When we knew for sure that we would be visiting Amsterdam, one of the sites we most anticipated visiting was the "Anne Frank House." Nearly everyone in our immediate family is interested in World War II history, and particularly in those events which took place in the European theater. Consequently, it would be impossible not to be aware of the Nazi campaign to eliminate the Jews of Europe, a plan referred to as "The Final Solution," under the rule of Adolph Hitler. The Anne Frank House is definitely "A Museum with a Story," and visitors learn about the central figure, Anne Frank, a young, Jewish teenager caught up in an unimaginable hell created by the Nazis.
The story of the Frank family, and their struggle was brought to light by the entries in a diary written by Anne Frank. Her writing not only reveals her thoughts, hopes and dreams as a young teenager, but also the horrific reality for Jewish families like hers during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
Of course being Jewish, the Frank family quickly fled Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933 and formed his anti-Jewish government rule. The Franks moved to the Netherlands where Otto Frank established a business, and they lived a normal life until 1940 when the Nazis occupied that country as well. Planning for this possibility, Anne's father prepared a hiding space in a secret annex of the building where he ran his business. On July 6, 1942, the Frank family (parents Otto & Edith, Anne and her sister, Margot) went into hiding in this secret annex. Eventually there were 4 additional people who went into hiding with the Franks; with the help of 4 courageous friends (Miep Gies, et al) who provided for the Franks' and the others needs, these people spent just over 2 years (24 hrs. a day) in hiding before their hiding place was exposed. Subsequently, everyone in hiding was sent to concentration camps where they all succumbed except Otto Frank. Anne's diary was found after their capture, was miraculously published, and eventually her story was made into a film.
This extremely well-conceived museum actually occupies several buildings including the secret annex, which depicts the dimly-lit rooms where everyone was hidden, showcases documents, photos and short videos, and even the bookcase which covered the access to the secret annex. There was quite a bit of climbing involved to see all these spaces but it is very worth the effort. Perhaps the one item everyone most hopes to see is that of Anne's diary itself.
We spent at least an hour or more moving and climbing through the buildings and several floors of the museum after which we spent about a half hour in a very nice cafe on the premises. The bright and airy cafe made me feel like it was such as relief to be there --- I finally realized it was because it was such a contrast to what we just saw -- the Franks' restricted living conditions in the small, confining, dark rooms of the secret hiding annex. Could I have lived that way for 2 years?
There is counter service only in the café which serves specialty coffees, tea, lunches, and a nice range of other drinks and snacks. The museum café is only accessible to visitors admitted to the Anne Frank House.
There is a large bookshop in the museum with a fine selection of items to purchase. Copies of the published book, "The Diary of Anne Frank," is available in approximately 30 languages, in addition to other books detailing the story of the museum itself, postcards, posters, DVDs, souvenir blank diaries, and more. I bought a book for myself as well as for a friend. Service here was as friendly as it was in the cafe.
The Anne Frank House is so popular that to be sure you will be able to visit when you wish, you should purchase tickets online WELL IN ADVANCE which is what I did. Tickets are € 9.00 for adults; 10 - 17 yrs. old - € 4.50; 9 and under are free as are Museumkaart holders.
Please note: From 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, the museum is open only to visitors who have pre-purchased tickets (from the online website) for a particular time slot. You are expected to arrive on-time and will not be admitted prior to your ticketed time slot. Those without pre-purchased tickets can only be admitted after 3:30PM and may have to try purchasing tickets at the door instead of online. Tickets are made available online two months in advance and believe me they go quickly so do not hesitate purchasing!!
From the website: "The Anne Frank House is open every day apart from Yom Kippur. From April to October the museum is open daily from 9 AM to 10 PM, while from November to March it is open daily from 9 AM to 7 PM (9 PM on Saturdays)." No photos are allowed in the museum which is understandable but unfortunate for visitors.
Our next stop was just steps away from the Frank Family's hiding place, the Westerkerk.
Of historical importance, and interest to us, Amsterdam has the Anne Frank Huis museum: http://www.annefrank.org/ The museum is located at Prinsengracht 267.
