Koningsdam’s Senior Officers Have a Combined 95 Years of Company Service

When Koningsdam debuts in April 2016, the ship’s senior staff officers will set sail with a combined 95 years of company loyalty and experience. In addition to the previously announced appointment of Captain Emiel de Vries, the cruise line announced that Hotel Director Stan Kuppens, Chief Engineer Willem Zuidema, Staff Captain Kevin Beirnaert and Safety, Environmental and Health Officer Martijn van Dam will lead Koningsdam’s shipboard teams.

“Holland America Line has an incredible depth of talented and qualified personnel, and we’re thrilled to have Stan, Willem, Kevin and Martijn joining Captain de Vries to head up the onboard teams that will bring out Koningsdam,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “With their knowledge, experience and years of dedication to the company, these senior staff officers are well positioned to ensure that the ship is a successful addition to our fleet.”

Captain Emiel de Vries.

Captain Emiel de Vries.

Meet Captain Emiel de Vries
Announced previously, Captain Emiel de Vries will be in command when Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam sets sail in April 2016. Having been with the company since 1997, de Vries rose through the ranks from fourth officer to captain and has been master of ms Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Rotterdam and ms Zuiderdam. Hailing from the Netherlands, de Vries grew up just east of Amsterdam. He graduated from the Hogere Zeevaart School in Amsterdam, one of the oldest nautical schools in the world, with degrees in navigation and engineering. De Vries was introduced to Holland America Line in 1995 when he interned as a cadet on the former ms Noordam, and since joining the company, he has sailed on every class of Holland America Line’s ships.

When not in Italy at the shipyard, de Vries lives in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, with his wife, Susan, and their daughter.

Stan Kuppens.

Stan Kuppens.

Meet Hotel Director Stan Kuppens
Since joining Holland America Line in 1990, Hotel Director Stan Kuppens has sailed on 12 current ships and four that are no longer with the fleet. In addition to ms Koningsdam, Kuppens was the hotel director who launched ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Noordam and ms Westerdam, the four ships most recently built for the cruise line. He also has worked on ms Amsterdam, ms Maasdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam, ms Statendam, ms Zaandam and ms Zuiderdam.

A native of Nijmegen, Netherlands, Kuppens enjoyed sailing on the rivers and lakes of the Netherlands as a child and he looked for a career that combined his love of travel and his appreciation for hospitality. After graduating from the University of Hotel Management, he came to work for Holland America Line and was selected to be a part of the prestigious Management Trainee Program — a multiyear course that provides training in all aspects of a marine Hotel Department, eventually leading to the hotel director position. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and son.

Kevin Beirnaert.

Kevin Beirnaert.

Meet Staff Captain Kevin Beirnaert
Koningsdam’s Staff Captain Kevin Beirnaert joined Holland America Line in 2006 and worked on Rotterdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam prior to being named to the newbuild team.

Hailing from Gent, Belgium, Beirnaert studied at the Hogere Zeevaart school in Antwerp, Belgium, and worked for freight company Ecuadorian Line and on dredging ships in Dubai, U.A.E. on the Palm Jumeirah Project before joining Holland America Line. Beirnaert resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Meet Chief Engineer Willem Zuidema
Chief Engineer Willem Zuidema joined Holland America Line in 1991 aboard ss Rotterdam after sailing on cargo ships with Nedlloyd. During his career with the company he has served on several ships and was involved in the building of Ryndam and Rotterdam. Prior to being named to the Koningsdam team he was chief engineer on Oosterdam.

A graduate of Marine Engineering College in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the Dutch native from The Hague began his seagoing career as a dual-purpose officer (both deck and engine) before committing to the engineering side of ship operations. Zuidema also holds a Master of Arts degree in international development. He and his wife live in Atibaia, Brazil, and when on leave he is involved in several educational projects in that country.

Martijn van Dam.

Martijn van Dam.

Meet Safety, Environmental and Health Officer Martijn van Dam
Growing up in Aalsmeer, Netherlands, as the fifth generation in a family of shipbuilders, Safety, Environmental and Health Officer Martijn van Dam sought his career at sea when he was 18 years old.

