There is no shortage of great museums in Amsterdam, one being bigger and better than the other. There’s the museum of Van Gogh, a house-museum of Rembrandt, there’s Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk, NEMO and Amsterdam Museum, and then there’s Anne Frank’s House.
Who was Anne Frank?
Anne Frank was a young, Jewish teenager locked up with her sister and her parents, and another family in a four-story house, where they occupied the top two floors, during the Second World War. Secretly. With only a handful of people knowing of their ‘Secret Annexe’ – their hiding place.
At the time of the World War 2, all Jewish people were severely persecuted in Europe, brought into man-made concentration camps, and ruthlessly murdered by Nazis, who started the war.
In order to escape this gruesome fate, Anne and her family had to go into hiding. Since they couldn’t travel freely at the time, couldn’t have run away to another country – they chose an old office building where Anne’s father, Otto Frank, used to work.
During those two years of hiding, Anne led a diary where she recorded her innermost thoughts and the daily occurrences that happened in the house, as well as the conversations, the arguments, the fears, feelings and character traits of every inhabitant.
Just ten months before the end of the war, the ‘Secret Annexe’ was discovered by a Nazi and the Dutch Security Police. All its inhabitants were taken to prison and later sent to various concentration camps. Out of eight of them – only one survived. It was Otto Frank.
After the war, Anne’s diary was published in Holland and later in the United States. It quickly gained Worldwide success, getting translated in over 70 languages, becoming a Broadway show, and later the base for numerous films.
Reading Anne’s diary will take you back to your own teenage years; centuries might change, but some things will always remain universal. Her first kiss and infatuation, dreams and aspirations, her strive for change, and even her basic desire to go back to school, to play outside on the streets with her peers, will strike a nerve even in the most battered heart.
One of the things that Anne incessantly dreamed of was to become a successful journalist and later a writer. She did became the latter, but at what price?
Anne’s main allure was in her being so human, so relatable and so real. Though she represents an entire generation of lost souls, one might wonder – what would have happened if she lived? And if all those people that perished with her lived? How many talented writers, painters, musicians, doctors, teachers, architectors, scientists, inventors, pilots, philanthropists, and even friends we lost?
And so Anne’s legacy remains there to teach and remind us the cost of blind hatred and racism. Since underneath it all – we are all human, regardless of the color of our skin, our religion, gender or the country of origin. We have the same blood running in our veins.
Anne Frank’s House
The house where Anne lived with her family for the two years in hiding is now a museum that you can visit in Amsterdam. The original furniture was removed by the Dutch police, right after the family has been captured, and the rooms remain empty as per Otto Frank’s wish. However, the furnished rooms have been recreated in photographs, and can be found in the museum.
The bookcase, that hid the entrance to the ‘Secret Annexe’, Anne’s original diary, notes, poems and photographs, remain on display in the museum as well. In addition, there’s now a small theater where one can view some documentaries about Anne, a cafe and a bookshop.
Where is the house located?
Address: Anne Frank’s original house is located at: 263 Prinsengracht, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Anne Frank’s fond has also purchased the adjacent building and converted it into an additional space for the museum.
What are the visiting hours and how to get there?
Opening hours: the museum is open daily:
- Sunday-Friday from 9am-7pm, and Saturday 9am-9pm (November-March)
- 9am-10pm (April-October).
Important note: You can visit the museum from 9am-3:30pm if you purchase your ticket online only. If you prefer to purchase your ticket at the museum, you can enter it only from 3:30pm until 30 minutes before the closing time.
You can also purchase your ticket online for a time slot after 3:30pm and you will access it quicker, through a priority line.
Please note – if you do purchase your ticket online, you must be there at the time slot for which you bought your ticket. All time slots are for 15 minutes. After you enter the museum, you can spend as much time there as you want.
We strongly recommend to purchase your ticket online, at least 2-3 weeks in advance, since they tend to sell out quickly and the queues at the museum are usually several hours long (and are even longer during the peak-season).
Ticket price: adults 9 Euro.
Official website: http://annefrank.org
Directions: take a tram #13, 14 or 17, or a bus #170, 172 or 174 and exit at the ‘Westermarkt’ stop.
For further reading:
If you haven’t read Anne Frank’s diary yet, you will have a chance to purchase your copy at the museum’s store. In addition to her diary, there are other interesting books about Anne and her family, Anne’s “tales” book (she wrote short fictional tales in addition to her diary), some postcards and posters, stamps, and other memorabilia.
* * *
And finally, after reading Anne’s story – you might have one question in mind:
Who betrayed Anne and her family?
Unfortunately, it still remains unknown.