A Dutch company is currently building a 417-foot mega yacht for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos that, once complete, will be the largest sailing vessel in the world. The only problem? Its three masts are too tall to leave the shipyard without dismantling a huge piece of Dutch history and infrastructure: the Koningshavenbrug bridge, also known as the De Hef.
The bridge has stood in Rotterdam since 1927. It was heavily damaged in 1940 when the German Luftwaffe bombed the city. During renovations of the bridge in 2017, the city council promised residents the bridge would never again be dismantled. But when you have Bezos money, never is not all that long, from Dutch News:
Bezos’ three-masted yacht is being built by the Oceano shipyard in Alblasserdam but is too big to pass under the bridge when the central section is raised to its full height. Now Oceano and Bezos have approached the council about temporarily dismantling the bridge at their cost.
According to Rijnmond, city officials are prepared to take that step, despite the opposition of local history experts and others.
‘Jobs are important, but there are limits with what you can and should do with our industrial heritage,’ said Ton Wesselink of the local history society Historisch Genootschap Roterodamum.
Bezos is paying for the debacle, which he can certainly afford. Despite losing $26.7 billion last year Bezos still has $168 billion in the bank, Insider reports. The cost being taken care of by the billionaire doesn’t seem to put Dutch residents mind at ease. Officials are hoping with careful planning, the bridge should only be dismantled for a day or so. The yacht is scheduled to be ready to sail sometime this year.
Amazon’s founder commissioned the yacht back in 2018. The boat, called the Y721, is based on Oceano’s famous ecologically friendly yacht, the Black Pearl, which is capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean “without burning a liter of fuel,” according to the company. But it’s not the only ship Bezos commissioned, according to Architectural Digest:
However, it’s only one of two new boats for Bezos: He has also commissioned a shadow vessel called YS 7512 from builder Damen Yachts. This support ship measures 246 feet in length and accommodates 45 additional crew and guests. It will also feature a helipad and meeting space and have a vast amount of storage for Bezos’s endless number of water toys, with diving and snorkeling gear, jet and water skis, waterslides, and surfboards among the bunch. Shadow vessels are a growing phenomenon in the superyacht industry and one more extra toy that their owners want to have at the ready, says Nicholson. “You see them more and more now as an add-on to a superyacht purchase,” he says. “They’ve almost become a must.”
So while Amazon delivery drivers are pooping in bags or being threatened with termination for trying to stay safe during a tornado, Bezos is dismantling major pieces of infrastructure to get his fancy boat out to the open ocean.
Can we please tax the rich, even a little? Just as a treat.