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Rotterdam refuses to demolish the old bridge to allow the superyacht Jeff Bezos to pass: "Will you come and throw eggs?"  † VTM Instagram News

Rotterdam refuses to demolish the old bridge to allow the superyacht Jeff Bezos to pass: “Will you come and throw eggs?” † VTM Instagram News

Jeff Bezos is not allowed to sail through the waters of Rotterdam with his new 120-meter luxury yacht. There was an uproar months ago when the city considered demolishing part of a 95-year-old bridge to allow the passage of the Amazon founder’s yacht. But now, the Dutch boat company, Oceanco, has decided not to apply for a permit, according to a Rotterdam city council member.

It was not clear how billionaire Bezos’ yacht would leave the Netherlands and whether Oceanco would complete construction on the boat. The company declined to comment on Thursday. An Amazon spokeswoman also declined to comment.

The yacht was due to pass over the Koningshaven Bridge, known locally as “De Hef” in the summer, and was on track to become the world’s largest sailing yacht at 121 metres, according to Boat International magazine. But the bridge does not have enough clearance for the yacht, which was built in a neighboring town and had to pass there.

There was an uproar months ago when the city considered demolishing part of a 95-year-old bridge to allow the passage of the Amazon founder’s yacht:

a work day

Since Oceanco no longer wishes to place an order, the central section of the bridge will not be removed at this time, according to a public letter from Chancellor Vincent Karimans. Disassembly takes about a day, just like putting it back together, according to Peter van Druten, a spokesman for the Rotterdam municipality.

De Hef opened in 1927 and was the first vertical bridge in the Netherlands, but is no longer in use. Van Druten said it’s been dismantled before – most recently in 2017 for renovation. He said the bridge was “a symbol of the city”. The city said the full cost of the dismantling would have been covered by Oceanco, and the bridge would be restored immediately after that.

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City officials told reporters in February that Rotterdam had agreed to a short dismantling of the bridge to allow Mr. Bezos’ yacht to pass. But after a storm of protest, they returned to this statement and said that no decision had been made yet.

throwing eggs

A Facebook event several months ago called on townspeople to throw eggs at the boat. “Hef disassembly of Jeff Bezos’ latest game? Come and throw eggs!”

The boat yard in Zwijndrecht where Jeffrey Bezos’ yacht was built © AP

Last month, the newspaper honestly reported that Oceanco decided not to apply for a permit for fear of sabotage and threats. “This is concerning. The shipbuilder is just doing its job,” said Dick van Groningen, member of the Rotterdam Council at VVD.

The reactions are mixed so far. Some people applauded that the city should not submit to Bezos’ will. Facebook posts in response to the news included sentiments like, “Class! Keep your spine straight for such a few,” and “Let him get this thing with his rocket.”

‘Netherlands at its best’

“We’re glad that’s not going forward,” said Marvin Bilgoyne, a GroenLinks consultant. “The bridge is a national monument, and not much should be changed. It bothers us that you can do that with money.” But others thought it was a good opportunity for the city. “I speak to a lot of Rotterdamers,” said VVD council member Van Groningen. “They are very proud that ships like this sail through our city.”

Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and an important center for shipbuilding, including luxury yachts. “This is Holland at its best,” van Groningen said. “It’s about the port’s image, and you can be proud of that.”

The Koningshavenbrug, better known as De Hef.

The Koningshavenbrug, better known as De Hef. © ANP