It's always good policy to make sure that before you buy a new couch, double-check that it can fit in your doorway, or to measure to see if that new pickup can fit in your garage.
Well, those sorts of problems don’t appear to matter if you’re one of the world’s richest people. If you, say, order a new yacht that’s too big to get out of the harbor, the locals will apparently just remove sections of their historic bridges, no questions asked.
Reports from the Netherlands indicate that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has commissioned what will be the largest sailing yacht in the world. The 416-foot vessel is under construction by yacht builder Oceano at its shipyard in Alblasserdam, just upriver from the city of Rotterdam and its Koningshavenbrug bridge — which is reportedly too low to accommodate the 131-foot masts.
So, in order to allow the ship to pass from the factory to the open ocean, local officials have agreed to remove part of the bridge this summer.
The 19th century bridge was reportedly the first Rotterdam landmark to be restored following World War II, and Rotterdam officials said they weighed their responsibility for the bridge against the economic impact of the ship’s construction before deciding to temporarily dismantle part of the landmark.
The city said the owner of the vessel — who was not named by either the city or the shipbuilder — would cover the project’s costs. The city did not indicate how much that would be, but the options were either that or let the equivalent of $485 million sit in a Dutch river in perpetuity.
City officials assured annoyed locals that the bridge would be promptly restored while creating some jobs in the process.
The controversy comes amid a boom in superyacht orders as a growing list of billionaires seeks new recreational options amid the pandemic. After all, why let a half-billion burn a hole in your pocket when life is so fragile — especially when your federal tax rate reportedly amounts to less than 1%.