Need proof Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has a disconcertingly large fortune? Just ask Rotterdam. Rijnmond and The Washington Post have learned the Dutch city has agreed to temporarily dismantle part of the historic Koningshaven Bridge (often called De Hef) to let his upcoming superyacht, Y721, pass through this summer. City spokeswoman Frances van Heijst didn’t yet have a cost estimate, but stressed that shipbuilder Oceanco would cover the costs rather than the city.
As you might imagine, Y721’s design is… excessive. With a 417-foot length, three masts and several decks, the vessel is poised to be the world’s largest sailing yacht. It’s currently under construction in Alblasserdam and is believed to cost about $500 million. If Rotterdam hadn’t granted permission to dismantle part of the bridge, Oceanco would likely have needed to sail the partly constructed yacht under the bridge and finish construction at another dock.
The city is also catching some flak over the decision. Koningshaven, built in 1927, was declared a national monument after it was decommissioned in 1994 due to its significance as the first in Western Europe with a central section that raises to allow taller ships underneath. The city finished a three-year restoration of the bridge in 2017, and vowed to never dismantle the bridge again — the Bezos deal breaks that promise in spectacular fashion.
Not that Bezos will necessarily be fazed. Forbesestimates Bezos’ net worth at $166.6 billion as of this writing. He could pay for the Netherlands’ latest defense budget ($14.3 billion) ten times over and still afford the yacht. To him, dismantling the bridge is effectively a minor inconvenience where it it’s a huge affair for virtually everyone else.