“This is a copy of God’s ship. It only makes sense to take it to God’s land,” said boat builder Johan Huibers.
By: Mara Vigevani/TPS
A Dutch Christian businessman who built a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark has announced he hopes to sail the 95-foot-wide, 410-foot-long, and 75-foot-tall vessel to Israel.
The Noah’s Ark replica was built by Johan Huibers during the years 2008 to 2013 together with other amateur carpenters.
The Ark has been floating along Holland’s Maas River in the Dutch Bible Belt, a strip of land in the southern Netherlands with a high concentration of conservative Orthodox Calvinist Protestants.
Dubbed “Johan’s Ark,” it is open to the public in the Netherlands. It has five decks, is entirely constructed of Swedish pine wood and cost $5 million to construct. The ark is longer than a football field and can hold more than 5,000 people at once.
In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency earlier this month, Huibers, who made a fortune building storage spaces, said he wants to take the ark to “God’s land” as soon as he raises the approximately $1.3 million necessary for getting there.
“This is a copy of God’s ship. It only makes sense to take it to God’s land,” he told JTA.
Huibers planned to sail it to Israel immediately after its completion, but the plan was postponed “due to the massive wildfires Israel was dealing with at the time,” according to the Ark of Noah Foundation website.
According to the site, the ark was created for Christian educational purposes, focused on spreading the Gospel, and social outreach to the underprivileged.
Huibers, 60, has always been fascinated with navigation. At the age of 24, he firmed up his religious convictions, but the decision to build the ark came when he was 33, after he dreamt that a fierce storm-tide flooded the entire province of Noord-Holland, in the area where he grew up.
Huibers also has plans to sail the ark to Brazil and to several port cities in South, Central and North America.