Holland America Line ships have long been regarded as floating art galleries for their extensive collections of museum-quality pieces. Rotterdam is no exception, and guests are in for a visually rewarding journey with some of the most thought-provoking, striking and bold pieces in the fleet — including historical works and memorabilia from beloved previous sister ships.
Rotterdam’s art collection is valued at more than $4.1 million and was curated by Oslo-based YSA Design and London-based ArtLink, who collaborated with acclaimed hospitality design atelier Tihany Design. The result is a museum at sea with 2,645 pieces of diverse works ranging in value from $500 to $620,000 that spans the decks, public rooms and staterooms.
More than 37 nationalities are represented by Rotterdam’s artists, with the greatest number of contributors coming from the Netherlands, United States and United Kingdom. Artists also hail from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.
Many of the pieces focus on entertainment, showcasing themes of music, dance and movement, weaving the ship’s narrative of a “new sound of cruising” into the art. The works are in many media, including photography, painting, mixed media, illustration, prints and sculpture.
Holland America Line History Finds a Home on Rotterdam
Holland America Line’s newest Rotterdam is the seventh ship in the fleet to bear the name, and some previous works of art from Rotterdam VI, which left the company in 2020, have found a new home on the newbuild. Eight historical paintings are now on Rotterdam, including depictions of Rotterdam I, Rotterdam II, Rotterdam III, Rotterdam IV and Rotterdam V. The ship also hosts three previous Rotterdam ship models, and the bell from Rotterdam VI can be found in the Crow’s Nest.
Fun Facts, Figures and Highlights About Rotterdam’s Art Collection:
Clockwise from left: Harps, a work by Betty Pepper and a Club Orange sculpture.
• The largest and most expensive piece is “Harps,” a 7.5-ton stainless steel sculpture in the Atrium that spans three decks. With dynamic color-changing spot lighting and a mirrored ceiling, the work is a striking focal point on board. “Harps” was produced and designed by ArtLink, based on a concept by Tihany Design. It is valued at $620,000.
• The smallest works are by Betty Pepper, who uses reworked books and adds intricate details and scenes made from old maps. They can be seen in the forward stairwell between decks 7 and 8. The exquisitely small elements are a testament to Pepper’s ability to work at a scale that few artists can master.
• Each of the stairwells has a theme that reaches from top to bottom. The theme of the forward stairs is architecture, midship stairs is music and aft stairs is zoology.
• The oldest artist is Baron Wolman (deceased), born in 1937. The U.S. native was the chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine from 1967 until late 1970. He was ranked among the 20th century’s elite and most collectible photographers.
Clockwise from Top left: Federico Picci, Leva Berlande and Magnus Sodamin.
• The youngest artist is Leva Berlande. The 31-year-old rising artist is a student from Latvia and has a painting featured in the Neptune Lounge.
• As with Rudi’s Sel de Mer on Nieuw Statendam, Master Chef Rudi Sodamin’s son and emerging artist Magnus Sodamin created a visually stimulating mural that adorns the wall in his father’s namesake specialty restaurant on Rotterdam. Called “Oceans Feast,” the work measures 23 feet long and 3.6 feet tall.
• Italian artist Federico Picci contributes conversation starters that tie in magically with the ship’s design. His photographs capture how music would look if we could not only listen to it but see it, too. In one image, balloons float out of a piano, representing the evanescence of something that evaporates in the air as it is created, like the element of sound.
From left: Art by Hans van Bentem, Okuda San Miguel and Yongsun Jang.
• One of the most striking and expensive pieces is a dazzling, illuminated crystal “Key” (treble clef) created by Dutch artist Hans van Bentem for Deck 3, midship. The piece is valued at $27,000.
• Considered among the most avant-garde pieces in the collection is a fiberglass sculpture of an otter in the aft stairwell lobby on Deck 9 by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel. San Miguel is known for his distinctive style of colorful geometric patterns that portray animals, skulls, religious iconography and human figures.
• Yongsun Jang, from Republic of Korea, welds cross sections of stainless-steel pipes to configure clusters of “cells,” then puts it all together to represent different organic beings. For Rotterdam, he created cello and pan flute sculptures for the B.B. King’s Blues Club/Lincoln Center Stage space.
Clockwise from left: Art by Ani Abakumova, Mehdi Ghadyanloo and Lisa Krannichfield.
• In the embarkation area is a work titled “Billie Holiday” by Ani Abakumova. It is made up of 3 miles of threads — 8,000 threads in total. Abakumova’s husband is a mathematician who developed an algorithm that enables her to create images from threads that change color without using paint.
• One of the most valuable works is a mixed media on canvas piece in the forward stairwell lobby on Deck 8 by Mehdi Ghadyanloo, an Iranian artist, painter and muralist known for his gigantic trompe l’oeil–style murals. Ghadyanloo recently had solo exhibitions in Almine Rech’s galleries in Paris and Brussels, and now Holland America Line guests can enjoy his captivating art.
• The vibrant work of Lisa Krannichfield is on display in the Club Orange specialty restaurant. Her pieces meld the border between masculine and feminine and explore what it means to be fashionable and make a statement.
The art aboard Rotterdam comprises one of the finest collections at sea. Guests can admire the decks inside and out and discover inspired works from a global assembly of emerging artists who share the spaces alongside some of the most renowned talent in the world.