A historic bridge in the Netherlands will be demolished to allow a suprait built for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to cross a river flowing from Rotterdam, the city said Thursday.
A spokesman for the city of Rotterdam said the central part of the 95-year-old Koningshaven Bridge would be removed this summer to allow sailing yachts to pass. The bridge, locally known as “De Haif”, will probably be restored on the same day.
Mr. The Bezos yacht should be able to fit under all other bridges in Rotterdam, the spokesman said. He had no idea how much the deconstruction would cost but said the shipbuilder, not Rotterdam residents, would pay. No structural changes will be made to the bridge.
Amazon representatives did not respond to requests for comment regarding pricing or yacht destinations. A spokesman for Oceanco, a Dutch custom yacht maker that built the boat, said in an email on Thursday that it could not comment on projects under construction or customers for privacy reasons.
Boat International, which publishes articles about the superyacht industry, reports that the 417-foot sailing boat is set to become the world’s largest sailing yacht by the end of this year, surpassing the 360-foot sailboat Sea Cloud built in 1931. And owns Yacht Portfolio, an investment company based in Malta.
The commissioning of Bezos is expected to cost more than 500 million, according to Superiat Bloomberg. Mr. Bezos is the second richest man in the world after Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk.
The 130-foot boat clearance bridge is currently unused. The bridge, designed by Dutch architect Peter Justing and built with fixtures in the Rotterdam skyline, was once used for railway traffic, said Rotterdam tour guide, Eddie Le Cuver. The Vertical Lift Bridge was the first of its kind in the Netherlands and was replicated in the United States. The bridge’s modern industrial aesthetics inspired a short film in 1928, he said.
So far, taller ships have been passing under bridges before assembling their masts and taller structures, he said.
Rotterdam Labor Party City Councilor Dennis Tak said it was OK since the bridge was demolished – because Mr. Bezos was paying for it – because it would create jobs with the work needed on the bridge. “As a city, this is a great way to get some of its money,” he said. Tak said.
The structure is more than a bridge for the people of Rotterdam, says Sibe Thisen, author of the book “The Boy Who Jumped from the Bridge” about a working class man who jumped off a bridge in 1933. “It’s a monument,” he said. “It’s Rotterdam’s identity.”
When city officials tried to lower the bridge in the 1990s because it was no longer in use, there were major protests, he said. The bridge is reminiscent of the old days in Rotterdam, he said.
“I think that’s why he’s so upset about Jeff Bezos and his boat,” he said before referring to the allegations against Amazon. “People say, ‘Why this guy?’ It’s a working class city, and they all know that Jeff Bezos, of course, exploits his workers, so people say, ‘Why would this guy break the bridge for his boat?’ “
As of Thursday, about 500 Facebook users had said they would attend an event titled “Throwing Eggs at Superheat Jeff Bezos”, where they would gather near the bridge to lay eggs on the boat. The person listed as the event organizer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Le Cuver, who works for Tours by Locals, a company that connects tourists with local guides, said Rotterdammers are likely to enjoy international attention and watch the spectacle. “On the other hand, it shows the incredible wealth that people like Bezos have built for themselves, that nothing can stop them from living their dreams and hobbies. Worlds without people watching the ship pass through the city. ”
Claire Moses Contribution Report.