A Biblical-sized Noah’s Ark? Could such a thing even exist? And who would build it? A Dutch man with a dream sets out to build a Noah’s Ark using the specs laid out in the Bible. His amazing creation is a stunning work of art.
14. A Grand Idea
The story of the modern Noah’s Ark started in 1993, when a Dutch man named Johan Huibers was reading his children a bedtime story about Noah’s Ark. He started to have a grand idea: building his own replica of the Ark. His wife thought this was a grandiose dream, saying by the time he finished it, maybe they “can all go on vacation to the moon.”
13. Realm of a Thousand Islands
Huibers grew up in Noord-Holland, the province called “Realm of a thousand islands.” He credits his childhood with his fascination with water. According to his website, when Huibers “was 24, he encountered God, who planted a desire in his heart to help others. Having been involved in adventure filled aid projects in Ethiopia, Albania and Bosnia, he set about realizing his big dream: to reconstruct Noah’s Ark.”
12. A Dream Realized
A dream told of a flood destroying Noord-Holland convinced him to roll the dice on building the replica. He was a 33-year old contractor and carpenter. His first Ark was towed by a tugboat down the Netherland canals.
11. First Ark
That first Ark was completed in 2006. However, there was something bugging him about the finished product. According to Huibers, it was only half the size as the one described in the Bible. He knew he had to do much more.
10. Great Craftsmanship
Starting in 2008, Huibers and his team started building the enormous replica. The finished boat took until 2012 to complete and cost over $1.6 million. The craftsmanship apparent in the structure is readily apparent, but Huibers is a bit more humble about his accomplishment. “We’re not professional boat-makers. A lot of stuff here is a bit crooked.”
9. Steel Frame
The ship was made with specifications in the Tanakh or Mikra, otherwise known as the Hebrew Bible. It started with a steel frame, then pine and American cedar. It stands as high as a five-story building. It is 410 long, 95 feet wide, and weighs over 2,500 tons! More than 5,000 people can fit inside the Ark at one time, but no one is certain that many could actually float.
8. Size from Bible
The size of the Ark is impressive. It includes animal models based on the details set forth in the Bible. The specific passage reads “And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred 8 cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.” Huibers tried to recreate the size by looking at other historical measurement units used by ancient cultures.
7. Eight Workers, 1200 trees
It took eight workers four years to finish the product. The amount of wood used is equivalent to 1200 trees. Although the Bible specified that the Ark was built from the unknown gopher wood, but no such wood is known to exist. The word “gofer” (translated as gopher) only appears once in the text and there is no Hebrew word matching it.
According to the Greek Septuagint, the word is translated as xylon tetragonon, or squared timber.
6. No Live Animals
There are no plans to include live animals. To construct the boat, Huibers used a steel barge in Schagen, about 50 miles from Amsterdam. The boat has been tugged through the canals to both Rotterdam and Arnhem.
5. Tourist Destination
Originally, this Ark was a tourist attraction in Dordrecht, Netherlands. However, Huibers and the town could not come to an agreement about the Ark’s future. At one time, Huibers wanted to sail it to Rio for the Olympics, but that endeavor was deemed unsafe.
The devout Huibers said he views the proper resting place for the Ark as Israel. ” This is a copy of God’s ship. It only makes sense to take it to God’s land.” For now, Huibers is looking for opportunities to display his vessel. His website is soliciting donations to help him raise the money to tug the ship to Israel.
Why does it need tugboats? The Ark is built to old specifications with a new steel frame, but it does not have a motor. The estimated cost of renting tugboats for the journey was $1.3 million. Huibers has also proposed purchasing a barge to move the boat on a tour of North and South America.
2. Breaking Loose
Although the boat was recently sold to artist Aad Peters, who is currently living in the boat in the Netherlands. In January of 2018, the Ark was caught in a serious storm, breaking free of its moorings and slamming into other vessels.
According to Peters, the strong winds actually moved the boulders it was moored to in the small harbor of Urk. “We had fastened it properly as we‘re used to storms. I don‘t know how it managed to break loose,” he said.