Opening speech by Ed van Lierde



Your Excellency , Ladies and Gentleman,

On behalf of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you.A special welcome to the New Zealand Ambassador, Ms Fry and her husband, a special welcome to the first secretary of the British Embassy, Mr. Fairweather, the former Managing Director of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd, Mr Ruys, the Harbourmaster of the biggest port in the world, Mr. Lems and his wife and of course the representative of the KRL/WRZ association Captain Welter en his wife………………… It really is a great honour to have you in our midst.

Today the sad disaster with the SLAMAT is the reason why we are gathered here …….. Today our hearts and thoughts are completely with the family members of the SLAM AT victims…….. A very warm welcome to all of them. If you would permit me I like to put the spotlights on one special family member, Frans Luidinga. Frans was and is a great and indispensable help in the preparation and operation of this special meeting.

Also in our midst my colleagues, old crewmembers of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd with their partners. A friendly welcome to them too! Thank you all for joining this commemoration.

What this day makes a extra special day is the fact that next of kin of the Slamat crew together with their younger Rotterdam Lloyd colleagues are going to commemorate and to remember the biggest Merchant Navy disaster in Word War II.

Dwelling upon a disaster with all its terrible consequences means a possible next step in the proces of being able to coop with it. Some family members will need this next step, some family members don’t …….. or think they don’t. Paying extra attention to this horrible April 27 – 1941 gives perhaps a little better opportunity to understand and accept.

In that respect I would like to quote the words of a Grandchild of one of the Slamat victims. A few weeks ago she e-mailed me the following words: “Now we can learn more about our Grandfather and also about the Slamat. We are very glad that you have given us the opportunity to honour him”. When I read those words I knew the exact reason why I organized this commemoration.

The Programme of this commemoration shows us that it is time now for the Lecture about the Slamat by Frans Luidinga. In the first place he is here as the son of the Slamat Captain Tjalling Luidinga and secondly he is here to give shape to a special day. If you don’t know of the books he wrote as Maritime Writer ….. than today is your big chance because you can find his very interesting, big and thick books on the reading table in the carport.

To whom it may concern ……. The Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum is a private initiative without sponsors and/or subsidy. I am eager to mark that we, besides our small museum and big website all our efforts are directing to the crew members who sailed the ships of the Rotterdam Lloyd and the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd from 1883 to 1970. We accentuate on the human aspects of the RL and RRL inheritance. Our mission is to interest future generations in what has moved the Rotterdam Lloyd people and how they sailed the seas. How they sailed for the family Ruys, owners and managers of this illustrious shipping company.


And now I call upon Frans Luidinga, he will give his lecture now……………