Rotterdam’s historic bridge will not be dismantled for the 430 million euro superyacht Jeff Bezos

A bridge in Rotterdam that has monument status will not be dismantled so that a new superyacht owned by Jeff Bezos can reach the sea. The 127-meter-long ship will be the second largest sailing ship in the world. It is produced by Oceanco in Alblasserdam for the founder of Amazon, but the three-master cannot pass under Koningshaven Bridge, known locally as “De Hef”.

Oceanco has informed the municipality that it is canceling its current logistics plans to transport the 430 million euro yacht, at least for now, Trouw reported on the basis of documents obtained as part of an access to information request. The company said it was blindsided by the social unrest caused by the plans and that shipyard workers felt threatened as a result.

Additionally, the yacht builder from Alblasserdam said he feared the prospect of vandalism. Some Rotterdam residents are passionate about De Hef’s place in history. The retired railway bridge was one of the first structures to be restored after the Germans destroyed much of the city center on May 14, 1940 during the Rotterdam Blitz.

Earlier this year, local resident Pablo Strörmann launched a Facebook event inviting people to throw eggs at the yacht once the shipyard launches it. He told the NL Times: ‘It started more as a joke between friends after hearing the news of the possible dismantling of the bridge. Thousands of people quickly showed interest in the event, which has since been taken offline. Strörmann acknowledged that his satirical joke had gotten “out of control”, but he remained irritated that a bridge favored by some Rotterdam residents could be damaged.

“Normally it’s the other way around: if your ship doesn’t fit under a bridge, you take it down. But when you’re the richest person on Earth, you just ask a municipality to dismantle a monument. is ridiculous.”

Rotterdam project manager Marcel Walravens said in February that it was not practical to move the incomplete ship under the bridge and then finish it elsewhere, opting instead to remove the middle section of the bridge and then put it on. go back up. He also highlighted the importance of the shipbuilding industry in the region, with many people employed by the sector. “From an economic and job retention point of view, the municipality considers this to be a very important project,” he said. “In addition, Rotterdam has also been declared the maritime capital of Europe. Shipbuilding and activity in this sector is therefore an important pillar of the municipality.”

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb also noted the number of high-skilled jobs that these projects bring to the region. He also said the cost of dismantling and reassembling the bridge would be covered by Oceanco and its client. He also denied that a final decision had been made.

“I understand the industry is good for the local economy, but I don’t see that as a problem. Many superyachts have been built, and will be built, all of which fit below decks. It’s good that there there is also money to be made with the dismantling, but in my opinion it is not only the money that counts,” Strörmann replied.

The plan to temporarily dismantle the 95-year-old bridge was originally reported by RTV Rijnmond. He then made headlines around the world, with articles written by the New York Times, the Guardian, Le Parisien and even the Washington Post, which Bezos owns. While The New York Times noted the protests that erupted thirty years ago when the municipality debated the destruction of the bridge, The Washington Post highlighted its importance to Rotterdam’s “industrial heritage”. He also highlighted the city’s status as a European leader in shipbuilding.

It is not yet clear how Oceanco will put the superyacht at sea. The company declined to comment on Trouw’s questions.

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