In celebration of its 140th anniversary, an official christening of the new Holland America Line “Signature” tulip took place in the Netherlands on Friday, April 19 at the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens. President and CEO of Holland America Line Stein Kruse participated in the ceremony along with the President of the Board of Directors of Keukenhof Walter Jansen and Master Grower Jan Pennings.
A white-petal variety with delicate fringed petals was chosen to honor the company that was founded at Rotterdam, the Netherlands, April 18, 1873, as a trans-Atlantic cargo and passenger shipping company. Today the company’s fleet of 15 premium cruise ships sails more than 500 cruises on all seven continents.
“Holland America Line has a deep connection to the Netherlands, and to have a tulip named especially for our company is a true honor,” said Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line. “I can’t imagine a more appropriate way to celebrate our 140th anniversary than to christen our tulip in the world’s most beautiful and famous gardens.”
In a November 2012 ceremony, Holland America Line “Signature” tulip bulbs were handed over from the grower near the windmill at Keukenhof that Holland America donated in 1957. In December, bulbs were planted at the cruise line’s Seattle headquarters and its Southampton, England, office. In addition to collaborating with the gardens to develop the tulip, Holland America Line participated in the annual Bloemencorso Bollenstreek flower parade on April 19 and 20. The line last participated in the parade in 1948 when the company entered a 35-foot flower float modeled on s.s. Westerdam that was awarded first place.
Known as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof is the world's largest flower garden, located in Lisse, the Netherlands. Approximately 7 million flower bulbs of 1,600 varieties are planted annually at the park. The Keukenhof is only open for two months each year, from March 21 through May 20, and attracts more than 800,000 visitors from around the world.