the theme of Dutch worldwide exploration, treasures from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries reflect a time of adventure and discovery. Original works of art created especially for the ship also are featured in public rooms and staterooms. The Maasdam features a penthouse suite, 28 suites and 120 mini suites. Each of the 149 suites and deluxe staterooms has a private verandah, a VCR, whirlpool bath and minibar. All staterooms are equipped with sofas, hairdryers, individually controlled air conditioning, telephone with computerized wake-up service, multi-channel music system and closed circuit television. In each room the beds are convertible from one queen size to two singles. Fifty-two staterooms have connecting doors. Six staterooms are equipped to accommodate physically challenged guests.


Renovated 18th century farm  at Zwanegatsedijk 3, Maasdam. Like a lot of villages near a river also Maasdam is surrounded by dikes.

Flour mill "De Hoop" 

Gatsedijk 4, Maasdam

Stone in mill's front shows: 1822.

Like all the other ships of this company the ship was named after a Dutch town or village. In this case Maasdam is a village in the Province of South Holland, the same province where I live.  Quite an idyllic view of a part of the village is shown in the picture above. 

The passenger ships names always ended on 'dam'  and the freighters on 'dijk'. The word 'dam' meaning just that and 'dijk' is of course the Dutch word for 'dike'. Because of all the water in our country there are many places near a dam or a dyke which are named after a river in combination with 'dam' or 'dijk'. The Maasdam and Rijndam are good example, as they were named after the rivers Maas and Rijn (Rhine). The cities of Maasdijk and Rijndijk can also be found on the map. I also served a little while on the Holland America Line freighter ss Andijk.

For more information go to:     Posters!                   Advertising Art (NASM)    The Atlantic's "Great Little Liners" ms Rijndam and ms Maasdam