Dutch Johan Huibers poses on board of the 150 metre-long Noah’s ark he created at an old abandoned quay on the Merwede River in Dordrecht on June 21, 2011.
DORDRECHT: For three years, the quaint old city of Dordrecht has watched in amazement as a local businessman’s dream of building a real-life Noah’s ark, stocked with thousands of plastic animals, became a reality.
The enormous vessel stands at an abandoned quay on the Merwede River, about 65 kilometres (40 miles) south of Amsterdam. Here, Johan Huibers, 52, and a team of 50 dedicated employees put the final touches to what they believe is the only life-size wooden ark in existence.
“We want to tell people about God,” the deeply religious Dutchman told AFP when asked why he undertook the project. “We wanted to build something that can help explain the Bible in real terms.”
The plan is to open what Huibers, who is in construction, calls “a Bible museum” by the end of the year, but he will allow local residents in on a one-day sneak preview later this month.
His undertaking is all the more amazing as Huibers is building the replica according to ancient standards cited in the Book of Genesis, which say the boat was 300 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 50 cubits wide.
With a cubit estimated roughly as the distance between the elbow and fingertips, or a half-metre (1.5 feet), this makes the ark’s dimensions staggering — about 150 metres long (490 feet), roughly four storeys high and some 25 metres across. It weighs around 3,000 tonnes, Huibers said.