February 11, 2022
It’s not exactly smooth sailing these days in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam, where locals are voicing their objection to a plan that would temporarily dismantle an historic bridge to enable the passage of a mega-yacht reportedly owned by former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, reports NPR.
In fact, some already are making plans—albeit, in jest—for what they will do if the project comes to fruition: Throw eggs at the yacht as it traverses the water under the Koningshaven Bridge, known locally as “De Hef.”
Some 13,000 people are “interested” and nearly 4,000 have said they will attend a Facebook event titled “Throwing eggs at superyacht Jeff Bezos,” which has been shared more than 1,000 times in the week since its creation.
“Calling all Rotterdammers, take a box of rotten eggs with you and let’s throw them en masse at Jeff’s superyacht when it sails through the Hef in Rotterdam,” wrote organizer Pablo Strörmann.
He told the NL Times that the protest started as a joke among friends and has quickly gotten “way out of hand.” (The English-language news site also notes that this isn’t Strörmann’s first campaign to go viral.)
The news of De Hef’s potential disassembly, however brief, has clearly struck a chord with both locals and international observers.
It all started last week when Dutch broadcaster Rijnmond reported that the city appeared willing to grant a request to dismantle the centuries-old steel bridge so that Bezos’ yacht could pass through.
De Hef was built in 1927 as a railway bridge, with a midsection that can be lifted to allow ship traffic to pass underneath, according to The Washington Post. It was replaced by a tunnel and decommissioned in 1994–but was saved from demolition by public protests and later declared a national monument.
The yacht’s three masts apparently would be too high for the bridge’s roughly 130-foot clearance. The yacht in question was reportedly commissioned by Bezos and currently is being built at the Oceanco shipyard in The Netherlands, according to Boat International. It will comprise three masts with aluminum and steel construction and will measure more than 415 feet in length.
Once delivered, not only will she become the world’s largest sailing yacht, but she also will hold the title for the largest superyacht ever built in the Netherlands.
The waterway where the bridge sits is the only way the ship can get from the shipyard in Alblasserdam to the open seas, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. So Oceanco asked Rotterdam officials to temporarily remove the middle section of the bridge.
City spokesperson Netty Kros told the CBC that “the applicant” would cover the costs of the project but did not clarify whether that refers to the yacht’s owner, the shipbuilder or both.
Bloomberg reports that Oceanco will foot the bill. NPR has reached out to Amazon and Oceanco to confirm these details.
The city appeared to agree to the arrangement last week, with municipal project leader Marcel Walravens telling Rijnmond that the project would proceed for logistical and economic reasons. He said an exact plan was being developed but estimated it would take about a week to prepare and another week to “put everything back in place.”
Research contact: @NPR