Simular to the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines complimentary gift of small ceramic replicas of historical houses, Holland America Line hands out ceramic Delft Blue tiles in various forms and shapes, as part of their Mariner Society Rewards Program.

Since there is no accurate administration, it was not exactly known how many different tiles have been produced on behalf of Holland America Line. For the last 60 years the majority of the ceramic tiles have been manufactured by Royal Goedenwaagen-Gouda in Nieuw-Buinen, The Netherlands. On a global basis a search has been initiated by collectors to make an inventory of all tile editions from Royal Goedewaagen-Gouda. That inventory has now been completed. The number of issued HAL official tile editions is set at 315 pieces. All tiles can be found on this website. Estimated 70 tiles are issued by associated organizations.

My collection consists of 375 tiles and 7 tile tableaus. The items in this collection have been acquired through website and exhibition purchases, through auctions and gifts.

In principle every first day of the month (with exception of the summer months) the picture on the homepage will be replaced; then I also make an update with any new acquisitions.

In the 1930’s, the Holland America Line ships were known as “The Spotless Fleet”. At the time, the Statendam III was “The Queen” of the fleet. This ship with three outstanding smokestacks is depicted on the “certificate of authenticity”, accompaning the newest marine tile distributed to the passengers during a cruise (Mariner Collection series 2019, see the menu News Februari 1, 2019).

In 2005, the well known maritime artist Stephen J. Card, whose original oilpaintings hang on almost all Holland America Line ships, has collected his work in a splendid 225 page photo album published by Carmania Press in London. Presently, he is working with historian dr. Nico Guns on a renewed edition. His unique paintings provide a fitting homage to the ships of “The Spotless Fleet”.

This year with each update, with the permission of Stephen Card, a picture of one of his pantings will be placed on the homepage.

Also in this update, the ms Maasdam takes a central place with a new “maiden call” tile (see menu News).

The ms Maasdam tiles from the Bethlehem-series (menu Earlier Tiles) are a gift from Joop Kap, former HAL-colleague and entrepreneur in Schiedam, collector of shipping memorabilia as well. After the sale of their beautiful canal property in Schiedam, Joop and his wife Hilde moved to an appartment situated on the river Maas in Vlaardingen. Unfortunately, Joop was not able to enjoy this view for long. During our trip with the Maasdam, we received the sad message that Joop died suddenly. The two tiles will always remind me of him.

Painting of the month July: the ss Maasdam (III) moored to the buoys in the harbour of Veracruz c. 1931. Below the walls of the old Spanish fortress castle of San Juan de Ulua, the Maasdam, with the Blue Peter flying from her signal halyard, prepares to sail. Also shown getting underway in the harbour is the Liverpool-bound British steamer Recorder.

Next update: August 1, 2019.