Dutch carpenter builds replica of Noah’s Ark…plans to sail to London Olympics

Channels Television  
Updated July 7, 2012

A Dutch creationist is putting  finishing touches onto a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark, which he has built according to a blueprint set out in the Bible.

Johan Huibers spent three years on the construction and more than £1.03million building the gigantic wooden boat – and now has his sights set on sailing it up the Thames for the Olympics.

This feat of true biblical proportions was inspired by a dream Mr Huibers had 20 years ago, in which he saw part of his native Netherlands submerged in a flood like the one featured in the Book of Genesis.

He has been obsessed with bringing the story of the ark to life ever since, MSNBC reports, and in 2004 he built a half-scale version and floated it along the country’s canals.

Tourists flocked to see the smaller prototype when Mr Huibers opened it to the public, but the proceeds from admissions went straight back into funding his ambition to build a full-size ship

The narrative of the ark, in which God commanded Noah to prepare for a great flood sent to purge the world of evil, specifies that the boat was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high.

Mr Huibers converted this ancient unit of measurement, which is based on the length of the forearm, to come about a meaurment of  450ft long.

This puts the boat, which opens to the public on Monday at more than half the length of the Titanic and it has been  nicknamed ‘Johan’s Ark’, .

Though it may not be able to shelter two of every animal, as the original story dictates, it can hold 1,500 people – not to mention a menagerie of life-size plastic creatures including giraffes, elephants and donkeys, as well as a few live chickens.

Plastic animals on board

As it weighs in at almost 3,000 tons and is made from Swedish pine reinforced with steel, it may be hard to believe that the ark is, in fact, seaworthy.

It is docked in the western city of Dordrecht, where Mr Huibers, the owner of a construction company, pieced it together with the help of some friends and two of his children.

In the 15th century, the city was the site of one of the deadliest floods in history, named St Elizabeth’s flood, which is thought to have claimed as many as 10,000 lives.


Long before the metric or imperial systems came along, craftsmen in various parts of the world dealt in less precise units known as cubits.

As this was based on the length of a forearm, the exact value varies from one ancient civilisation to the next. It is most commonly defined as the distance from the elbow to the middle fingertip.

The Biblical cubit is generally thought to be about 18in, but Ancient Egyptian cubit rods measure closer to 20in.