The Dutch company building a super yacht for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has no plans to request permission to demolish part of a landmark Rotterdam bridge so the boat can reach the ocean, Trouw reported on Thursday.
There was a major outcry earlier this year when it emerged that the company, Oceanco, was planning to remove the middle section of the bridge temporarily so that the €500 million yacht could pass through.
Trouw used freedom of information legislation to find out more about the plan, and says Oceanco was so shocked by the February outcry that it has changed its mind.
‘Shipyard employees feel threatened and the company fears it will be vandalised,’ Trouw said. Rotterdam had cited the threats as an argument not to make all of the documents public.
At the time the news broke, locals, politicians and historians all expressed their concerns about the demolition plan.
GroenLinks councillor Stephan Leewis, for example, told Rijnmond at the time that he took a dim view of the permission, particularly in the light of Amazon personnel policies and tax and regulation avoidance battles.
‘Now, we have to break apart our beautiful listed monument?’ he reportedly said, in calling an emergency debate. ‘This really is a bridge too far.’
On social media, commentators also pointed out the apparent inconsistency in strict, Dutch listed building policy and the privilege apparently afforded to an American billionaire to take apart a bridge which the council had previously promised would no longer be touched.
One person even called on people to sign up to throw eggs at the yacht as it moved through.
The Koningshavenbrug, known to Rotterdammers as De Hef, was renovated in 2017 and the council pledged at the time it would never be dismantled again.
At 127 metres long, Bezos’ yacht is set to be the largest sailing yacht in the world when delivered at some point this year, according to Boat International. It is reportedly being moved from one shipyard to another for final fitting.
The implications of the decision not to apply for permission to take down part of the bridge are as yet unclear. Oceanco has not commented on the Trouw story.
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