The Art of Zuiderdam
When Zuiderdam entered service in 2002, she was given a lively interior with a décor that included bright colors and a décor that was louder than previous Holland America ships. The idea was to attract a younger, more mass market audience. This experimental décor was always somewhat controversial and was not followed in Zuiderdam's successors. Finally in her 2017 refit, the décor was toned down. As a result, the ship's interior is now more like the quiet, contemporary elegance of the rest of the Holland America fleet.
This is not to say that Zuiderdam has not always had an impressive art collection. Rather, the setting for the collection has changed. With a couple of exceptions, it is displayed not in galleries but rather like it would be in someone's home or office.
Holland America's guests tend to be well-educated and sophisticated so a museum-like collection of art and antiques is something they expect. Recognizing this, Holland America not only spends millions to assemble collections for each ship ($2 million in the case of Zuiderdam) but also displays it with good signage providing pertinent information about the works. It also offers self-guided tours of the collections on a number of its ships including Zuiderdam.
The centerpiece of the Zuiderdam collection is a large sculpture suspended in the Atrium featuring a Waterford Crystal seahorse.
In the forward stair tower is a series of paintings by maritime artist Captain Steven Card. Each painting depicts a Holland America ship, The paintings are accurate drawings of the ships but show them as they would look in life rather than like a technical drawing. Thus, Card captures the soul of the ships.
Like Captain Card, contemporary artist Will van der Laan has paintings on other Holland America ships. His works on Zuiderdam relate to the BB King Blues Club and depict jazz and blues musicians performing.
Another standard feature on Holland America's Vista class ships is a wildlife sculpture by the main swimming pool. On Zuiderdam, it is a statue of two polar bears by Susannah Holt.
Inasmuch as the Netherlands is a monarchy, it is appropriate to have paintings of the royal family aboard this Dutch-flagged ship. In the Atrium, Zuiderdam has an Andy Warhol painting of Queen Beatrix, who was queen when Zuiderdam entered service.
Along the same lines, there are a number of works relating to the Netherlands' sea faring heritage. Some are original antiques and some are reproductions.
Placed in various locations in the public areas are reliefs and sculptures that appear to be antiques. However, many are actually contemporary works by Lebigre & Roger inspired by classical or traditional European designs. Similarly, these is a display near the Explorers Lounge of figures in traditional Venetian carnival costumes by Daniel Ogier.
Overall, the Zuiderdam collection enhances the cruise experience. It is varied and nicely presented.
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Above: The Waterford Crystal seahorse in Zuiderdam's atrium.
Cruise ship art collection review - Holland America Line - - Zuiderdam