Thursday, February 3rd, 2022
Bombed Bridge Gets Amazon Treatment
It was bombed by the Nazis during World War II and was subsequently rebuilt but now the historic Koningshavenbrug bridge over the Nieuwe Maas river in Rotterdam, and known to locals as De Hef, is to be dismantled again.
This time it is happening to allow a 127 metre, 3 masted superyacht built to pass.
In a process that will take a few weeks and cause chaos this summer, the middle section of the huge steel girder bridge will be removed to give enough clearance for the masts.
The yacht is Y721 and she is being built by Oceanco for Jeff Bezos, 57, one of the world’s richest men who made his money transforming online bookseller Amazon into the global shopping giant it is today.
The 430-million-euro (sailing yacht with its trio of masts that soar 40 metres into the sky is too big for the iconic bridge, which dates from 1878.
However, the decision to accommodate the yacht has angered the Rotterdam Historical Society, who have said: “Employment is important, but there are limits to what you can and may do to our heritage.”
It has upset local residents as well, because when the bridge was last renovated in 2017, the local council pledged that it would never be dismantled again, and residents are angry that the promise is being broken just to appease a billionaire
As well as having been bombed in 1940, the iconic bridge with its two very distinctive towers and a noticeable green tint to its steel structure was first built in 1927 and has been a key feature throughout Rotterdam’s history since then. During its time De Hef has been no stranger to newspaper headlines.
In 1933, a Dutchman named Lou Vlasblom made a then record breaking dive from the top of the bridge. Two weeks later, Jan Tabbernee died trying to match the stunt. An attempt to permanently demolish the bridge, in 1993, was met with such fierce local resistance that the plan was abandoned and in 2014, the bridge by then an officially protected national landmark, lost its footbridge that ran between the two towers. It was after that footpath was reinstated that the council promised never to close the bridge again.
But money talks and Bezos has plenty of it. So much so he has offered to pay for the bridge to be dismantled and put back together again once his yacht has passed through. One local said it was bombed once and it took an amazon effort to rebuild it. Now the same is happening again
When the superyacht, currently known as Y721, launches later this year, it will be the largest sailing yacht in history and is the longest yacht to ever have been built in the Netherlands.