A graduate of Hogere Zeevaart School Amsterdam with degrees in navigation and engineering, van Dam joined Holland America Line in 2000 on the previous Nieuw Amsterdam in the engineering department and has since worked in several capacities on almost all the ships in the fleet. He has also served as a safety and environmental trainer for the fleet.

When he’s not onboard, van Dam lives in a small village at Costa Blanca, Spain, where he is restoring an old farm.

Have you sailed with any of these wonderful officers before? Send them your words of congratulations below!


Join the Discussion


  1. Gail Farrall November 9, 2015 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    I am so delighted to be sailing with husband and good friends on the Koningsdam April 15th for 24 days.

    Hope to meet Captain Emiel de Vries when we sail on your brand new Ship. We reside across Lake Simcoe near Beaverton, Ontario.

  2. sandra hutchins November 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    So excited to see and read about you all. Congratulations. You must be all thrilled and honored to have this opportunity. We have been booked for the Premier cruise for many months and can hardly wait.

  3. Jan Rotterdam November 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Excited to join you on the maiden cruise within 5 months.

  4. Frans Evers November 12, 2015 at 8:09 am - Reply

    We just returned from Ryndam last voyage to Singapore for HollandAmerica and look very much forward to be on Koningsdam’s inauguration voyage to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. We booked that immediately when prebookings were opened. We have to keep or record for having sailed on almost all Dam ships. Zaandam will follow in the fall. Good to have a Dutch captain on this Royal ship!

  5. Herman D. Thompson, Jr November 27, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Holland America ships cannot be surpassed. Our first HAL sailing was on the ms Ryndam in 1997 and we sailed her during her last year of service with HAL. It seemed she improved with age.
    We usually sail according to itinerary, regardless of the cruise line, but we seem to search out HAL’s itineraries when possible (13 so far and looking at another).

  6. Sarah Fowler December 7, 2015 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Having sailed with Captain De Vrfies on ms Eurodam in 2013 I agree that he is an excellent choice for Koningsdam’s inaugural voyages. In addition to his maritime skills he is also very personable. Congratulations to the whole team!

  7. Evert Klasens December 7, 2015 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Excited to meet you on the Atlantic crossing from Rome to Ft.Lauderdale departs on Oct 24th 2016.

  8. Cathy Wolfe December 9, 2015 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Congratulations to ALL of these talented and outstanding people! Would be honored to be sailing on the Koningsdam some day with you all! She looks like a beautiful ship! HAL is also our favorite cruise line, we have been able to make several cruises with them and never disappointed.

  9. Ella van Beekom December 10, 2015 at 3:42 am - Reply

    Van harte gefeliciteerd met jullie benoemingen. Omdat het merendeel Nlander is schrijf ik in het Nlands. We kijken zo uit naar onze reis op de Koningsdam op 9 mei!!!
    We blijven de updates volgen, heel spannend allemaal!

  10. Karl and Joyce Doup February 27, 2016 at 10:43 am - Reply

    My wife and I booked our trip last March 2015 while on our cruise on the ms Oosterdam to Australia and New Zealand. We are very excited about taking the 19 day Premiere Voyage on on the ms Koningsdam leaving April 8, 2016. Holland America Lines does a great job.

  11. Gwen and Casey[Kees] Hoogeveen March 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Since 1991, Gwen and I have only sailed on HAL, WHY? when we come aboard we always are made to feel like we are COMING HOME!!!, There will always be crew members we have sailed with before, be it Officers or any of the Indonesian and Pilipino crew. Looking very much forward to the Christening of the ship and as well. And whatever will be NEW to HAL, the layout continues to somewhat the same, never the less it appears that there are some real innovative additions.

  12. Capt Larry Schulz August 31, 2017 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    My wife and I are sailing on the ms Koeingsdam on Oct 18 for our 20th Anniversary, and I am wondering how I may afforded a bridge tour. I am a Yacht Captain, and am extremely interested to see the ship from the bridge on this beautiful ship.

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