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Page last updated at 07:02 GMT, Sunday, 29 April 2007 08:02 UK

Dutchman's Noah's Ark opens doors

The ark at Schagen
The ark is nearly three storeys high

A half-sized replica of the biblical Noah's Ark has been built by a Dutch man, complete with model animals.

Dutch creationist Johan Huibers built the ark as testament to his literal belief in the Bible.

The ark, in the town of Schagen, is 150 cubits long - half the length of Noah's - and three storeys high. A cubit was about 45cm (18in) long.

The ark opened its doors on Saturday, after almost two years' construction, most of it by Mr Huiber himself.

'Past comprehension'

"The design is by my wife, Bianca," Mr Huibers said. "She didn't really want me to do this at all, but she said if you're going to anyway, it should look like this."

Life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras and bison are included in the ark's interior.

The Bible's Book of Genesis says Noah kept seven pairs of most tamed animals and one breeding pair of all other creatures in the boat, which survived a catastrophic flood sent down by God to punish man.

John Huibers in the ark
Mr Huibers spent nearly two years building the ark

Mr Huibers, a contractor, built the ark out of cedar and pine - because Biblical scholars are still not sure as to which type of wood was used in the ark's construction.

He began building in May 2005, after he dreamed of the Netherlands being flooded.

"In February 1992, I had a dream that Holland will become flooded. The next day, I found a book about Noah's Ark in the local bookshop, and since then, my dream has been to build the ark," he said.

Visitors were stunned. "It's past comprehension," Mary Louise Starosciak told the Associated Press.

"I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big."

The ark includes a 50-seat theatre showing a segment of the Disney film Fantasia retelling the story of Noah's Ark.

US visitor Lois Poppema told AP she thought the Netherlands was the right place for an ark to be built: "Just a few weeks ago we saw Al Gore on television .. saying that all Holland will be flooded.

"I don't think the man who made this ever expected that global warming will become [such an important] issue - and suddenly having the ark would be meaningful in the middle of Holland."



SEE ALSO
Noah's Ark plan from top Moon man
08 Sep 04 |  Science/Nature
Digital Noah's Ark launched
20 May 03 |  Bristol/Somerset

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