When you’re as wealthy as Jeff Bezos, the world has a way of bending to your will. Mountains are moved. Lakes are drained. Bridges are removed to make room for your yacht. That last example is literally true.
There’s a famous bridge in Rotterdam, Netherlands, called De Hef. This bridge is able to accommodate crafts up to 130 feet high beneath its central span. Bezos’s long-in-the-works $500 million superyacht, which is known as Y721, has masts that tower over that height. The city has agreed to temporarily dismantle the bridge in order to let the ship pass through. That’s power.
The dismantling is scheduled for this summer, and even though it’s only temporary it’s still been the source of some understandable controversy in the Dutch city. One Dutch politician called the move “a bridge too far,” an irresistible piece of wordplay for this specific situation.
The concession probably has less to do with Bezos specifically and more with economic incentives for the Netherlands to maintain its reputation as what Bloomberg calls “the unofficial capital of boat building for the very wealthy.” Marcel Walravens is a council project leader in Rotterdam who said the concession was the “only alternative” for the city to complete the “very important [Y721] project.”
Fortunately, Oceanco, the company that’s building the yacht, will pay for the costs of dismantling (and eventually reassembling) the bridge, with at least some of the costs likely being passed down to Bezos himself, who can certainly afford it.
Still, not everyone is happy about the decision. The aforementioned Rotterdam politician Rotterdam politician Stephan Leewis took to Twitter to fire off some harsh words for Bezos himself:
“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? That is really going a bridge too far.”
As of this writing, Bezos has not commented publicly on the decision.