Wednesday 9 February 2022

Thousands of angry Dutch residents pledge to pelt Jeff Bezos’ superyacht with rotten eggs

 Incensed by their city's purported plans to dismantle a historic bridge just to allow tech billionaire Jeff Bezos' superyacht to pass through port, thousands of residents in Rotterdam, Netherlands are reportedly planning to show their displeasure by heaving rotten eggs at the vessel as it sets out to sea.

The Amazon founder's 417-foot long party boat, reportedly valued at $485 million, is being constructed in the nearby shipbuilding city of Alblasserdam by the company Oceanco. Once it hits the open waves, it will become the largest yacht to ever do so. However, getting there has proved to be somewhat of a problem.

The superyacht's only path to the sea requires passage under Rotterdam's 145-year-old Koningshaven lift bridge, a Dutch landmark known to locals as "De Hef." But going under will not be possible given that the vessel's three masts are much taller than the bridge's 130-foot clearance.

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In response to reports last week that the city had agreed to dismantle the bridge to allow the yacht to pass through, residents took to social media in protest.

According to Dutch publication BN Destem, one resident, 40-year-old Pablo Strörmann, circulated an invite on Facebook urging locals to join him in taking a case of rotten eggs to launch at the vessel in the event it moves through the waterway.

"Rotterdam was built from the rubble by Rotterdammers and we don't just take it apart for the phallus symbol of a megalomaniac billionaire. Not without a fight," Strörmann wrote.

He reportedly meant the protest as something of a joke, but it nevertheless caught on. As of last Thursday, nearly 3,000 Rotterdammers pledged to take part and another 10,000 indicated they would be "interested" in joining.

The Dutch outlet said Strörmann called the demonstration "not too serious," yet described De Hef as close to his heart, "Because I'm a Rotterdammer and I think people with a lot of money should realize that you can't make everything."

"They should stay away from De Hef," he added, laughing off the city's argument that the shipbuilding has generated jobs for the local economy, noting, "If there are some egg sellers at De Hef, it will also be good for the economy."

Though the dismantling seems inevitable, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb over the weekend denied reports that the city council had reached an agreement on the plan, saying that an application for a permit had not yet been approved.

He went on to say that if the project were to proceed, either Bezos or Oceanco would be responsible for footing the bill.

In any case, the move will be extremely unpopular. The bridge reportedly dates back to 1878. It was rebuilt after the Nazis bombed it in 1940 during World War II. Then in 2017, after the city completed a major repair on the bridge, officials promised residents it would not be dismantled again.

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