Nieuw Amsterdam

Column Rotterdam

By Jan Rook

On the day that we submit to the tyranny of commerce surrounding Mother’s Day with its accompanying flowers, boxes of chocolates and perfumes – the packaging of which is often worth more than the content – Feyenoord plays the championship match.

Rotterdam has a special meaning for me. It was there on the Wilhelminakade that my adventure with the steamship (SS) Nieuw Amsterdam began in the 1960s. Before that happened, I went with a colleague from the star restaurant in Heeze to apply for a job with the Holland America Line. My mother advised me to take my papers from the Hogereburgerschool (HBS) with me to Rotterdam because you never know….

Arriving at the Wilhelminakade, my colleague went to human resources to apply. He came back disappointed because he had been rejected. With that, I went in and was hired as Commis de Rang on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The adventure could begin. I had to collect my seaman’s book from an official body.
Once on board, I marvelled at the wine list. I loved reading wine books and the extensive wine list with ridiculously low prices amazed me. Top wines like Latour, Lafite Rothschild, d’Yquem, Corton Charlemagne and the best Chablis were on sale for next to nothing.

Back to Feyenoord. In the 1970s, I bought a ticket in a cafe for the Netherlands-Italy match. To my surprise, I ended up in the section with Italian supporters. It soon became 0-2 for the Azzurri. I was the only one in the room who remained seated at the goals. Stung by a wasp, Johan Cruyff went on the attack and took the score from 0-2 to 3-2. After half an hour, the Italians dropped out and I was left alone here, which by now had emptied….

Today (Sunday 14 May) it is full house for the championship match. No words but deeds. Feyenoord can only lose if some miscreant throws a mug of beer onto the field….

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