The following are an assortment of views taken from Line issued postcards dated about 1910 which were sold in the ship's shop.
With excerpts from Peter Kohler's book, THE HOLLAND AMERICA LINE, A 120TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN POSTCARDS* and a Holland America Line brochure of about 1910, TWO GIANTS OF THE ATLANTIC.
Built by Harland and Wolff, Belfast. 530 First 555 Second 2,124 Third Class passengers. The Netherland's largest ship from 1908-1938. The First Class accomodation was superb for its day, there being 150 single staterooms and 48 cabins with private bath.
The Promenade Deck. "As a novelty and to contribute to the comfort of passengers, the 'Rotterdam" and the 'Nieuw Amsterdam' have the upper promenade deck partly enclosed on three sides with large windows, which may be opened or closed at will. Everyone who has crossed the ocean has experienced the annoyance caused by the spray blowing over the deck, will appreciate the innovation of being protected by large plate glass windows instaed of by the canvas strips which have hitherto been used. It permits passengers to be outdoors in practically all weather conditions, enjoying their deck games or walks or deck chairs and deriving at all times the full benefit of the invigorating fresh air. The ship's band, composed of skilled musicians, performs here at certain fixed hours."
The Vestibule and the Grand Stairway in First Class. Peter Kohler writes; The ROTTERDAM IV was the first truly de luxe H.A.L. liner and famed for her ornate First Class interiors, including this magnificent staircase which introduced the ship to embarking passengers.
"Leading from deck to deck through spacious vestibules are the broad stairways. They are Y-shaped, with a landing half way, so as to be easiest of ascent, and finished in wrought-iron with polished brass balusters. Standing in the lower vestibule and looking up to the dome surmounting the upper stair landing, a unique view may be had of this imposing structure of stairways, comparing as it does with that of a six-story building, and conveying an idea of the tremendous depth and height of the vessel."
The Social Hall or Ball Room. "This room, covering a floor space of 59 by 39 feet, is beautifully finished in dark polished Spanish mahogony. The beam ceiling, in cream and gold, is filled in with rich decorative panels. The side walls are paneled between the triple windows, the panels being inlaid with figured satinwood and blue ash. A clear screen of beveled glass, cut à la facette, seperates the social hall from the vestibule. Upon entering the visitor is at once attracted by a large tile picture on the wall in front, representing a view of old "Rotterdam" after Klinkenburg, placed over a mantel of superb blue turpin marble. A Steinway grand piano occupies the center of the room. Graceful groupings of sttees and chairs, of a design unlike that usually found on steamships, and upholstered in a soft blue,assist in making this a singularly beautiful apartment, the superior of which is as yet not to be found on the Atlantic."
The Library. "A beautiful apartment, 35 by 28 feet, breathing an atmosphere of repose and quietude so characteristic of its requirements. The walls are paneled, finished in Italian walnut, figured in old gold, style Louis XVI, with alternate triple windows of burnt glass, set in lead. The wall on the entrance side is a clear screen of beveled glass, cut à la facette, surmounted with small windows in carved mahogony frames. The beautiful walnut beam ceiling holds a majestic dome, flanked on all sides by decorative panels. In the forward wall, a massive mantlepiece of deep-green marble, trimmed in gold bronze, and an English fireplace, attract the eye. Over this mantel is seen a picture of Erasmus, while comfortable fauteuils are attractively arranged in front. The opposite wall is taken up by ornamental bookcases holding a choice of literature of various countries. To the right, artistic groupings of divans and easy chairs, upholstered in soft green, making an inviting corner, which will appeal forcibly to all lovers of restful literary enjoyment."
The Palm Court. "This court measures 50 by 42 feet, and is decorated in cream lacquer, period Louis XVI. The walls are adorned with triple windows of decorative stained glass set in gilt bronze, and interspersed with panels representing pictures and scenes of bygone centuries, done in clay, the magnificent and masterful work of the Delft Art Pottery Works. The projecting center of the forward wall also contains an imposing tile picture. A majestic dome or cupola of stained glass surmounts the center of the court, which is made especially attractive by a mass of flowers trailing from a pedestal; palms, ferns, flowers and jardinières abound, grouped in tasteful arrangement. Persian rugs cover the floor, and the furniture, upholstered in golden leather and distinguished by elegance of form and color, unites in graceful harmony with its surroundings. A marvel of beauty and charm, this court is undeniably the favorite lounging place of both ladies and gentlemen, where they may chat over their after dinner coffee, as if in the fashionable restaurant of some first-class metropolitan hotel."
The Upper Smoking Room. "In view of the 'Rotterdam's' great passenger carrying capacity, two smoke rooms have been provided: an upper and a lower one. At the head of the stairway, connecting these rooms, a valuable canvas is seen representing the early city of 'Rotterdam,' after which the steamer was named."
The Lower Smoking Room. "In the wall opposite the lower stair landing, a beautiful hearth and fire place of distinctive design is built, while the paneled walls are ornamented with tiles from the Delft Tile Galleries, representing the works of old and modern masters. With the furnishings in Dutch Renaissance style, the woodwork in stained oak, with tables and easy chairs arranged so as to form corners and sections inviting to sociable conversation, a wonderful harmony of schem prevails, and, true to its aim, the ensemble presents an aspect of cheerfulness which makes these rooms the favorite retreat of the gentlemen."
The Verandah or café-terrace, connects with the upper smoke room. "It is sheltered on three sides, but gives a full view of the ocean (facing aft)." Along with the upper smoke room, palm court and library, these public rooms were located on the Sun Deck. The other public rooms, the social hall and lower smoke room, were found on the Promenade Deck. The first class dining room was on B Deck.
The First Class Dining Room. "Extending over the entire width of the steamer, and covering a floor area of 92 by 74 feet, this most notable room is an achievement in itself, both for size and for the great beauty if its decorative scheme. It offers seating capacity for 500 guests and is equiped with small tables, seating from 2 to 8 passengers each, an innovation which has become extremely popular. In the center, impressive columns in carved mahogony and gold encircle an open 'well' which above the ceiling is closed in by a richly decorated balustrade. The room is finished in Empire style, the color schem being pearl-grey lacquer and gold. The walls, adorned with windows of decorative glass set in brass, are paneled in bas-relief, the panels being intersected by pilasters with gilt bronze capitals. A large buffet in carved mahogony, several smaller buffets, serving tables, and a Steinway piano, complete the furniture of this splendid room, the wonderful harmony in tone and colors of which cannot fail to impress the beholder."
The First Class Dining Room (another view) had square tables and swivel chairs that were fastened to the deck. According to Peter Kohler; In the 1920's, more convivial round tables and free-standing armchairs were installed. Note the lovely shaded table lamps. In those days, dinner dress (white tie for gentlemen) was de rigeur, most evenings.
*Ship Pictorial Publications, Norfolk, England, 1993