Volunteers at work

When the renovation of the ss Rotterdam was finished in 2010 still a lot of work had to be done to restore authentic elements. Our volunteers have been working on that through the years, using original materials that were found on the ship. Their craftmanship and enthusiasm have delivered many valuable results. Our volunteers also take care of historical materials like building drawings, menues, daily programs, uniforms and ceramic plates that have been donated to our foundation or given on loan.

Standing from left to right and from upstairs to downstairs: Bertus van de Vis, Alfons Croes, Rob Coolen, Jan Egberts, Ryan Derks, Jan Fahner, Harry Hobma, Henk Salij, Ton Lenselink, Jim Luteijn, Koos Sanderse, Jan-Willem Koene, Paul van Ommeren, Klaas Krijnen, en Jan Tjassens Keiser. Aart Leemans and Jan van Pijkeren are absent on the picture taken by Jan-Willem Koene. Unfortunately Jim Luteijn and Paul van Ommeren passed away on respectively December 11 2020 and September 18 2021. We are very grateful for everything they have done for our foundation.

An overview of our activities

During the first months of 2023 our volunteers continued building the new museum on C deck, registrating and storing the original drawings of the ship in the archive and re-arranging the boatswains store.

Painting the railings of the central staircase with hundreds of details

Restoring the quoits playground and the shuffleboard lanes on one of the sports decks

Putting uv protecting foil on the portholes of the captain’s dayroom

Re-arranging the tools in our workshop:

The arrangement of our new museum is in full swing

Our volunteers Aart Leemans and Harry Hobma worked on the former first class sports deck to restore the shuffle board lanes and the dot that markes the spot where Queen Juliana in August 20 1959 hoisted the houseflag of Holland America Line.

During the last months of 2022 our team of volunteers has been very productive. The ropes of the derricks have been improved, the inventory of the original drawings is work in progress, the Christmas star has been prepared for placing between the smoke stacks and we are building a new museum room on C deck aft.

Restoration of historical boxes of the fire brigade

Renovation of the port and starboard lights in July 2022

Wooden boxes on the bridge wings and painting the banisters in May 2022

Our volunteer Jan Fahner has restored two wooden boxes on the bridge wings. One of them was found after the renovation of the ship and had to be restored. A second one has been built on new by Jan. Our volunteer Alfons Croes is painting the banisters in the central staircase. It is an extensive work, comprising about 1100 bars.

The telegraph has been repaired

In August 2020 a visitor demolished one of the handles of the starboard telegraph. Our member of the board Koos Sanderse took care of the reparation.

Reparation Christmas star

Preparing for Christmas the Christmas star that traditionally decorates the smoke stacks has been repaired by our volunteers Ton Lenselink and Henk Salij.

Restoration of the wheels

Our volunteers are taking care of the wheels in the engine room. Former engineer Roel Valbracht advised us about the right colours. After an intensive cleaning process Alfons Croes presented the first result: a bronze wheel.

Repairing the Christmas star

Ton Lenselink and his collegues spended much time to repair the Christmas star that traditionally is mounted between the smoke stacks in december.


Repairing the railing at the aft staircase

Jan Tjassens Keiser and Henk Salij repaired the railing at the aft staircase near the Lido restaurant.

Work on the bridge

Aart Leemans has produced a display on the cupboards on the bridge with informatie about several instruments. He also reconstructed the periscoop of the magnetic compass, that was damaged.


Cupboards in Ocean Bar

In November 2019 our volunteers restored the cupboards in de Ocean Bar. Some doors of the cupboards had disappeared and the decoration was damaged. Jan Fahner and his colleagues managed it to replace doors at the cupboards and to arrange a new interpretation of the original decoration on the doors. The decoration was produced and fixed to the doors by Printer Pro in Rotterdam.

