A brief history of a 100% Amsterdam family business

The history of Rederij P. Kooij

It all started with Piet Kooij, a young, Amsterdam entrepreneur who - together with his father - leased the buffets for the ferries that sailed on the North Sea Canal from Amsterdam to IJmuiden. Water, boats and Amsterdam were the three major passions of Piet and he truly enjoyed his work.

How it all began

In 1922 he discovered the water of the now - partially - former Rokin canal in an old motorized boat that he liked. He bought the boat, gave it a makeover and found out that it had been granted a canal cruise license. And that is how he started giving passengers tours through the Amsterdam canals, with tons of flair, but no experience whatsoever. After the first cruise, that lasted several hours, Piet found out that his fourteen passengers had grown somewhat thirsty...

Along the way, Piet gained serious experience, allowing him to adjust the route and the duration of the tour to the wishes of the customers. In addition, he bought several other boats, which formed a solid foundation for the company.

During World War II

During World War II the Germans confiscated boats of Reederij P. Kooij. After the liberation in 1945, the Canadians were given control over Amsterdam, and Piet Kooij received word that several of his boats were found in Emden. North Germany. Under supervision of the Canadians, Pieter took his boats home, which was a dangerous trip, since the water was infested with mines.

The second generation

After the death of Piet Kooij, his son Ab took over the business. In 1990, Ab designed a new boat, in which the glass roof with sliding panels became extremely popular. It was Ab who made the company flourish and his vision and warm personality played a significant role in that. The company mainly got international fame due to the many foreign visitors who admire Amsterdam by water annually, but also because of the cruise with celebrities such as Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson, the Dutch EuroCup winners in 1988, Ajax in 1995, members of the Royal Family and renowned foreign leaders, politicians and artists.

The third generation

After Ab died in 2013, a new generation of Kooij proved itself extremely motivated to have the people of Amsterdam and the rest of the world enjoy the beauty of the historic city and to maintain the quality of the canal cruise. It is never 'business as usual' because these third generation also feels a strong connection to the beating heart of the city, the canal water of which runs like blood through their veins, as was the case with Ab and Piet. The love for the water, the boats, the city and the company, makes Rederij P. Kooij a unique company of people, devoted to what they do with heart and soul and who want to share that enthusiasm with their passenger.