Rotterdam will dismantle a historic bridge so that a giant superyacht being built for Jeff Bezos in a local shipyard can pass through.
The Amazon founder’s vessel will be the biggest sailing yacht in the world, according to Boat International.
The three-masted yacht will stand at 127 metres, meaning it is be too tall to pass under the Koningshaven bridge as it heads out to sea.
The yacht’s builder, Oceanco, has asked the city in the Netherlands to take down the middle section of the bridge, which is known locally as De Hef and dates from 1878.
The company and Bezos, 58, have offered to pay for the work.
Marcel Walravens, the project leader at Rotterdam city council, said that it was “not practical” to partially finish the yacht – which is known only as Y721 and is said to have cost €430m – and finish construction elsewhere.
He told RTV: “If you carry out a big job somewhere, you want all your tools in that place. Otherwise you have to go back and forth constantly. In addition, this is such a large project that there are hardly any locations where this work is finished.
“From an economic perspective and maintaining employment, the municipality considers this a very important project. Rotterdam has also been declared the maritime capital of Europe.”
He said it would take about two weeks to dismantle the bridge.
“As the plans look now, the preparation will take about a week. There are a lot of cables on De Hef, and as soon as you remove the first one, it no longer works.
“After that week, we remove the middle part, and with a bit of luck, we will have it back a day later. After that it will take another week to put everything back in place.”
The decision has prompted anger among local historians.
Ton Wesselink, of the Rotterdam Historical Society, told RTV: “Employment is important, but there are limits to what you can and may do to our heritage.”