A deeply pious Dutch businessman is well on his way to completing a faithful reconstruction of Noah’s Ark in scaled down form on the basis of biblical texts, the Volkskrant newspaper reported on Thursday.
Johan Huibers (47) plans to take his 70m vessel on a tour of the Dutch waterways once it is complete, hoping to set out in spring next year.
Huibers, from Schagen in the province of North Holland, north of Amsterdam, conceived the idea 13 years ago.
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He embarked on the project with his son Roy (17) a couple of months ago after taking out a loan of €300 000 from the local bank.
“I have studied six translations of the Bible and arrived at a construction drawing,” he told the daily.
When complete, the ark will be 70m long, 9,5m wide and 12,9m high. It is being constructed in a shed at one of Huibers’s businesses.
The facade will have to be dismantled to get the ark out once it is complete.
Huibers said he bought about 1 200 pine trees to complete the project. All the work is being done on the premises.
“[The wood is] all sawn here. There was an old sawing machine on the premises written off and literally standing among the grazing sheep,” Huibers said.
“I bought it for a song. Even the motors still worked. I plugged it in and the huge thing worked at once.
“That is no coincidence, but a sign from God. He knows how to run his business,” the devout believer said.
Huibers has researched his planned route carefully and believes that the ark, towed by two tugs, will pass through the various locks and under the bridges on the way.
He plans to moor his ark along the way for the devout — and the merely curious — to inspect.
Huibers wants to set up a foundation to run the ark and plans to use the funds raised to build a full-scale version in a couple of years.
“But then in all its glory: 150m long, 25m wide and 15m high. Precisely as it is written in Genesis,” he said, referring to the first book of the Bible.