Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is reportedly building a $500 million yacht. However, it faces a delivery problem. It might need to be dismantled a Rotterdam bridge that blocks its passage to sea.
This week’s reports that the Dutch city had agreed to dismantle the recently renovated Koningshaven Bridge (known locally as De Hef) sparked anger. Locals propose to throw rotten eggs at the yacht when it passes by, as per Facebook.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said Friday to The Associated Press that although a shipbuilder requested temporary dismantling of the bridge this summer but no permit or authorization has been granted.
Residents of Rotterdam are still worried.
Lizette Touber stated, “It’s very easy to understand why it is so controversial. This bridge was recently restored and it’s beautiful.” It is truly our heritage. It is our heritage. I believe that it can be open if the wealthy are able to pay, which usually nobody could.
Aboutaleb, who was on a trip to Colombia, stated in a written statement that once a permit request is made, it will be evaluated based on factors such as economic impact, environmental nuisance, and potential risks to the “monumental structural” of the bridge.
The statement stated that “When the permit has already been applied for, it is up to the municipality to make a decision. Details can be further developed and a plan could be drawn in the case of a positive decision.”
The municipality refused to comment on the ownership of the yacht or the identity of the shipbuilder. Amazon did not respond to an email seeking comment. Bloomberg reported in May 2021 that the yacht was being constructed by Oceanco for Bezos at a cost “above $500 million”.
In 1927, trains could cross the Maas River via Hef’s railway bridge. It was then taken out of service in 1993 and replaced with a tunnel. It was saved from demolition by public protests and finally underwent a three year renovation that ended in 2017. It is possible to raise the middle section of the bridge to allow ships to pass under it, but not enough to accommodate the masts of new yachts.
Ton Wesselink was the chairman of a Rotterdam history society. He feared that allowing one yacht to pass under the bridge would set a precedent.
He stated in an email to AP that “The thing we don’t want is for this yacht issue to open the possibility to shipbuilders using it the same way.”
However, there was support.
“I think it is fine. Let Bezos pay a high price. It creates work. I only see upsides,” said Rotterdam resident Ria van den Vousten.
“If it’s paid for and everyone makes money, don’t complain. She added, “Don’t talk, act, like we say in Rotterdam.”