Bezos yacht puts Rotterdam bridge on world map
The Koningshaven Bridge in Rotterdam has become world news now that part of the monumental bridge has to be temporarily removed so that a massive yacht owned by former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos can pass through. In recent days, reports about De Hef, as the 95-year-old bridge is also called, have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and French newspaper Le Parisien. It was also covered by the Italian, Spanish, German, and New Zealand press.
The New York Times wrote that Rotterdam is considering temporarily dismantling the historic bridge if the shipbuilder pays for it. The American newspaper referred to major protests that broke out in the 1990s when the municipality considered breaking down the bridge, which was no longer in use. The Washington Post wrote about the "industrial heritage" that has to be demolished in Rotterdam, the "maritime capital of Europe," because of the mega yacht.
On Thursday evening, mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said that no permit had been requested from the municipality of Rotterdam to temporarily remove the middle part of the drawbridge. That should happen sometime this summer to allow the massive ship of Bezos, the second richest man in the world, to pass. With a maximum vertical clearance of over 46 meters, De Hef is not high enough for the yacht.
Le Parisien paid attention to Aboutaleb, who emphasized the "economic interest" in response to criticism. The German magazine Der Spiegel reported that De Hef was the first building in Rotterdam to be rebuilt after the German bombing during World War II. The BBC reported that in 2017 the Rotterdam city council promised to never tear down the bridge again after restoration.
El Pais wrote that a Dutch "historic bridge must make way for a gigantic yacht." The Spanish newspaper called it a "controversial decision." The Italian Corriere Della Sera wrote that "a superyacht can be worth more than a historic bridge," and the Belgian newspaper De Standaard reports that the bridge, which "had a turbulent life," must make way for the ship.
The Dutch bridge also received attention on the other side of the world, with reports from Radio New Zealand and the Australian news site News.com.au, among others.
Reporting by ANP