Rotterdam to Dismantle Bridge for Jeff Bezos’s Superyacht

Part of a historic bridge in the Netherlands will be dismantled so that a superyacht built for Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, can pass through the river that flows through Rotterdam, the city said on Thursday.

Netty Kros, a spokeswoman for the city of Rotterdam, said that the middle part of the 95-year-old Koningshaven Bridge would be removed this summer so that the sailing yacht could pass. The bridge, known locally as “De Hef,” will then be restored, potentially on the same day, she said.

Mr. Bezos’s yacht should be able to fit under all the other bridges in Rotterdam, Ms. Kros said. She did not have an estimate of how much the deconstruction would cost but said that the shipbuilder, not residents of Rotterdam, would pay.

There will not be any structural changes to the bridge, Ms. Kros said, adding that the city had to weigh the economic benefits of having the yacht built in Rotterdam and the jobs that would create.

Representatives for Amazon and for Oceanco, the Dutch custom yacht company that is building the boat, did not respond to requests for comment about the cost or the yacht’s destination.

Boat International, which publishes articles about the superyacht industry, reported that the 417-foot sailboat is set to become the largest sailing yacht in the world when it is finished later this year, surpassing the Sea Cloud, a 360-foot sailboat built in 1931 and owned by the Yacht Portfolio, an investment company based in Malta.

The superyacht Mr. Bezos commissioned is likely to cost more than $500 million to build, Bloomberg reported. Mr. Bezos is the world’s second-richest person, after Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk.

The bridge, which has a boat clearance of 130 feet, is not currently in use. A Rotterdam tour guide who gave his name as Eddy I. said that the bridge, designed by the Dutch architect Pieter Joosting and a fixture in the Rotterdam skyline, was once used for railway traffic. A vertical lift bridge, it was the first of its kind in the Netherlands and was copied from examples in the United States. The modern industrial aesthetics of the bridge inspired a short film in 1928, he said.

Until now, tall ships passed under the bridge before assembling their masts and taller structures, he said.

Siebe Thissen, the author of the book “The Boy Who Jumped From the Bridge,” about a working-class man who jumped from the bridge in 1933, said that the structure is more than a bridge to the people of Rotterdam. “It’s a monument,” he said. “It’s the identity of Rotterdam.”

When city officials tried to take the bridge down in the 1990s, since it was not longer in use, there were major protests, he said. The bridge is a reminder of the old days in Rotterdam, he said.

“I think that’s why there his so much turmoil about Jeff Bezos and his boat,” he said, before referring to accusations against Amazon. “People say, ‘Why this guy?’ It’s a working-class town, and they all know that Jeff Bezos, of course, he exploits his workers, so people say, ‘Why should this guy be able demolish the bridge for his boat?’”

The guide, who works for the company Tours by Locals, which connects tourists with local guides, said he did not see much of an issue with the deconstruction of the bridge so long as Rotterdam residents were not shouldering the costs.

“I suppose most Rotterdammers will enjoy the international attention, and many will come to watch,” he said. “On the other hand, it shows the unimaginable wealth that people like Bezos have created for themselves, that nothing can stand in the way for them living out their dreams and hobbies. Worlds apart from those who will be watching the ship pass through the city.”

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