When Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam debuts in April 2016, the ship’s senior staff officers will set sail with a combined 95 years of experience, said the cruise line.
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
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 ship.
When not in Italy at the shipyard, de Vries lives in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, with his wife, Susan, and their daughter.
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.
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.
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.
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.