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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer
“Memories of the JVO”
Johan van Oldenbarnevelt
MS Johan van Oldenbarnevelt
Chapter One – Part One
The Pride of the
Please Note: The JVO feature is slowly being updated. Chapter One, Parts One & Two were completed on July 5, 2013.
Please Note: Due to the many photographs used on Chapter One, covering the first part of her life from her building and maiden voyage in 1930 until her being called for duties as a trooper in 1939, whilst updating it with so much new material I had to split Chapter One into Two Parts. I am sure that you will be more that happy with the results!
Maatschappij Nederland” (SMN) or the company became known worldwide, as
the “Netherland Line” was set up in 1870 and grew into a major
shipping company. By 1928 SMN was noted for some fine ships, especially their
newest liner the 16,280 ton m.s. Christiaan
Huygens. Directly after the Christiaan Huygens
returned from her two day trails on January 28, 1928, SMN placed two further
orders with the
The first of the two sisters to be commenced was project number 194 and the second was project number 165. They would become the 89th and 90th ships to be built for the “Netherland Line” and also the most luxurious ever!
The keel for project number 194 was laid down
on Friday, June 29, 1928 and was launched on Saturday August 3, 1929 by
Photo Album ~ Building to Fitting-Out
The building of the JVO (left) and the Marnix (right)
Here we see her Sulser Diesel Engines, built in
Here we see the JVO ready to be launched on Saturday August 3, 1929
And the JVO slides down the slipway into the water with many of the workers ensuring all goes well
JVO’s sister ship, the m.s. Marnix van
see both the Marnix van
side by side during their completion and then for the fitting out process.
liners would differ greatly to the smaller ms Christiaan
Huygens as they would far more luxurious and in comparison to their predecessor
they would look grand and stately, having two additional decks in their
superstructure as well as two funnels. For the Christiaan
Huygens had what in reality looked like a rather pathetic stubby out of place
looking single funnel.
These two liners would differ greatly to the smaller ms Christiaan Huygens as they would far more luxurious and in comparison to their predecessor they would look grand and stately, having two additional decks in their superstructure as well as two funnels. For the Christiaan Huygens had what in reality looked like a rather pathetic stubby out of place looking single funnel.
The m.s. Christiaan
Dimensions of the m.s. Johan van Oldenbarnevelt as built were as follows: 608 x 74.8ft (185.4 X 22.8m) with a gross tonnage of 19,428 tons, with a displacement of 24,993 tons. However, you will find that there is a far more detailed and comprehensive list located on this page.
At that time, they were the largest ever Dutch
passenger liners to be built and they were certainly the most luxurious ships
to be placed on the international trade route to the
As built she offered four classes and for a ship of her size she certainly offered comfortable accommodations; commencing with the luxurious First Class, a an elegant Second Class, a Third class that was comfortable although simple, as well as a very rather basic Fourth class located far forward of the ship. thus the JVO and her sister carried a grand total of just over 720 passengers and a crew of 361 to care for them. Interestingly First, second and third classes had interchangeable cabins thus numbers between these classes could vary considerably, thus the maximum interchangeable number of passengers in each class shown in the specification section down the page are shown in brackets.
When completed, she
was ready to head off for her deep sea trails that commenced at 9am on March
13, 1930 as she departed
Here we see the Johan
van Oldenbarnevelt on the
The commenced with her engines running at
100rpm, then two hours later at the maximum of 115rpm and she reached a smooth
and respectable maximum of 19 knots. The joyful news was that there were no
vibrations detected whatsoever! Therefore her deep sea trails were a complete
success and the ship was delivered to the “Stoomvaart
Maatschappij Nederland” (SMN) and she was now ready for full her liner
duties. But we will cover her maiden voyage and that of her sister the m.s. Marnix
A special commemorative plate issued in 1930
There was no doubt that the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt had some of the most amazing due to the incredibly art and a high standard of craftsmanship that was found on her, for some of her lounges were extremely intricate, especially in both First and some of her Second Class public rooms! This section will describe them in full detail!
Let me commence saying that the famed artist Carel Adolph Lion Cachet (1864-1945) and sculptor
This is the cover of the very first published JVO Deck plan
We will commence with her Bridge. It was the typical traditional style bridge of the 1930, there was the all important wheel, the telegraph and a compass, as well as that pipe phone, through which the captain or the officer of the watch could speak to the Engine room. But that was it. Yes there was radio, but it was most uncomplicated compared to today. Officers would go out onto the bridge wings and use their sextants to obtain the ships bearings on a regular basis!
Officers and juniors taking the ships bearings using their sextants
Now you check the bearing!
As built the
The wonderful Lido Swimming Pool was indeed a very special feature for its day!
The Lido Pool looking towards the dressing rooms
The Lido Pool looking aft, with the Lido Bar steward looking on, no Speedo’s in those days!
The Lido Bar was popular with the younger set
This was indeed a fine Pool, much later there would be an outdoor pool added far aft
Sun Deck surrounded the ship funnels and it was a popular area
Directly aft of the Lido Pool there was the spacious Sun Deck, then far aft was the First Class main Sports Deck having all the usual facilities for a variety of sports and activities.
is another wonderful classic view of the JVO as she heads off for
A (Boat) Deck:
This deck was mainly occupied with accommodations for the ships officers, including the Captain's quarters with a fully equipped hospital located aft.
