"Royally" Fed Up with RandstadRail

RandstadRail. Photo by Dennis Holtkamp

RandstadRail is a light rail initiative to have quick public transport between the two cities The Hague and Rotterdam. The idea is RandstadRail can use both the tram rail and the train rail network. The only problem is that they are much wider and heavier than ordinary trams. A fact that the The Hague Municipality played down heavily when we organized a protest when the City planned to have RandstadRail driving through our very narrow part of the Laan Meerdervoort in The Hague. Then they claimed our protests were mere NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) protests.

My main complaint is that our part of the long Laan Van Meerdervoort is too narrow for Randstadrail.
What happened yesterday evening proved me right again:

RandstadRail crashes two taxis in one

A TV crew was shooting an interview with a foreign Prince in our small luxe hotel, Haagsche Suites, for a BBC series to be broad casted in spring 2009.
After the shooting I had ordered two taxis, one for the Prince and one for the crew. We had just loaded the crew’s gear, cameras, lighting equipment and tripods in the first taxi. We were saying good bye to the party on the sidewalk. All of a sudden we heard two enormous bangs: RandstadRail had crashed into the second taxi with such speed that the second taxi was smacked at least 5 meter further against taxi number one.

The poor driver of the second taxi in dire need of a replacement car.

I am very glad nobody was standing between the two taxis when it happened and luckily there were no personal injuries. This is not the first time this happens in front of our hotel. A couple of weeks ago RandstadRail crashed a car with a whole family inside it….not sure they didn’t have any whiplash injury then.

Now I really can say I am “Royally” Fed up with RandstadRail!

Rotterdam City Welcomes Back SS Rotterdam

Monday August 4, 2008 the former Holland America Line (H.A.L.) Liner and later Cruise Ship “SS Rotterdam”, Dutch and Rotterdam Pride, was welcomed back in Rotterdam. There it will be berthed to serve as a Hotel, Congress Center, Theater, School and Museum, after extensive renovations. Currently the owner, a Rotterdam Social Building Society, has invested already Euro 175 Mio where they estimated it would cost Euro 25 Mio. It certainly meets some critique.

Technically it is not a Steam Ship, but a Steam Turbine driven Vessel. Anyway, it is not important anymore, because the motors don’t operate anymore. It was towed all the way from Wilhelmshaven in Germany where the major part of the renovation was done including an extensive asbestos cleaning.

Rotterdam City Welcomes Back SS Rotterdam 01

Under the welcoming consorting vessels was a spraying Rotterdam Port Authority vessel.

Rotterdam City Welcomes Back SS Rotterdam 02

Thousands of spectators on shore welcomed SS Rotterdam Back.


SS Rotterdam was launched in 1959 by then Queen Juliana. The wear and tear of 49 years of Ocean cruising is clearly visible here as the hull is reasonably dented.


Four red tugs of Kotug, a relatively small company owned by the Kooren family, proudly push and pull where necessary. It is remarkable that the Kooren Family succeeded to take over almost all towing in Rotterdam Harbor after a long struggle with Smit International. I still remember vividly when the first Kotug Tug arrived in Rotterdam years ago. They got an real grim escort from the whole fleet of Smit International. Grim, because the Smit tugs sailed so close to the new tug that it seemed as if they would like to sink the new competitor. Till then Smit International had the towing monopoly in almost all Dutch harbors and was a stock exchange quoted company with very deep pockets.


Those with an eye for ship design claim this is a vessel with a clear line as opposed to the boxes they create nowadays as Liners or Cruise ships.


The elegand funnels for the steam turbines are very characteristic for SS Rotterdam


I do like its silhouette!


Under the escorting vessels is the former motor yacht “Piet Hein”, currently owned by the Rotterdam Port Authority, but formerly owned by Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard. A super yacht in those days, but dwarfed here against the colossus of SS Rotterdam.


To the left of SS Rotterdam you see a very characteristic office building called “De Bolder” (ie “The Bollard”) serving as main office for the Mammoet company that lifts and transports whole offshore installations, factories and other heavy material over the seven seas. This is located in the city of Schiedam, located between Rotterdam and the North Sea. Schiedam is famous for its Dutch Genever distilleries.


A real Grand Old Lady with a properly curved backside.


On its way to its last Berth. I do appreciated they didn’t demolish or sink it.


