Koningshavenbrug, aka De Hef, in Rotterdam. Credit: Dmitry Rukhlenko/Shutterstock

Jeff Bezos Won’t Dismantle Historic Rotterdam Bridge

Bloomberg
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July 10, 2022

By Pablo Fernandez Cras (Bloomberg) A historic Rotterdam bridge that needed to be dismantled for billionaire Jeff Bezos’s new superyacht will be left intact — at least for now.

Oceanco, the company building the world’s largest sailing yacht for the Amazon.com co-founder informed Rotterdam City Council that it won’t request the dismantling of the lift bridge De Hef, according to two council members.

Vincent Karremans, a deputy mayor for public works and mobility, said Oceanco will “for the time being not request the environmental permit for the removal of the bridge.” Were the Alblasserdam, Netherlands-based company to change its mind, it would have to “initiate and successfully complete a new licensing procedure,” which could take at least eight weeks, a spokesperson for Karremans told Bloomberg.

It’s unclear whether the company scrapped plans to build the 417-foot (127.1 meters) superyacht, code-named Y721, or it is looking for another way to access the sea.

Oceanco declined to comment, while Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The New York Times earlier reported the builder’s decision not to apply for a permit.

The 95-year-old De Hef is considered an icon of Rotterdam’s industrial heritage as a shipbuilding hub, and news of its partial dismantling has caused a stir among locals.

“This man has earned his money by structurally cutting staff, evading taxes, avoiding regulations and now we have to tear down our beautiful national monument?” Rotterdam politician Stephan Leewis said in February.

Bezos, 58, is the world’s second-richest person with a $139.9 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

It’s not the first headache caused by Y721’s tall masts. The enormity of the yacht’s sails will make it unsafe to land a helicopter onboard, so Bezos has commissioned a support yacht equipped with a helipad to trail alongside.

The Y721 marked a golden season for superyacht manufacturers as the pandemic saw personal wealth levels soar and yacht sales to roughly double to 887 in 2021, according to VesselsValue data.

By Pablo Fernandez Cras. With assistance from Cagan Koc. © 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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