We pre-booked tickets online for this museum because we were advised by members on this website that the queues were very long. It was good advice. Our booking was for a 9:30am entry on 11 October. We walked from our accommodation to the museum, and saw the queue of people growing well before 8:30am. Because we had a definite and pre-booked entry time, we did not need to line up. We went and had a coffee at a nearby café (a very well located café, which can take advantage of the business of people who are waiting to purchase tickets for the museum) and at 9:30 we entered the museum. We also elected to book an English language overview before entering the museum proper. The speaker was passionate and spoke in an interesting and interested manner.
We recommend the museum, and we recommend pre-booking online to save yourself considerable time.
Anne Frank was a German born Jewish girl, born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany in 1929, a year that the stock market crashed, and the world spun into a Great Depression. Her father Otto had fought for Germany in World War One, along with two of his brothers. Otto and his wife Edith began noticing the rising anti-Semitism in Germany and her father Otto believed it would be necessary to leave Germany. Anne’s parents went to Holland separately in 1933, and young Anne stayed in Germany until February 1934 when she was able to join her parents. Otto chose to migrate to Holland because Holland had remained neutral in World War One and he hoped they may remain neutral again. Sadly, that was not to be. In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded The Netherlands, and The Netherlands capitulated rapidly. Borders were rapidly closing. Visas were hard to come by for Jewish people wishing to leave Europe. Jewish people were receiving orders to report for transportation to “camps”. Under Nazi occupation, human and civil rights of Jewish people and other people that the Nazi regime deemed unsuitable diminished to the point of non-existence. The Frank family eventually went into hiding in a secret annexe in the building on Prinsengracht that Anne’s father had a factory for spices and a gelling agent called pectin which is used in making jam. They were joined by four other Jewish persons. They were reported and discovered and arrested in 1944. Those who helped them were also arrested. Anne and her older sister Margot were sent to Auschwitz and later Bergen Belsen where they both later died of illness, still in their teenage years.
When we visited Auschwitz Birkenau in Poland on 30 October, we saw a suitcase labelled “M. Frank” and it also had “Holland” written on it. I wondered if this bag was the bag of Margot Frank, Anne’s older sister?
Anne’s memory and what happened to her lives on through her diary which was discovered after her arrest by one of the women, an Austrian born woman, who had been helping them. That woman gave the diary to Anne’s father Otto who survived the death camp and returned to Holland hoping to find family members. In 1947 he had the diary published. It has since been translated into 72 languages.
In publishing her diary after learning she had died, her father helped grant that wish to be a writer, posthumously. He also published her diary because it was a contemporaneous record of events through Anne’s eyes. It was her truth, her experience. He did not want to edit it, for those reasons, even though he says he was shocked by some of what he read. Anne did not know when she started it that she would be sent to Auschwitz and die of illness. Like many people, she had dreams and ambitions. Like many or all people persecuted by the Nazi regime, she wanted to survive.
The stairs in the house which lead up to the secret annex hidden behind a book case are very steep. As I climbed the stairs and looked at the space that was the living quarters and hiding space of these eight people, I felt a weight on my heart. It was oppressive and depressing.
An English translation of what Anne wrote in her diary on 11 April 1944 is “One day this terrible war will be over. The time will come when we’ll be people again and not just Jews! We can never just be Dutch, or just English, or whatever, we will always be Jews as well. But then, we’ll want to be.”
She was not yet 15 when she wrote that profound sentence.
In daylight hours the people hiding there were not able to look out the window or flush the toilet or use the taps due to fear of being seen or heard and reported. For two years, they were hid and were hidden, helped by some non-Jewish people who risked their lives to assist, until they were betrayed, reported, arrested and deported.
It is unimaginable to be confined and hidden in such a way for one day, let alone two years. It is unimaginable (and unacceptable) that only because they were Jewish that they were treated in such a way by Nazi occupied Holland.
Being able to witness the places that they hid was a surreal experience. It was moving and very thought provoking.
The Anne Frank House - located at the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk, in Amsterdam, is a museum dedicated to the Jewish girl Anne Frank who hid here with her family and other people from Nazi persecution during the German occupation of the Netherlands. Anne wrote a wartime diary about her life in the refuge; the occupants were later betrayed to the authorities and deported to concentration camps, where all died (except Otto Frank, her father). The diary could be retrieved nonetheless and give an emotional and moving impression about Jewish life during the Nazi terror reign. The museum was reopened in 1999 and is one of the most-visited museums of Amsterdam (an average on > 1Mio. visitors per year).