I made these photos on board of the Rotterdam River Cruising Vessel “Tourmalijn”, that in a cooperation with AD ( A Rotterdam based News Paper) had provided a free welcome the SS Rotterdam tour of 2,5 hours for those who brought a coupon that was printed in the AD. I really appreciate this clever way of marketing a news paper and a river cruise company to the advantage of the citizens of Rotterdam and elsewhere with less to spend. I hadn’t read it off course, but had to pay only Euro 5.- Kudos for this social thinking of the two companies. There were more than 1200 people on board and it was like a good party as everybody enjoyed this trip tremendously!

See for more photo’s this Flickr Account of Nell a Dutch Photographer and Blogger of High Profile.

Dutch Prime Minister, Mayors of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam: Attention please! (America’s Cup post # 15)

The 32nd America’s Cup match has ended in a most spectacular victory for Swiss Team Alinghi. This means that the 33rd America’s Cup Match will be held in a European city somewhere in 2009, 2010 or 2011. Valencia is a likely city of venue again, as it has been a 100% success for both parties.

Here I have some facts for you from the official America’s Cup site:

The 32nd America’s Cup in concept and figures:

Spectator attendance

  • Total visitors (including Marseille, Malmoe, Trapani and Valencia): 6.4 million
  • Port America’s Cup: 5.7 million
  • Season 2007 (Louis Vuitton Act 13, Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup Match): 2.8 million
  • One-day record of visitors to Port America’s Cup: 87.547 (Sunday 1 July 2007)

Internet www.americascup.com

  • Visits: 22 million (total since September 2004)
    2007 season: 16.6 million (since April 1st)
    America’s Cup Match: 3.4 million
  • Page views: 105 million (total since September 2004)
    2007 season: 70 million
    AC Match: 13.4 million
  • One-day records:
    Page views: 2 156 222 (26 June)
    Visits: 518 612 (3 July)
    Unique visitors: 337 894 (3 July)
  • Newsletter Subscribers: 40 000

TV (provisional data)

  • Viewers: over 4 000 million (total since 2004)
    2007 season: over 2 700 million
    Broadcast hours: over 4 500 hours (total since 2004)
    2007 season: over 2 500 hours
  • Networks: over 100
    Rights Holders: 36
  • Countries reached: over 150
  • Production: 400 hours and over 33 cameras


  • Press articles: over 100 000
  • Accreditations: over 6 700 (total since 2004)
    2007 season: 3 200
    America’s Cup Match: 1 460
  • Written press: 371
  • Photographers: 183
  • Radio: 49
  • Internet: 30
  • Television: 227 journalists and producers + 600 technical personnel
  • Countries represented: 40
  • Publications: over 600
  • Press releases issued: 1 040 (in four languages)
  • Press conferences organised: 75

Port America’s Cup

  • 1 million square meter development including the Marinas with nearly 650 berths and 12 team bases
  • Spectator boat service: up to 12 boats every racing day with around 1 300 spectators on board
  • Spectator boats: 2 000 boats on the race course (final weekend 30 June-1 July 2007)
  • Marinas occupation: over 1 000 boats (2007 season)
  • One-day record: 450 boats
  • Total number of nights sold: 25.000

If you are not bidding already to become the city of venue, please prepare a bid to be one of the cities on the way to the match itself.

  • Amsterdam has a marina in IJmuiden with enough space in place.
  • The Hague is contemplating what to do with its abandoned harbor front. This could be an excellent boost for the area.
  • Rotterdam has a proven track record with the 2006 Rotterdam Stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race with an in shore race in the historically important waters of the Battle of Ter Heide.

So, please mr. Dutch Prime Minister and Mayors of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam: I know none of you have much with sailing, let it be sailing races, but please let the world see the Dutch can rule the waves again! Please take this excellent opportunity to promote one of more of these cities (preferably The Hague of course!). But also please act together and not against each other as you did with the plans for the new Dutch National Historic Museum!

And of course I personally would love to have such a venue in my backyard in The Hague:-)

Added July 20, 2007:
I saw in an article in a local paper that at least one political party in the Board of the The Hague City Counsel has the same idea.

Last edited by Happy Hotelier on February 8, 2010 at 10:58 am [wile waiting for AC33 to start]

Rotterdam: A Small Hotel…in a big city

Today someone told me that yesterday, June 20, 2007, A Small Hotel, 6 rooms only, opened its doors.

More to follow.

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