Has a dream ever given you a crazy idea? Maybe, drawing on something locked away in your subconscious, a dream inspired you to write a song or mend a long-dead relationship. Most of us who have these midnight moments of inspiration never act on them — but Johan Huibers did.

Thanks to a dream, the Dutch man went to his local harbor and started a project that nobody else dared to attempt in modern times. However, Johan wasn’t content showing off his new creation to just his family and neighbors. He wanted to show it to the world…

There are plenty of folks who are handy around the house, and then there’s Johan Huibers. When he gazes up at his life’s work, a wave of pride rushes over him. After all, he’s done what no other man has accomplished — at least, not for a few thousand years.

Back in the early 1990s, Johan had a terrible dream. The young businessman saw visions of a great flood ravaging his home province of Noord-Holland in the Netherlands. He snapped awake the next morning with an idea he just couldn’t shake.

Hollandse Hoogte / Bert Verhoeff

Though Johan didn’t have a chance to act on his peculiar idea for years, it never left his mind. Then, in 2008, people noticed some construction happening in the bay of Dordrecht. Across a foundation of 21 barges, a crew was assembling a great wooden hull.

Flickr / Ark van Noach

Four whole years later, Johan felt ready to finally unveil his dream-inspired masterpiece. A large crowd gathered around the wooden vessel as Johan’s crew lowered the gangplank. At long last, he brought everyone in on his secret.

Buzznick

Johan built a full replica of Noah’s Ark! Inspired by his devout faith and an apocalyptic dream, Johan envisioned this ship as a way to educate and bring people together. He knew that only the most impressive recreation could accomplish this feat.

Ark of Noah

In the book of Genesis, God tells Noah of a mighty flood coming to cleanse the Earth. In order to save all good creation, God instructs him to build an Ark that can safely carry a host of creatures through the storm.

Paramount Pictures

And Johan’s Ark can hold just as many passengers as Noah’s. He designed it according to the same dimensions described in the Bible. All in all, the ship is 410 feet long, 95 feet wide, and 75 feet tall.

Ark of Noah

Plans for the Ark came with a hefty price tag of $1.6 million, but Johan insisted it was worth it. He didn’t skimp on any details either. As stunning as the Ark looks from the outside, the coolest features are deep within the ship’s decks.

Ark of Noah

Just as Noah brought two of each animal aboard, Johan’s Ark has tons of incredibly lifelike sculptures. These statues give visitors a sense of just how many species of animals there are across the world. It’s almost like an actual zoo!

Johan also included lifelike habitats to go along with his animals to provide a sense of realism. After all, he says he believes every word of the Bible. That means Noah’s Ark must have provided aquatic animals with plenty of water.

Ark of Noah

With incoming funds from visitors’ entry fees, Johan hopes to upgrade his exhibit to feature holographic animals. That would certainly make his Ark come to life — without any of the costs and labor to take care of an actual gorilla. At the same time, the Ark isn’t totally lifeless.

Ark of Noah

On the top deck, an aviary houses birds of all shapes and sizes. It’s right next to a private apartment for Johan and his wife. When they stay overnight at the Ark, they wake up each morning to the beautiful sound of birds singing!

So far, only visitors in Northern Europe have been able to enjoy Johan’s biblical tribute, but that’s not due to any lack of ambition. In fact, people all over the world would have already toured the Ark by now if it weren’t for the mishaps getting in Johan’s way…

Ark of Noah

Shortly after opening the Ark to the public, Johan planned to sail it to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. While the voyage from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom is fairly short, it proved too costly. 

the technical department

After all, Johan needed to hire tugboats to pull the Ark, which has no motor or sail of its own. In 2016, he again intended to go to the Olympics, this time in Brazil. But a disaster in his own backyard derailed the trip. It also threatened to destroy his life’s work.

Ark of Noah

After making it to Oslo, Norway, Johan docked the vessel overnight. A nearby vessel then broke free of its moorings and crashed into the side of the Ark. It began to lift to one side, and water poured in through the opening.

The New York Times

Thanks to the quick work of his crew, Johan patched up his Ark and stopped it from sinking into Oslo’s harbor. Less courageous individuals would have taken fewer risks after such a catastrophe, but Johan’s misfortune only made him bolder.

Ark of Noah

In 2018, he announced he would sail the Ark all the way to Israel! “This is a copy of God’s ship,” Johan explained. “It only makes sense to take it to God’s land.” Estimating the trip would cost an additional $1.3 million, he started raising money.

Johan failed to hit his fundraising mark in 2018, but that turned out to be a blessing. Severe wildfires in Israel would have posed too great a danger to the Ark at that point in time. Nevertheless, as of December 2018, Johan was sticking to his grand vision.

CNN

He insisted that his Ark would soon reach the Holy Land — and that will certainly be a special day. Just imagine worshipping in the Ark’s church just a short distance away from where Noah’s Ark landed after the flood!

Ark of Noah

But Johan’s Ark still waited in Dordrecht’s harbor, entertaining guests from everywhere. That’s a true achievement. In a world filled with cynicism and doubt, Johan remained unafraid to pursue his own miracle.