Officials in the Netherlands will dismantle a historic steel bridge because it’s too small for Jeff Bezos‘ new $450 million superyacht to pass underneath. The Amazon founder said he will pay for it, but the move has split residents of the Dutch port city.
Construction on Jeff Bezos‘ gigantic 400-plus-foot long, 130-feet-tall, the three-masted yacht is nearly complete just outside of the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. It’s the largest boat of this kind on Earth. The boat is so big that the only way for it to reach the sea is to dismantle the center section of the bridge known as De Hef. The city built the bridge in 1878 and rebuilt it after the Nazis bombed it in 1940, The Guardian reported. Preservations said after officials finished a restoration project in 2017, city leaders promised to never again take apart the iconic bridge.
But the person who will lead the bridge project said that this is the most practical solution.
“If you are carrying out a large job somewhere, you want all your tools to be in that place,” Marcel Walravens said, according to the NL Times. “Otherwise you have to go back and forth constantly. In addition, this is such a large project that there are hardly any locations where this work [can be] completed.”
The project will take place over two weeks this summer. Rotterdam leaders didn’t say how much the project would cost but said Bezos would pick up the tab. And that means jobs.
“From an economic perspective and maintaining employment, the municipality considers this a very important project,” Walravens said. “In addition, Rotterdam has also been declared the maritime capital of Europe. Shipbuilding and activity within that sector are therefore an important pillar of the municipality.”
City Officials Slam Jeff Bezos, Say He’s ‘Going a Bridge Too Far’
While the project may generate cash, it’s still receiving a lot of pushback from preservationists and politicians. They feel the bridge is too important to dismantle for anyone.
“Employment is important, but there are limits to what you can and may do to our heritage,” Ton Wesselink of the Rotterdam Historical Society reportedly said.
Jeff Bezos is also getting heat from those who don’t like how Amazon reportedly treats its workers or pays its taxes. Some Green Party politicians think that the city shouldn’t allow the billionaire to “tear down” the monument.
“This man has earned his money by squeezing staff, evading taxes/regulations and now we have to tear down our beautiful national monument?” Dutch green councilor Stephan Leewis said. “That is really going a bridge too far.”
The size of Jeff Bezos’ yacht is causing other problems for the billionaire as well. The boat’s sails are so large that it’s unsafe to land a helicopter. He built a “support yacht” with a helipad to travel alongside it.