A small statue of Anne Frank can be found next to the Westerkerk.
There seems to always be a line outside the Anne Frank house. We found out too late that you can pre-purchase your tickets on-line. This allows you to avoid the line - you show up at your designated time and you are allowed entry through a separate door. During the summer the museum is open 9a-9p and if you don't have tickets already, your best bet to avoid standing in line for long is to go first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. We got to the museum at around 8:30a on a Monday and although there was already a line formed, it was only about a 10 minute wait before we were purchasing our tickets and inside. It is a really well done exhibit and quite moving. Take your time to walk through the house and you will still find that it will only take you about an hour. An important, heart-breaking exhibit that may leave you thinking for sometime after you leave.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
— from “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank (1929-1945)
After his release from the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, Otto Frank, Anne’s father was presented with his daughter’s diary. He said it revealed a person he did not know; her thoughts and words were not those of the young girl he had known.
For more than two years Anne Frank and her family and friends, the Van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer, lived in the attic annex of Prinsengracht 263 (see photo #1, a poster for sale in the gift shop, showing a cut-away diagram of the house). Anne’s father, Otto, also conducted his spice business from this building. The doorway to the annex was hidden behind a moveable bookcase, constructed especially for this purpose. The men and women who worked in Otto’s business knew of the hiding place; they supplied the eight people with food and news of the outside world. On 4.August.1944, the hiding place was betrayed. The people in hiding were deported to various concentration camps. Only Otto Frank survived.
Today, the rooms of the Anne Frank House, although vacant, evoke powerful emotions. Quotations from Anne’s diary, historical documents, photo enlargements (see photo #2, Otto Frank after the War in the annex attic), film clips, and original ephemera that belonged to those in hiding and to the those who helped, bring to life the events that took place here. Anne’s original diary and other notebooks can be seen in the museum; copies of the international bestseller, printed in many languages (see photos #3 & #4), are displayed too.
What a surprise to see an Academy Award (see photo #5) at the Anne Frank Museum! It was won by Shelley Winters for her role as Mrs. Petronella van Daan in the 1959 Hollywood interpretation of Anne’s diary. Sixteen years after winning the award, Miss Winters kept her promise to Otto Frank, who would visit the movie set during production, when she donated it to the Anne Frank Museum.
Anne Frankhuis and the museum are open March 15 to September 14: from 09:00 to 21:00 pm (until 22:00 on Saturdays); July and August: from 09:00 to 22:00 pm; and September 15 to March 14: from 09:00 till 19:00. Last admittance is 30 minutes prior to closing.
Sited in a townhouse dating to 1635 the Anne Frank Museum is one of Amsterdam's most visited attractions, a tribute to the diary written by the most widely read author from The Netherlands and a journey into the unspeakable horrors of our past century. The story of her diary is too well known to reiterate but this remarkable and depressing journey through the original site brings new insights and knowledge to the visitor. The long lines to gain entrance are mute tribute to the timelessness of the diary, a United Nation of visitors.
The tour begins with the offices of Otto Frank, a purveyor of spices, with original documents and commentary on the walls. Then, through the narrow steep staircase hidden during the war by a bookcase, to the four rooms occupied by the Frank family, a second family, and a local dentist for over two years. The rooms are largely unfurnished as per the instructions of Anne's father Otto, the only one of the eight inhabitants to survive the war. The stove and the toilet ( not flushed during daylight hours to avoid noise ) may be originals. The visit ends with several rooms with filmed interviews of people who knew Anne Frank and informative printed wall hung material. Some of the interviews are with the workers who continued on Frank's business during the war and secretly provided food and supplies to the hidden Jews ( as well as movie magazines for Anne - on the walls are pictures of movie stars said to have been placed there by Anne herself ). At the very end, a most interesting and worthwhile set of interactive video segments called Free2Choose present modern day dilemmas in which appropriate human rights issues such as free speech, tolerance, and cultural differences diverge - well worth a few minutes, really.
And after what at the least is a two hour visit, the modern airy cafe offers decent pastries, sandwiches, and coffee at surprisingly modest prices for a museum venue.
