1875: the service was started between
were bought in
The service was started with three ships, the "STAD MIDDELBURG", the "STAD VLISSINGEN" and the "STAD BREDA".
As partner on British side was chosen the London Chatham & Dover Railway Company
1876: on 15 May 1876 the service was transferred to Queensborough, and the first mail-contract was signed.
1878: two new ships entered service,
namely "PRINSES MARIE" and "PRINSES ELISABETH", and almost
35.000 passengers were carried, the ships were named after two nieces of H.R.H.
Prince Hendrik of the
contract for the transport of mail was signed with the Dutch Government and a
third ship was ordered by
John Elder & Co. at
1880: a third new ship, the "PRINS HENDRIK" (1), made her maiden-trip and replaced the "STAD VLISSINGEN" who had to be demolished after running aground at Nieuwesluis.
1883: the “WILLEM, PRINS VAN ORANJE” came into the night-service.
1887: on request of the Deutsche Post
also a day-service was started with the “DUITSCHLAND”, “ENGELAND” and the “
1895: Due to big competition with the
Great Eastern Railway route Harwich-Rotterdam and the route Oostende-Dover
the S.M. Zeeland decided to order three new ships in
Two older ships, the “PRINSES MARIE” and “PRINSES ELISABETH” were sold.
1910: Because of better railway
The three paddle-steamers build in 1895 where rebuild into ferries for the day-service, except the “DUITSCHLAND” the other two old day-service ships were sold.
1912: for the first time in 26 years 6% profit was paid to the share-holders, because of an increase of transport on the route.
1914: the service was maintained during the First World War as good as possible, the amount of passengers was big during the first months of the war, this was mainly caused by refugees.
The transport of goods was stopped after a few months, but the mail-service was still carried out, the companies second name was namely Koninlijke Nederlandse Postvaart (Royal Dutch Mail by Sea).
1916: this year was a disaster for the
company, the amount of transported passengers dropped dramatically and three
ships were lost in this year: on 1 February the “PRINSES JULIANA” (1) hit a
sea-mine, on 27 February the “
1917: just a few sailings took place only on request of the Dutch Government.
1918: from January till November several
German and British POW’s were exchanged, a special route Rotterdam-Boston was created
for the Red Cross for those exchange of Prisoners of War, the “KONINGIN
REGENTES” and the ZEELAND” (1) of the S.M. Zeeland were used for this Red Cross
service. Although marked with the Red Cross sign,
on 6 June during one of those trips the “KONINGIN REGENTES” was attacked by a
torpedo fired by the German U-boat “UB
1919: the night-service was re-opened on 31 January, two ships were ordered at the Royal Schelde Shipyard in Vlissingen, by lack of enough own capital and completing of the needed amount of money by Wm. H. Müller & Co., this company was asked to join the management of the company.
1920: the first new ordered ship after the First World War, the “PRINSES JULIANA“ (2) entered service.
1922: also the second new-building, the “MECKLENBURG” (2) came into service, although the Dutch Railways wanted to move the service from Vlissingen to Hoek van Holland, this was not executed.
decided to sail only in day-service to Folkestone from 1 June on, the service
was changing from a mail and packet service into a tourist ferry service, many
British tourists visited the
1924 because of the increasing amount of
tourists the well known Grand Hotel des Bains on the
1927: due to the devaluation of the Belgium
Franc the amount of passengers decreased and also the lucrative export of meat
The company was in very bad weather an so an attractive offer of the British Government to move the service to Harwich was accepted.
1938: because of the devaluation of the
Dutch Guilder and better economic conditions the results improved and the
company ordered two fast motor-vessels at the Royal Schelde
Those two new ships of 4200 tons, 2 Sulzer diesel engines with 12.500 hp and a speed of 22 knots were a revolution for those days, their names: “KONINGIN EMMA” and “PRINSES BEATRIX” (1).
1940: World War II, after the occupation
For a small
period it was tried to set up a service with the “ORANJE NASSAU” from
In the week
of 10 May 1940 the “KONINGIN EMMA”, “PRINSES BEATRIX” (1), “ORANJE NASSAU” and
“MECKLENBURG” (2) succeed to escape to
“PRINSES JULIANA” (1) was ordered by the Dutch government for troop-transport
The four S.M.Z. ships were chartered out to the British Ministry of War Transport, the two steamers were used as accommodation-ship for the Royal Dutch Navy.
The two brand new motor-vessels “KONINGIN EMMA“ and “PRINSES BEATRIX” (1) were converted as Landing Ship Infantry (LSI) and renamed into “QUEEN EMMA” and “PRINCESS BEATRIX”.
The ships had a mixed English-Dutch crew because the British Navy was not used to the Sulzer diesel engines.
were used to the end of the war for troop-transport and landing-operations in
and workshop of the company in
1943: the steamer “MECKLENBURG” (2) was now in use as troop transport-ship and was also used in the landing-operation at Normandy in June 1944, after this her nickname was “FIGHTING MECK”.
1945: the “MECKLENBURG” (2) was used by
the Dutch Government for special transports with children from
1946: the “QEEN EMMA” arrived in Vlissingen, where she and her sister-ship ”PRINCESS BEATRIX” were handed over to the Dutch Government who handed her over to her owners the S.M. Zeeland.
