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Trail of large-scale models HAL liners finds dead end in U.S.

Used for promotion in 1950s

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ROTTERDAM - Former Holland America Line (HAL) employees and other aficionados thus far have come up dry in their quest for long-lost large-scale models of the legendary HAL-ships. Made in the 1950s, the 12-metres long replica’s were used to promote HAL’s cruises throughout Europe and the U.S. It is feared that the models eventually were dismantled and scrapped in the 1970s, likely in North America. The researchers welcome any information or trace about this.

Made in 1958 for HAL, the model of the ‘Rotterdam V’ was used to promote the virtues of the new flagship itself. Soon after the launch of the liner - and while the interior was being finished at RDM shipyard - the 36’ model was displayed at the Coolsingel, in the centre of Rotterdam. Afterwards, it was towed throughout Europe and the U.S. in promotional efforts by HAL, which put the ‘Rotterdam’ into service in September 1959. At the time, it was the largest ships’ model in the world. Photographs from that era show the model on display at the London Stock Exchange and the HAL offices in New York. The most recent photographic proof of the whereabouts of the Rotterdam model dates from 1968 when it was on display in front of the V&D department store in Heerlen, the Netherlands.

Besides a model of the ‘Rotterdam’, the Holland America Line also had large-scale models made of the ‘Nieuw-Amsterdam’ and the ‘Statendam,’ similarly for promotional purposes. A number of photo archives contain press coverage of these huge models, especially when they were on display in HAL’s home port. However, there is no trace of these two models either.

Despite a search and a call for information in Rotterdam newspapers, which offered prizes for the latest sightings of the models, no definite information was received about the fate of these unique replica’s.

There are quite a few smaller-scale models of the ‘Rotterdam’ and other HAL ships in existence, such as the ones at Rotterdam’s Maritime Museum, in private collections and on display in one of the city’s best-known eateries, the Ballentent, which prizes itself on owning a large collection of original HAL paraphernalia. Models of the ‘Rotterdam’ are the subject of a current exhibit at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam, which is initiating the search for the ‘ultimate’ model as well. The Rotterdam-based national daily newspaper Algemeen Dagblad has reported a number of times on the results of the search. Readers of the Windmill Herald who have pertinent information are invited bring such facts to the attention of the museum (, preferably with a copy to the Windmill Herald (tjeerd”at”

While the search for the Rotterdam model still is underway, the authentic liner is undergoing renovations and will return to Rotterdam in 2007, to be permanently berthed in the original homeport.