An Employee’s Journey Takes Her Back to 1893

Person smiling at Holland America Line corporate office.

Kristen Bass, fleet training specialist, has a personal connection to Holland America Line that extends long before her first day with our cruise line 10 years ago. In fact, it goes back to a transatlantic journey in September of 1893. 

Archived image of Holland America Line cruise ship in late 1800s.

Nearly 130 years ago, a young couple in their 30s was preparing for a journey of a lifetime. Adriaan and Johanna De Lint were farmers in the Netherlands, and together they were raising seven children who ranged from two to 10 years of age. They had their eyes set on a new life in the United States of America, and it would take a two-week transatlantic journey to get there. They boarded the Veendam with Holland America Line and set sail.  

“To have such a large group come over together was no small task,” Bass said.  

After their journey, they settled in Orange City, Iowa, a Dutch community named after William of Orange. They returned to farming, and as their children grew, some migrated to the west coast. Little did they know that the same company that brought them to the U.S. would also be where their great, great, great, great granddaughter would plant her professional roots. 

It felt so weird knowing how many things had to align for my family to get to America, and then 130 years later, here I am working for the company that brought them over. They gave them the opportunity to start fresh, and by doing that, they gave me the opportunity to come work for Holland America.”  

View of cruise passenger list from Ellis Island in 1893.

Passionate about family history and wanting to know more about her own, Bass got on and discovered one of her relatives on an Ellis Island passenger list. That’s when the story began to unfold, and she realized that Holland America Line played a role in her family’s past and present. It’s also what makes Holland America Line’s 150th anniversary celebration even more meaningful for her. 

There have been many moments throughout her research when she wondered what her great grandparents would have thought about the connection they share. 

“I think they [Adriaan and Johanna] would be excited to know that the same company that brought them over to give them a new start was also providing career opportunities for their great, great, great, great granddaughter. And I think they would be proud to know that that history is still here. That choice they made by choosing Holland America Line has transformed into a huge piece of our family history. It just feels right. I’m supposed to be here.” 

Learn more about Holland America Line’s history, explore passenger lists dating back to the 1900s and check out the Ellis Island exhibit if you find yourself in New York through early May 2023. 


Join the Discussion

One Comment

  1. Capt. Albert Schoonderbeek April 25, 2023 at 3:13 am - Reply

    Good morning.

    Very nice and impressed to see that you traced your heritage. I can not see the booking form clearly, but the Veendam (I) made two voyages in September 1893. Both under the command of Captain Herman Coene van der Zee.
    Voyage 37 departed from Rotterdam on 23 August at midnight and called on the same day at the French port of Boulogne Sur Mer. she then made an unusual stop in Plymouth the next day to collect the passengers from the Maasdam. That ship had a broken crankshaft and called at Plymouth for repairs. The Veendam then arrived in New York on 02 Sept. Voyage 38 commenced on 23 September and sailed via Boulogne Sur to New York where the ship arrived on 04 October. I hope this helps best regards Capt. Albert Schoonderbeek HAL Fleetmaster and company historian.

Leave A Comment

Sign up for special offers and announcements