The city of Rotterdam is planning to disassemble part of a historic bridge, De Hef. This is in order to make way for the delivery of a pleasure craft, the new superyacht ordered by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Bezos’ as-yet-unnamed vessel will be the largest sailing yacht in operation and the largest ever built at Oceanco. As of now, the Rotterdam shipyard that is now finishing its construction. When complete, it will have an air draft that is too high to get through the historic Koningshaven Bridge, known locally as De Hef.
Though its origin dates back to 1878, the bridge opened in 1927. It was heavily damaged in May 1940 during the bombing of Rotterdam. It was one of the first parts of the city to be restored during the postwar reconstruction. In 1993, the bridge lost its function as a river crossing for train traffic because of the advent of a new tunnel. A plan to demolish De Hef encountered so much resistance that it was abandoned. The bridge has now been a monument ever since. It was restored to ensure its longevity in 2017.
The yard has decided not to ship the yacht’s hull past the bridge without first stepping the masts. It would prefer to complete all work on site. It has the support of Rotterdam’s municipal government, which would prefer to keep the employment and economic activity of the yacht’s construction in town. This means that the bridge’s center section will have to be removed for a day.