B Deck was chiefly occupied with First Class cabins including several deluxe staterooms with private facilities and a terrace. It should be noted that each and every cabin on the JVO had a window or a porthole and these were very certainly very much needed in those days, especially when reaching the warmer climates. In the hull section there would be cabins that would today be as inside cabins, but the JCO was cleverly designed as these cabins actually had a narrow passage that would lead to the porthole, allowing both light and sufficient fresh air to reach into the cabin. Thankfully though, a little later in her career she was fitted with much needed fan forced air to all accommodations.
Forward there was also a spacious promenade deck partially glass enclosed. Far aft was the First Class children’s playroom and nursery, followed by a spacious deck space, with a division with the Second Class Sports Deck being located aft.
This one of the two deluxe staterooms with private facilities and veranda
There a few other semi-deluxe cabins with private facilities
The First Class Children’s Playroom and Nursery aft on B Deck
This is one of the paintings from this playroom and it can be clearly seen in the
photograph above to the right of the dark timber cabinet with another image above
Promenade Deck featured all First and Second Class Lounges as well as their spacious Promenade Deck for both these privileged passengers. Far forward was the sublimely elegant First Class Smoking Room that overlooked the ships bow.
The First Class Smoking Room
Asa you can see, the public rooms
Asa you can see, the public rooms
Like all the First Class public rooms, the
Smoking Room was lined in exotic dark timbers, and sported carvings by
First Class Smoking Room looking to port
A close up of the Smoking Room Carved timber and shell light detail
Another view of the Smoking Room and as can be seen, this was a lively and a popular place
This view reveals much more of the intricate detail of the art and carvings in this superb venue!
On the port side just aft of the Smoking Room, was the Reading and Writing Room, also known as the Ebony Room, as it featured ebony with white marble panels. Wall panels featured reliefs of two Javanese men and a variety of plant life from the region. The ceiling was painted a light colour with fine decorations, and simple but elegant light fittings and electric fans. Heavy lounge chairs gaily stripped and ebony chairs and tables completed the room. Several writing desks were also placed along the centre aft wall of the Smoking Room.
Portside Reading and writing Room
On the starboard side of the ship directly aft of the Smoking Room was a passageway as well a service bar that would serve drinks for the Smoking Room, Music Salon, as well as Promenade Deck day and night.
As we head aft again we would come to The Main foyer and grand stairwell up to B deck and down to F deck and the first class Restaurant. The fine timber stairwell and large vestibules on all decks gave an impression grace and of space. On the starboard side was the JVO's one and only passenger lift.
C Deck forward foyer and stairwell
The only passengers lift onboard
One of the wonderful Javanese waiters onboard at the entrance to the Social Hall
The Social Hall and Music Salon
The next venue as we head aft was Carel Adolph Lion Cachet masterpiece, the Music Hall or as it was also known, the Grand Social Hall. This unbelievably beautiful and rather grandiose Lounge was two decks in height and featured fine lead light windows on the sides of the upper level, which were lit from behind and were also a decorative feature up in the First Class passageways up on B deck. The ceiling of the Social Room was covered in beaten copper as well as four grand stainless steel stylised chandeliers that cascading down, but surrounded by globes.
This is just one of the many carvings
Corner decorations with one of the speakers
This room was lined in a fine padouk timbers and having superb dark stained teak doors
that opened forward to the Main Foyer and the stairwell. This venue also
featured countless panels with delicate carvings. One unique carving by Zijl was far forward located over the games cupboard having
the name of
Looking forward for detail over the entrance doors and cabinets, and above the carved name “Johan van Oldenbarnevelt”
There was no doubt that this room was and
will always be remembered as the most loved venue of the JVO from the beginning
of her career to the very end of her life when she was a One Class liner, as
this room remained mostly untouched, except for changes to her furnishings as
you will see in photographs in later pages!
There was no doubt that this room was and will always be remembered as the most loved venue of the JVO from the beginning of her career to the very end of her life when she was a One Class liner, as this room remained mostly untouched, except for changes to her furnishings as you will see in photographs in later pages!
Aft of this fine Lounge, was the Veranda, which was out on deck that stretched from side to side of the ship. It had some glass shielding on both sides to shield the tables and chairs when passengers would enjoy their tea or coffee! This area would be used during lunch for buffets on special days, and in the evening for dancing and showing films! In a later incarnation this area would be semi-enclosed!
Amidships is the open area, which was used for a number of uses
Along both sides of the lounges, there is of course the wide open spaces of the ever popular Promenade Deck, a place to sit and relax, read a book, but back in the 1930’s it was also the place to socialise and to meet friends over a drink and a cup of coffee! Stewards were always at hand, day and night ready to serve you and your every wish would be tended to! Forward the ship there where floor to ceiling windows and this area was called the “Terrace” and this was found on both sides of the ship!
The wonderful Promenade Deck Terrace is seen on the portside looking aft
Aft of the Veranda came two delightful Second Class Lounges, their Music Salon, the Smoking Room as well as the Veranda and their extensive Promenade Deck that took up at least half of the ships length. These are fully described in “Part two” of this same chapter, you will find the below the next photograph!
A classical JVO seen at full speed during her good times – BUT …
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