It started with a dream.
Two decades ago, Dutch businessman Johan Huibers dreamt that the Netherlands was being flooded by the North Sea. The next day, he bought a book about Noah's arc, and soon thereafter resolved to build a replica of the ship. Finally, some four years after construction began, Huibers' dream has become a reality. A life-size model of Noah's arc now sits docked on the Merwede River in the Dutch town of Dordrecht, about 50 miles south of Amsterdamn.
Huibers used cubits, the dimensions laid out in the Book of Genesis, to construct the arc. The cubit is defined as the distance from a man's elbow to his fingertips, and for that Huibers used his own arm. Huibers' arc measured 300 cubits long (450 feet), 50 cubits wide (70 feet) and 30 cubits high (45 feet).
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Originally, Huibers wanted to sail the boat to London for the opening of the Olympic games, but safety concerns interfered with those plans. For the time being, the boat will be a floating museum, with live-size plastic animals scattered throughout.
Citing the Mayans' prophecy that the world may end later this year, Huibers' daughter says numerous people have contacted them regarding reserving space on the arc.
"But of course we tell them, the real safety is not here," Deborah Venema-Huibers said. "This is not a rescue boat. It's a museum."
-- Follow Robbie Levin on Twitter @RobbieLevin.
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