Historic Dutch bridge to be DISMANTLED for Jeff Bezos's superyacht

Historic Dutch bridge will be DISMANTLED so Jeff Bezos’s newly-built £400m Y721 superyacht with three giant masts can pass through (and the Amazon billionaire will foot the bill)

  • Y721 will be the biggest sailing yacht in the world when it is completed this year
  • Currently being finished at Oceano shipyard in Alblasserdam in The Netherlands
  • But in order for it to reach the ocean, the iconic Koningshavenbrug bridge in Rotterdam, known to locals as De Hef, will have to be dismantled for a day
  • Despite being 130ft when fully raised, there will still not be enough clearance 

A historic Dutch bridge will be dismantled to allow Jeff Bezos’s newly-built superyacht to pass through, with the bill being footed by the Amazon billionaire.

The £400million, 417ft (127 metre) Y721 will be the biggest sailing yacht in the world when it is completed this year in the Netherlands, overtaking the current largest ocean-going passenger ship Sea Cloud.

It is currently being built at the Oceano shipyard in Alblasserdam in the west of the Netherlands, but in order to get out to sea the iconic Koningshavenbrug bridge in Rotterdam, known to locals as De Hef, will have to be dismantled.

The the iconic Koningshavenbrug bridge in Rotterdam, known to locals as De Hef will be dismantled to allow Jeff Bezos’s newly-built superyacht to pass through, with the bill being footed by the Amazon billionaire

The £400million, 417ft Y721 will be the biggest sailing yacht in the world when it is completed this year in the Netherlands, overtaking the current largest ocean-going passenger ship

Bezos’s ownership of the yacht was confirmed in the book Amazon Unbound, which described the boat as ‘one of the finest sailing yachts in existence’. Pictured: Bezos (left) with girlfriend Lauren Sanchez

The Amazon founder’s secretive yacht – a glimpse of which was caught in October – will feature three enormous masts and three decks, and it will be unable to fit under the bridge, even with its full clearance of 130ft (40 metres).

When the bridge was renovated in 2017, the local council pledged that it would never be dismantled again.

However, according to Dutch broadcaster Rijnmond, that promise is set to be broken to accommodate Bezos’s giant ship, with the Amazon founder promising to cover the costs needed for the work.

De Hef was first built over the Nieuwe Maas river in 1927 and has been a key feature throughout Rotterdam’s history since its construction.

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. 

The bridge, characterised by its two towers and the green tint to its steel, was heavily damaged in 1940 during the bombardment of Rotterdam, and is now officially protected as a landmark.

Previous attempts to permanently demolish the bridge, such as one in 1993, were met with fierce resistance from locals, who succeeded in blocking the plan.

And for a brief period between 2014 and 2017, the De Hef lost its footbridge between the two towers, with the council promising to not dismantle it again.

Despite its iconic status, Oceano and Bezos have successfully lobbied the local council in order for the bridge to be dismantled to allow his yacht to pass.

Despite the bridge’s iconic status, yacht builder Oceano and Bezos have successfully lobbied the local council in order for the bridge to be dismantled to allow his yacht to pass

The Amazon founder’s secretive yacht will feature three ‘enormous’ masts and several decks. It is being built by custom yacht builder Oceanco and is thought to be based on the company’s Black Pearl ship

Rijnmond reported that councillors agreed to the request despite facing opposition from local history experts and other residents.

Ton Wesselink, a member of the local history society Historisch Genootschap Roterodamum, told the broadcaster: ‘Jobs are important, but there are limits with what you can and should do with our industrial heritage.’

But the leader of the project Marcel Walravens praised the council’s decision, saying there was no other option, and hopes only have to remove the top section. 

‘This mainly concerns the passage of a ship with high masts through De Hef. At the Koninginnebrug we can press a button and it opens,’ he said.

‘That is not possible here, because De Hef has a maximum height. The only alternative is to take out the middle part.’ 

Walravens said that he hopes that, if managed well, the middle section of the bridge should only be removed for a single day to allow the yacht to pass through.

In October last year, the superyacht known as Y721 was rolled out of the Zwijndrecht shipyard, before being moved to Alblasserdam to be given its final fittings.

It is being built by Oceanco and is thought to be based on the company’s Black Pearl ship, one of the largest and most ecological yachts in the world.

De Hef was first built over the Nieuwe Maas river in 1927 and has been a key feature throughout Rotterdam’s history since its construction. The bridge was heavily damaged in 1940 during the bombardment of Rotterdam, and is now officially protected as a landmark

Pictured: The Black Pearl, the largest DynaRig sailing yacht in the world, with three 230ft tall (70 metre) carbon masts, and was built in 2018

The Black Pearl is the largest DynaRig sailing yacht in the world, with three 230ft tall (70 metre) carbon masts, and was built in 2018.

Bezos’s ownership of it was confirmed in the book Amazon Unbound, which described the boat as ‘one of the finest sailing yachts in existence’. 

Bezos lost his place as the richest man in the world last year to space tech rival Elon Musk. He currently has a net worth of $175billion (£130billion).       

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