Ferry Company Holland Norway Lines Declared Bankrupt

Tens of thousands of travelers must make alternative travel plans following the bankruptcy of car and passenger ferry company Holland Norway Lines. Originally serving the route between Eemshaven in the Netherlands and Kristiansand in Southern Norway, the line had recently switched departure point from Eemshaven to nearby Emden in Germany.

The line suspended operations and applied for a suspension of payments last week when the scale of its financial difficulties became clear. But with no serious candidate to take over the company, a Dutch court has confirmed the bankruptcy.

“Holland Norway Lines deeply regrets the bankruptcy and wishes to extend its sincere gratitude to all parties involved for their support and understanding during this challenging period,” said a company statement.

Appointed curator Hans Silvius said that up to 75,000 people will be impacted following the closure of the Dutch ferry service between Germany and Southern Norway.

Anyone impacted by the company’s closure should contact their travel insurance or credit card company. Stranded passengers could fly between Amsterdam and Oslo/Kristiansand, or use one of the alternative ferry routes such as the Color Line services between Oslo and Kiel or Larvik and Hirtshals.

A difficult short history

Originally launched in 2022, the ferry initially proved popular with drivers and foot passengers keen for an alternative travel option to flying.

“Since its launch in 2022, nearly 400,000 passengers have sailed on the cruise ferry MS Romantika. The company grew in no time from a start-up to a full-fledged organisation, with almost 400 employees,” stated the company prior to the bankruptcy.

However, earlier this year the line faced a “forced departure” from Eemshaven due to capacity issues at the port. This forced the company to cancel departures and refund large numbers of passengers while it searched for an alternative.

From June, the ferry service restarted in nearby Emden, just across the border in Germany, but the financial damage had already been done.

Relaunch seems unlikely

Regular passengers will be hoping the former Holland Norway Lines service can be resurrected by a new company, or by an existing ferry operator in the region such as DFDS, Color Line, or Stena Line.

However, given that the startup line rented the MS Romantika cruise ferry and the owner has already reclaimed it, a relaunch under a new company seems less likely. “In the event of a relaunch, the ship would have to be rented again or a new one would have to be built,” said Silvius. When asked about a possible future, he said they are “continually working on it.”

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