Building contractor Johan Huibers is a religious man obviously who came from England. One day, he had a dream that a horrible flood swept across the Netherlands, wiping out one of its regions. Johan also saw signs that he should build an ark like the one God called Noah to build in Genesis.
The story of Johan’s enormous ark dates back to 1992. That’s when he began consulting the Bible, non-fiction reference books, and DVDs about Noah’s Ark. Johan’s real ark–the first version–was constructed in the Port of Schagen from 2005-2007, measuring 230 feet long and costing $1.6 million. Johan sailed around the Netherlands in the first ark for 3.5 years. But that wasn’t the only ark he built…
After sailing the seas, the first ark was given to an organization, Ark of Noah, that would continue the maritime adventures of this mobile ark while Johan returned his attention to building a full-sized ark. This time around, Johan delved deeper into the Bible. He decided to build a second ark that would meet God’s exact dimensions as given to Noah when he was told to build an ark.
The second ark measured 430 feet long, 100 feet wide and stood 75 feet high. It was flood-proof, boasted seven stories, weighed 2,500 tons and was large enough to house 5,000 people at one time. Johan and eight people built it together using some of the original materials God mapped out for Noah, along with modern materials to help ensure its success.
This ark floating in Dordrecht, Netherlands, cost more than $4 million to construct and sits on a hidden floating steel platform made from 21 barges that used to be cargo containers. That allows the ark to be towed by tugboats, but not sail out to sea on its own.
With five decks, there was plenty of space in there, so Johan decided to add animals just like God had instructed Noah. Although Johan’s were life-sized plastic sculptures instead of the real thing, they nevertheless were breathtaking. For example, just one pair of life-sized elephants cost $11,000.
This second ark opened in 2012 to the public. To keep visitors to the ark entertained, Johan added real animals for a petting zoo of sorts, such as parrots, rabbits and peacocks. Throughout the ark, Johan retells the story of the Great Flood and God’s love.
To help draw people from all walks of life into the ark, Johan also built on the ark a restaurant and two movie theaters. People from around the world have traveled to see the ark.