Johan’s Ark: Biblical vessel recreated

One Dutch family has nothing to fear if there is a second great flood. Using the original biblical text, they have reconstructed Noah’s Ark and promised that anyone can come aboard for free should the necessity arise.

This ark is Johan Huibers’ second attempt at recreating the legendary vessel. In 2007 he built his first ark, which was half the size of the biblical one.

It all started with a dream that the modern carpenter had in 1992. In that dream he saw his homeland disappearing under flood waters. When he woke up, he knew exactly what he had to do.

Huibers followed the instructions word for word from the Book of Genesis. Starting from the small version, he moved on to a full-scale replica. Three-and-a-half years later, the 8,000-square-meter vessel is almost ready to welcome its first guests.

Huibers spent more than 1 million euros on the first project. The new ark, meanwhile, is partly financed by entrance fees to the first ark as well as donations and loans.

The boat will host several biblically-themed attractions and a restaurant. Huibers’ website advertises the ark as an ideal place for a family outing.

­Johan’s Ark is the size of a five-story building; it is 50 cubits wide, 300 cubits long and 30 cubits high, just like in the Bible. However, it is constructed using American cedar and pine, rather than the gopher wood specified in the Bible.

Note: the cubit is an obsolete unit of length originally based on the length of the forearm.

In an interview with Russia’s Channel 1 television, Huibers said that the chances of surviving a great flood in his ark are 90 percent, even if there is a wave equivalent to that which hit Japan this year.

“I cannot guarantee the other 10 percent,” he added.

Aboard Huibers’ vessel there is enough fresh water and food for a long journey, and he said that one could survive on the vessel for three to four years.

Onboard, plastic elephants, hippos and kangaroos are standing in for real animals. A plastic crocodile looks out of an ark window.

However, there are also real, live animals on the ark – not many, as it would be too expensive for the Huibers family to buy and feed them. There is a rabbit and several parrots. All of them are taken care of by Huibers’ daughter Deborah, who shares her father’s enthusiasm about the project.

“All my friends started asking me questions like, ‘What is your dad doing? Why is he doing that?’”, she said. “I was a little bit confused at first. How would the people react, would they like it or not… but everybody was really positive.”

Huibers has already certified his ark for oceanic trips across the Atlantic. Now it is serving as a floating museum. However, if there is a second Deluge, the Huibers are inviting everyone to get onboard – and salvation, as Johan Huibers has promised, will be completely free of charge.