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Some passengers of shipís February 1951 journey still write each other

Volendam sailed into Canadian history


Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

RICHMOND, California - The campaign to re-assemble post-WWII passenger lists of the Volendam, the ship which ferried numerous Dutch immigrants and other Europeans to Canada, is resonating with many people and seemingly the talk at many socials. A regular trickle of completed forms is received at the Project I Remember (the Windmill Archives), among them a fascinating letter with pictures of the 1981 reunion of a 1951 one-way trip to Canada by four couples and two bachelors.

The party - families Julian Wigcherink (Santpoort), Martin Kruiver (Haarlem), Joe Luijk (Eindhoven) and Anthony Loeffen (Eindhoven), along with three children and two bachelors, Bertus Steenhuis and Harry Loeffen - which had met aboard the Volendam together travelled on to Toronto. There they were rerouted to Windsor where they all found employment and stayed the initial years. The Kruivers emigrated once more in 1961, now to California where they have lived since.

The couples who kept their friendship alive by mail, decided on an anniversary reunion in Windsor in 1981. They were joined by most of their offspring for a total of about 60 people. Only one couple since has died, the others still correspond and exchange cards.

Pier 21

The Volendam already had a decades-old involvement with Halifax, Canada when it was pressed into service to take landverhuizers across the Atlantic in June 1949. The ship made Canadian history when it became the first passenger ship to moor at newly opened Pier 21, the facility which in several ways can be called an equivalent of Ellis Island in New York. The Holland Amerika Lijn (HAL) ship was one of a series owned by the Dutch company.

HAL was one of the shipping lines which played a huge role in populating North America. Hundreds of thousands of emigrants from the hinterland used Rotter-dam as a springboard to cross the Atlantic. HALís ships often were mini-United Nations gatherings with passengers speaking a wide range of languages and dressed in a national costumes.

No official passenger lists exist of the Volendam trips. Project I Remember is asking for family, indivual or multiple family entries so passenger lists can be assembled.

Of the Volendam entries received by Project I Remember, the earliest post-war trip dates from June 17, 1949. The latest is one of the October 24, 1951 trip of which to date one form was received. Of some journeys only a few forms were processed, of others dozens, in total of 15 sailings.

Other ships which did not hand out passenger lists were the Kota Inten and the Tabinta. Much more information on the June 17, 1947 trip of the Waterman is sought as well. No list has ever turned up from that journey, the very first one after WWII.

The address of Project I Remember is in Canada: P.O. Box 3006 Stn LCD#1, Langley, BC V3T 4R3, in the USA, P.O. Box 313, Lynden, WA 98264-0313.