Holland America to Be Featured in New Exhibit on Ellis Island

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Holland America Line has announced a new partnership with The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the famous landmarks.

The partnership, which celebrates Holland America’s 150-year journey from immigrant carrier to consumer ocean liner fleet, will kick off on October 26th as HAL completes the recreation of its first-ever sailing from Rotterdam to New York City.

rotterdam in rotterdam netherlands
Holland America Line’s Rotterdam VII in Rotterdam, Netherlands (Photo courtesy of Holland America)

It will include onboard video content across the entire fleet created by an Ellis Island researcher, as well as a curated exhibit in the foundation’s History Center launching next year at Ellis Island detailing the brand’s historical prominence in bringing 1 in 10 immigrants from Europe to the United States. The exhibit will remain there from February to April.

The collaboration will launch with a joint talk between Stephen Lean, director of The American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island and Bill Miller, noted cruise historian, detailing the immigrant experience in the late 1800s. The presentation will be available on-demand across all ships in the Holland America fleet.

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“We are excited and proud to partner with Holland American Line to celebrate the line’s impact on Ellis Island history and the U.S. immigrant experience,” said Jesse Brackenbury, president and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. “Holland America Line’s relevance is reflected daily at our Family History Center where historic ship images adorn the walls and visitors learn about their ancestors’ journey to America. We look forward to a longstanding collaboration.” 

ellis island new york city
Ellis Island (Photo courtesy of Pixabay/David)

The cruise line was founded in the Netherlands in 1873 as the Netherlands-American Steamship Company, and was primarily a carrier of immigrants to the U.S. from Europe until well after the turn of the century. Holland America was the first to do away with “steerage class,” renaming it “emigrants class” where — unlike other lines — guests were served three square meals.

Holland America provided everything from doctors and a pre-departure hotel complete with English lessons and classes on American civics to ensure passengers a safe journey across the Atlantic to New York. 99 percent of the immigrants carried on the fleet were cleared for entry through Ellis Island — a tremendous feat at that time.

Holland America’s 150th anniversary transatlantic crossing, a recreation of its first voyage, departed October 15th from the Netherlands. Rotterdam is scheduled to reach New York City on October 26th.

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