Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal and our President, visited The Flying Angel Seafarers Centre in Schiedam, Rotterdam, on Friday 4th March 2022.
Following a tour of the centre and meeting the hardworking volunteers, The Princess Royal was offered flowers as a thank you for her support for seafarers. She also unveiled a plaque and planted a tree to commemorate the 70th anniversary of her mother, Queen Elizabeth, being a patron of The Mission to Seafarers.
HRH The Princess Royal is involved in supporting seafarers and their families around the world. As Admiral and Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy and expert on maritime issues, she is a beloved ambassador of The Mission to Seafarers.
Back in 1992, HRH The Princess Royal unveiled a plaque at the official opening of the Flying Angel Seafarers Centre in Schiedam. The new plaque, unveiled thirty years later, serves as a thank you to seafarers and as a lasting reminder of their dedication and resilience to maintaining international trade networks during a global crisis.
Present at the royal visit were Allard Castelijn, CEO of The Port of Rotterdam, Deputy Mayor Antoinette Laan van Schiedam and chief priest Paul Vrolijk of the Holy Trinity Church in Brussels and the Dutch chairman of The Mission to Seafarers. Various volunteers and board members of the Schiedam Seafarers Centre, including Henk van Deventer and the chaplain for the port of Rotterdam, Dennis Woodward also attended the event.
Reverend Paul Vrolijk, chairman of The Mission to Seafarers in the Netherlands, thanked the princess warmly for her unwavering support for the work of those supporting the welfare of seafarers. The staff and volunteers of The Mission to Seafarers have made every effort to ensure that all help and services for sailors continue during the pandemic.
The Mission to Seafarers has played a major role in the well-being of shipmen in the port of Rotterdam since 1893. At the moment there is one full-time chaplain active in Rotterdam, reverend Dennis Woodward, who mainly focuses on visiting ships. In the past year, he made 501 ship visits. He has also remained active during the coronavirus pandemic, with so-called ‘gangway visits’ and personal shopping for the sailors who were often not allowed to shore, for fear of contamination.
The Flying Angel Centre was opened in Schiedam in 1992. Due to the pandemic, the sailor’s house could not be used since the beginning of 2020, because most seafarers were not allowed to leave their ship. Reverend Paul Vrolijk has led the reorganisation of The Flying Angel Seafarers Centre to a completely new location and, now, the Centre is ready for a new era, where visits by seafarers are possible once again.
The Mission to Seafarers was founded in 1839 and continues to provide care for all seafarers, regardless of gender and faith, around the world in over 200 ports. The work undertaken by chaplains, volunteers and staff help seafarers all around the world 24/7.
For more information regarding the ports where we provide help, please visit https://www.missiontoseafarers.org/our-ports