In a story of truly Biblical proportions, a man in the Netherlands has launched a full-scale, functioning model of Noah’s Ark. The culmination of Johan Huibers 20-year project was launched on Monday, December 10.
Using the Bible account in Genesis chapters 6-9, Huibers built a vessel that is 427 feet long, 95 feet across and 75 feet high. One difference between the ark’s of Noah and Johan is the construction material. Noah’s Ark was constructed with Gopher Wood which has yet to be conclusively identified. Johan’s Ark is made from American Cedar and Pine and built (anachronistically) on top of a steel barge. Unlike other Ark replicas, Johan’s Ark is seaworthy.
Huibers and his team of five helpers finished the ship in a little over four years of construction, substantially faster than the 100 years it took Noah and family. To be fair, Huibers is significantly younger than the 600-year-old Noah.
“I had a call from American television,” Huibers says, laughing. “This has nothing to do with the end of the Mayan calendar.”
The ship is currently moored in Dordrecht, Norway just south of Rotterdam. While Huibers’ Ark probably can’t hold two of every animal (or seven each of the “clean” animals if you’re reading Genesis 7:2-3); it will be able to receive up to 3,000 visitors per day. The deck of the boat has an array of stuffed and plastic animals like buffalo’s, zebras, gorillas, tigers, and more. There is also a petting zoo with friendlier animals (ponies, sheep, rabbits, and the like) and exotic birds.
“This boat — it’s amazing,” said Alfred Jongile in an Associated Press article. Jongile was visiting from South Africa with his Dutch wife.
According to the article, Huibers wants “to make people question that so that they go looking for answers” and ultimately find salvation through God.
“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,” said Martin Konjin, another visitor on opening day.
In a different flood-related story, an archaeologist believes to have discovered proof of an ancient flood in the Black Sea. Robert Ballard, the famous underwater archaeologist who discovered the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985, has unearthed an ancient shoreline in the Black Sea.
The submerged shoreline was found 400 feet below the surface of the water, which Ballard believes is proof that a catastrophic flood took place in the Black Sea area. Through carbon dating the shells along the shoreline, Ballard estimates that the event happened around 5,000 BC, around the time frame some believe Noah’s flood would have occurred.
Some experts, including Ballard, believe that the story of Noah’s Ark is based on the collective memories of survivors of a catastrophic regional flood.
“It probably was a bad day,” Ballard said in an interview with ABC News. “At some magic moment, it broke through and flooded this place violently, and a lot of real estate, 150,000 square kilometers of land, went under.”
Proponents of this theory suggest that the same flood is the reason for similar flood stories in other regional books like the Sumarian Epic of Gilgamesh.
Full Size Noah’s Ark Replica
Noah’s Ark rebuilt in the Netherlands.