Moored in the city of Dordrecht, just south of Rotterdam, Holland, a new landmark is visible bobbing against the extremely flat and floodprone landscape. Johan Huibers has realised his 20-year quest to build a full-scale, functioning model of Noah’s Ark.
Huibers relied on the Bible for the boat’s measurements, using books 6-9 of Genesis as his inspiration, following the instructions God gives Noah down to the last cubit.
Translating to modern measurements, Huibers came up with a vessel that works out to a whopping 427 feet (130 meters) long, 95 feet (29 meters) across and 75 feet (23 meters) high. Perhaps not big enough to fit every species on Earth, two by two, as described in the Bible, but plenty of bulk to create quite an impression, particularly as it’s filled with plastic animals.
Elsewhere on the ark is a petting zoo with live animals such as ponies, dogs, sheep, and rabbits and an impressive aviary of exotic birds. It also boasts a restaurant on the upper level and a movie theatre with a capacity for 50 people. Around the edges of each level of the craft are displays on ancient Middle Eastern history and dress, scenes from the life of Noah, and games for kids, including water pumps and a system of levers to lift bales of hay.
There is plenty of storage in hatches should the need arise for setting forth, and Huibers is even considering touring Europe or further afield with his awesome Ark.
Ark of Noah - .. ©
Huibers, a builder by trade, told Dutch media that the concept began after a nightmare he had in 1992, when the low-lying Netherlands was flooded, as it has been many times.
Huibers thinks that floods of Biblical proportions are still possible, especially given the impact of global warming. He referred to a New Testament passage prophesying that 'the cities of the coast shall tremble' near the end of times.
Preparing for a flood is a secondary aim, as the builder said he wants to make people think what their purpose is here on Earth. 'I want to make people question that so that they go looking for answers', and ultimately find salvation through God and eternal life, he said.
As of 10 December, the Ark is open for business, forecasting as many as 3,000 visitors per day could be hosted onboard for the 'presentations, scientific background information, several films, paintings and much more bringing the history of Noah to life'.
Huibers has also written the story of his quest, releasing his autobiography 'The Unsinkable Dream', which his website describes as 'a compelling, moving and yet humorous account of what led him to build Noah's Ark'.
Check it all out at www.arcofnoah.org