Johan Huibers, a Dutch Christian, has this week completed a 20 year project to build a full-scale functioning model of Noah’s ark.
Huibers used the description of the ark as recorded in Genesis chapter 6, following the instructions God gave to Noah on how to build the ark. He converted the measurements to their modern equivalents, using as much of the original material described, as well as a mixture of steel frames and American cedar and pine.
The finished model of the ark measures 130 metres long, 29 metres across and 23 metres high. According to reports, Huiber’s Ark towers across the flat Dutch landscape and is easily visible from a highway near where it’s moored in the city of Dordrecht, south of Rotterdam.
Huibers, a builder by trade, began building the ark after a nightmare he had in 1992 in which the low-lying Netherlands was flooded.
While Huibers thinks that new floods are possible, he acknowledges the promise of Genesis 9 – that the rainbow is a sign of God’s promise not to destroy life on earth with a flood in the same way again.
Huibers’ objective in completing the epic project is more to inspire people to think about their particular purpose 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 told the Associated Press.
Huibers has opened up the Ark to the public. It can receive up to 3,000 visitors a day, and he hopes that they all learn about history and faith.
The ark’s main hold has a series of stalls supported by pine trunks. The stalls are filled with stuffed and plastic animals, including buffalo, zebra, gorillas, lions, tigers, bears and more. The ark also has a live petting zoo, a restaurant on the topmost level and a 50 seat capacity theatre. There are also displays on 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.
Visitor Martin Konijn told AP that he was impressed with the level of detail.
“You might know the story of Noah, okay, but if you see this you begin to get an idea of how it would actually have worked in practice.”
Huibers says he’s considering where to take the floating attraction next, including European ports or even across the Atlantic — though the latter would require transport aboard an even bigger ship.
Click here to see photos of the completed Ark