Tropic Bar restored

In 2018-2019 our volunteers restored the baldachin and cupboards in the Tropic bar. Our volunteer Ton Lenselink produced the following report:

Report Tropic Bar

Our volunteer Jan Fahner after restoring the cupboards   Picture Jan-Willem Koene

Just an ordinary Wednesday on board:



Shuffleboard lanes have been painted on new in October 2018 by Aart Leemans (picture Klaas Krijnen)

Passenger cabin and crew quarters on C-deck in the former laundry


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Pictures Jan-Willem Koene

Rebuilding sliding wall and fence on Upper-Promenadedeck

Duiring liner voyages first class passengers were separated from tourist class passengers bij several sliding walls. During the renovation they have been scrapped. Our volunteers have reconstructed a part of a sliding wall.

An original sliding wall that was hidden behind wooden panelling   picture Jan-Willem Koene

Picture Jan-Willem Koene

The result is a part of a sliding wall. On the left the restorated fence.

Picture Jan-Willem Koene

Restored clocks

Queen’s Lounge  picture Klaas Krijnen

Room 2080 (former cabin 198)  picture Klaas Krijnen

Captain’s dayroom  picture Jan-Willem Koene

Grand Ballroom  picture Klaas Krijnen

Reproduced artwork in inside swimming pool

The reproduced the artwork   picture Klaas Krijnen

Replacing Werkspoor trademark signs in the generator room

The turbo generators were partly produced by Werkspoor. Their four trademark signs on the generators disappeared and have been reproduced.

Picture Koos Sanderse

Picture Jan-Willem Koene

Displaying kitchen machineries and sewing machine

Some machineries from the kitchen have been saved from scrap, as well as some sewing machines and tailor’s worktabels. They are displayed now in the room that was used by the tailors durng the nineties.

Foto’s Jan-Willem Koene

Picture Nelson Arnstein (ca 1988)

Reconstruction of the baldachin in the Tropic Bar

Picture Jan-Willem Koene

Pictures Koos Sanderse

Dressing the ship

Picture Jan-Willem Koene

Rearranging the steering gear room

Thanks to our volunteers the steering gear can be visited now during special tours.

Picture Jan-Willem Koene

Pictures Koos Sanderse

Picture Jan-Willem Koene

Fence on the stairs to the inside swimming pool

The entrance to the pool was closed by a fence. The fixed part of it has been replaced.

Picture Jan-Willem Koene

Restorating the lanterns and replacing the fence behind the platform and on the bar in de Ambassador Room

Picture Jan-Willem Koene

The original situation when the bar was closed  picture Jan-Willem Koene (1999)

The 36 lanterns had to be restorated  picture Klaas Krijnen

Rigging the derricks

Pictures Koos Sanderse

Replacing shuffleboard and quoits

Pictures Klaas Krijnen

Picture Koos Sanderse

Picture Klaas Krijnen

Picture Koos Sanderse

Replacing the boat station signs

Pictures Aart Leemans

Pictures Klaas Krijnen

The captains gallery on Maindeck

Picture Klaas Krijnen

Replacing the aluminum plating at the doors of the elevators and painting the doors red

Picture Koos Sanderse

Picture Klaas Krijnen

Sanding and lacquering the rails

Pictures Koos Sanderse

Reconstructing the Lynbaan showcase

The Lynbaan showcase in 1997  picture Leon Beesemer

Pictures Henk Salij

Picture Jan-Willem Koene

Rebuilding monitor with real time chart on the bridge

Pictures Jan-Willem Koene

Replacing three ventilation shafts

When the ss Rotterdam was built three ventilation shafts were placed on the forecastle to provide the boatswain’s shops with fresh air. But the shafts did also provide the shops with seawater when the ship was in heavy seas. So the shafts were quickly removed. Now the ship is not going to sea anymore the shafts can be replaced. First we had to find them somewhere! Thanks to Interdam, Balck Shiprepair and De Gier Cranes we were able to replace two of them.

Pictures Jan-Willem Koene