Also the “ORANJE NASSAU” returned to the company and was chartered to the L.N.E.R. which had only one ship available after the war.
the damages caused by the bombing during the war it was not able to use the
1947: the “MECKLENBURG” (2) was
converted from a coal into an oil steamer, and was placed in the day-service
1948: Both the “KONINGIN EMMA” and “PRINSES
BEATRIX” (1) returned to the service after their “war-dressing” was removed and
they had been refurbished at the Royal Schelde in
1949-1952: a passenger-only tourist-service
was maintained during the summer months twice a week by the “MECKLENBURG” (2)
freight-service started in 1946 from
1953: now it was officially decided by
the Dutch Government that Hook of Holland was chosen as the homeport for the passenger-service
of the Stoomvaart Maatschappij
Zeeland, only the maintenance of the ships remains in
This was a
sad day for the people of the company and of the inhabitants of
1954: the “ORANJE NASSAU” was sold to be scrapped after almost 45 years of service, the amount of passengers and cargo was increasing, for example in 1952 more than 100.000 passengers were transported.
1960: The “KONINGIN WILHELMINA” (2)
entered service, she was ordered in 1956 at the Merwede
Shipyard at Hardinxveld-Giessendam and was baptised
on 20 May 1959 by H.R.H. Queen Juliana of the
The “KONINGIN WILHELMINA” (2) had more space for cars then the ships before her, she could carry 60 cars and also 14 containers for mail and cargo service.
In 1960 almost 200.000 passengers and 100.000 mailbags were transported, a record.
steamer “MECKLENBURG” (2) was taken out of service in 1959 and was sold to Van Heyghen Freres in
1965: British Rail and the S.M. Zeeland agreed to exploit both the Hook-Harwich day- and night-service together with new ships which could make one round-trip in 24 hours.
New so called Ro-Ro vessels should be ordered, and both the berths in hook of Holland and Harwich had to be adapted to the new type of transport.
1966: two new ships were ordered by the S.M. Zeeland at Cammel Laird & Co. and by British Rail at Swan Hunter & Tyne Shipbuilders Ltd.
1968: The “KONINGIN JULIANA” was put into service
on 14 October on the route by H.R.H. Queen Juliana of the
The “ST. GEORGE” of British Rail which entered service in June could only be used with limited speed of 17 knots in the night-service due to big vibrations of the ship at a speed of more than 20 knots.
Both the “PRINSES BEATRIX” (1) and “KONINGIN EMMA” from 1939 were redrawn from the service and laid up, in December they were sold to Jos de Smedt in Antwerpen to be scrapped.
From 1968 untill 1972 the S.M. Zeeland in
cooperation with British Rail carried out a container-service from
The vessel had a capacity of 77
1974: Due to the success of the two new
ships the route Hook-Harwich developed as the bridge over the
EDMUND” was delivered by Cammel Laird & Co. to
A new name was introduced for the ferry-service namely, Sealink.
1975: the 100-year anniversary of the S.M. Zeeland was celebrated with some trips with the “KONINGIN JULIANA” with several members of the Dutch Royal family.
“KONINGIN WILHELMINA” (2) was only used during the summer-season for some extra
passenger-capacity and was laid up in the winter in
1976: 950.000 passengers and 100.000 cars were transported this year, a record for the ook-Harwich service, the S.M. Zeeland ordered the new ship at Verolme Shipyard in Heusden.
1978: the “PRINSES BEATRIX”(2) was
baptised on 14 January by H.R.H. Prinses Beatrix of the
1979-1980: a small profit was made in 1979 due to the sell of the “KONINGIN WILHELMINA” (2) to Ventouris Lines, from 28 June 1978 on she had been laid up in Vlissingen.
renamed into “Captain Constantinos” and towed by the
tugboat “Temi IV” of
Towage Company Dijkhuizen from
also the workshop of the S.M. Zeeland in
1982: both the S.M.
- one so called jumbo-ferry which should replace two existing ferries
- this meant reduction of costs of employees, harbour-costs and fuel for the ferries.
improvement on both the terminals in
EDMUND” of British Rail was sold to the Ministry of Defence and went after the
Falkland War into the service
1983: as replacement for the “ST. EDMUND” British Rail chartered the jumbo-ferry “PRINSESSAN BIRGITTA” from Stena Line for a period of two years, she was renamed into “ST. NICHOLAS”.
Before she could enter on the service she had to be adapted which was
carried out in
With the introduction of the “ST. NICHOLAS”, which had a capacity of 2100 passengers and 480 cars, British Rail hoped to increase her market-share with approx. 10%.
1984: the S.M. Zeeland ordered a jumbo-ferry at Van
der Giessen-de Noord in Krimpen a/d IJssel, also the “PETER WESSEL” of the Larvik-Frederikshavnferjen
was chartered for two years and renamed into “
This Norwegian ferry had a capacity of 1500 passengers and 270 cars, the “KONINGIN JULIANA” was redrawn from the service and laid up.
At first she was sold to Holland Trade Ship in
Although the transport was increased to 1.100.000 passengers and 33.000 trailers in 1983, the financial year 1983 was closed with some profit, but 1984 was closed with a negative result.
S.M. Zeeland partner British Rail was privatised and the ships were painted in a new livery, also in the management of the S.M. Zeeland were some changes, shareholder Internatio Muller was redrawn from the management and other shipping interests.
1985: one year before the introduction of the S.M. Zeeland’s jumbo-ferry the “PRINSES BEATRIX” (2) was sold to
Brittany Ferries, but was chartered back from the French company until the delivery of the new ferry.
For the first time in the 110-year old history of the company, the S.M. Zeeland had not one own ship sailing on the route.
On 9 November 1985 the “KONINGIN BEATRIX” was baptised by H.R.H. Queen Beatrix of the
1986: in March 1986 the chartered “
On 22 April 1986 the “KONINGIN BEATRIX” made her maiden-trip on the route Hook-Harwich, and both the “PRINSES BEATRIX” (2) and “ARMORIQUE” were delivered back to Brittany Ferries.
Especially for the transport of trailers the freight-ferry “STENA SAILER” was chartered for the increasing freight figures.
1989: both the company S.M. Zeeland, ships & route were acquired by Stena Line