How Much Will It Cost Jeff Bezos to Dismantle De Hef Bridge?

Rachel Curry - Author
By

Feb. 3 2022, Published 1:04 p.m. ET

Billionaire Jeff Bezos is known for being extravagant. Unlike his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, who married a schoolteacher and donated billions after their divorce, Bezos has made pricey trips to space and plans to sail his 417-foot superyacht.

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Now, Bezos wants to get that same superyacht through Rotterdam, but it’s going to take dismantling the De Hef bridge to do it. Here’s how much that project will cost the Amazon and Blue Origin founder.

Jeff Bezos wants to get his superyacht through the Rotterdam bridge.

Bezos ordered a superyacht from Dutch yacht builder Oceano. If Bezos wants to use the yacht outside of the Netherlands, he’ll have to get through Rotterdam first. The 417-foot long, 130-foot tall, three-mast yacht is extraordinarily long, tall, and wide, which makes it impossible to fit through Rotterdam’s Koningshaven bridge over the lower Rhine—known locally as the De Hef bridge.

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The superyacht is estimated to be worth $500 million and is being built in a nearby city called Alblasserdam. The yacht’s construction should be completed in 2022 and is named Y721. Once completed, it will be the largest yacht in the world.

Rotterdam is considered Europe’s maritime capital. The De Hef bridge is historic, but its clearance isn't enough for Y721. While no longer operational as a railway bridge thanks to the construction of a nearby tunnel, De Hef has been around since the 19th century and is now a national monument in the Netherlands. The bridge was fixed after damage during World War II and residents protested against demolition plans in the 1990s to protect the bridge.

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Ton Wesselink, the president of the Historical Society of Rotterdam, told reporters, “We don’t have many historic buildings in Rotterdam. Many monuments were lost during the war, and we are very fond of this bridge.”

How much will it cost to dismantle the De Hef bridge?

Rotterdam dismantled the De Hef bridge from 2014–2017 to complete a restoration. Once that was complete, the city reportedly said it wouldn't dismantle De Hef again. Now, that decision seems to be reversed—and all it took was a little influence from Bezos’ wallet.

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Rotterdam won't be paying for the bridge to be dismantled for Bezos’ superyacht. The cost isn't set in stone yet because there are “a lot of details [that] need to be worked out,” according to Rotterdam municipality spokeswoman Frances van Heist. Some of the details include what part of the bridge needs to be dismantled, how long it will take, and when the city will be able to reconstruct it once Bezos’ yacht is through.

According to Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, the superyacht construction has created jobs and spurred economic growth. He says that the cost of temporarily dismantling the De Hef bridge is worth it—especially since Bezos and Oceano are footing the bill. While the cost isn't known yet, Rotterdam spokespeople are making it clear that the cost will be worth it for residents. Not everyone agrees. They see the move as a flash of ultra-wealth on behalf of Bezos.

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