Dutchman Johan Huibers is building a working replica of Noah’s Ark as a testament to his Christian faith.
The 47-year-old from Schagen, 45km (30 miles) north of Amsterdam, plans to set sail in September through the interior waters of the Netherlands.
Johan’s Ark is a fifth of the size of Noah’s and will carry farmyard animals.
Mr Huibers, who plans to open the vessel as a religious monument and zoo, hopes the project will renew interest in Christianity in the Netherlands.
Although Mr Huibers has tried to remain true to the ark described in the Bible, Johan’s Ark is constructed with American cedar and Norwegian pine, rather than “gopher wood”.
‘Smell of dung’
According to Genesis, Noah kept seven pairs of most domesticated animals, and one breeding pair of all other creatures.
Noah’s wife, three sons and three daughters-in-law lived together on the boat for almost a year while the world was flooded.
Mr Huibers’ vision is more modest – he said he plans to stock his ark with horses, lambs, chickens and rabbits – mostly baby animals to save space.
“This will speak very much to children, because it will give them something tangible to see that Noah’s Ark really existed,” Mr Huibers told the Associated Press news agency.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be just under 1m euros (£0.7m; US$1.2m) and was funded with bank loans.
Mr Huibers plans to charge people to tour the boat and said a drink and religious pamphlet will be included in the admission price. At least 100,000 people will need to visit for the project to break-even financially.
Mr Huibers said his wife was not very keen on the idea.
“She always says: ‘Why don’t you go dig wells in Ethiopia?’,” he said. “I’ve been involved in projects there before but she understands this is my dream.”
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