Previously unknown factoids picked up and remembered
- Anne Frank's Diary, which she titled The Annex, survived only because one of the non-Jewish workers in the spice office found it a few days after the Franks were deported by the Nazis and saved it till after the war.
- Anne Frank was not murdered but like so many concentration camp victims in the later years of the war died of typhus fever.
- Interviews with those who knew Anne Frank describe a smart ( Montessori student ) and somewhat bratty kid, who anticipated that her diary would be published after the war and wrote it with fuiture renown in mind throughout.
- The smiling young girl featured in all the pictures precedes the years of hiding. There are no recorded images dating from after the Franks and their friends went into hiding.
Theres the Ann Frank museum which is very moving indeed.
The van gogh museum (currently located at the hermitage until April 2013) is ok if you're interested in his work.
Take a boat trip on the many canals.
The tulip market isnt anything special, just a place selling lots of tulpis.
The cybermarkt albert, street market isnt anything spectacular either, just a street with crappy old market stools.
Just wonder around and soak up the atmosphere...people watch.....especially in the red light area!
Theres also many sex and hash museums.
Party at night!
Or hash and sex! depends what your into!
The Red light district is a tourist attraction as well of course as providing a service for those in need.
There are over 300 coffee shops in the city. Although this is due to reduce significantly under new laws.
“Sometimes I believe that God wants to try me, both now and later on; I must become good through my own efforts, without examples and without good advice.”
— from “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank (1929-1945)
DOING GOOD Unknown to her, the idealistic Anne did a world of good.
Anne Frankhuis is the second most visited sight in Amsterdam; the Rijksmuseum is the first. There is always a queue to enter the Anne Frank Huis; we waited between 15 and 20 minutes. The self-guided tour through the Secret Annex was a sad journey.
Between Westerkerk and Anne Frankhuis stands a little bronze tribute to Anne Frank (see photo #4). Amsterdam’s city counsel commissioned Dutch sculptor Mari Andriessen to create the city’s tribute to one of its most famous citizens. His work was unveiled in 1977. Westerkerk is mentioned frequently in Anne’s diary. Anne could see the church’s 279-foot tall clock tower from the attic of the Secret Annex; she described the chiming of the clock as a source of comfort.
An aerial view of the house, seen in a poster (see photo #3) for sale in the gift shop, shows its relation to Westerkerk and the surrounding neighborhood.
While planning our trip to Amsterdam, we had decided in advance that this place was a must see. Definetely, it was! If you have ever heard about Anne Frank's story or even better, read about it, you can't miss this place. I got the chills while I walked around the house that hosted this girl and her family along with another family for two years during the war. Every detail, every corner, every door, stairway, make you feel the chills of the war. The museum is the actual house that was used as hiding place for the Frank's family. There is a lot of history there, so it is worth it to go there.
Avoid having to queue in the morning and afternoon and try to be there at night before closing. We passed by and watched all the tourist making and ending line to enter. The place is small, so if you go with when it is packed, it turns uncomfortable and not convenient since you barely can see anything among the crowd. We got there around 7 pm and there was not queue (in April). When we entered we had enough place and calmness to see everything with no rush or many people.
The museum is open from 9am - 9pm and the last admission is 90 minutes prior to closing. So enjoy Amsterdam and stop by this place in the evening.
A visit to the house of Anne Frank is a definite must do when visiting Amsterdam. I have an interest in all things WWII and so visiting here was really thought provoking.
On my last visit in February 2012, I went mid morning, when the queues weren’t so long. However, don’t be put off visiting, if you see along queue, because it is well worth the wait.
The house is very interesting museum about a very dark time in Amsterdam’s history. It is hard to imagine a family living in the rooms they had, with the constant threat of being given away and sent to concentration camps. Unfortunately this did eventually happen and only Anne’s father Otto survived the war. There is a poignant photo of him standing in the loft room after the war. It seems that his thoughts are far away, maybe thinking of the family that he once had ... heartbreaking.
On a more light-hearted note, the cafe is excellent and the bookshop fully stocked with Anne’s diary in many languages. I bought an English edition, and although you may be able to get it cheaper on Amazon etc I was happy to support the museum.
The book is a must read for young and old.
"In 1947, two years after her death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Otto Frank published "The Diary of Anne Frank". The book was compiled from a collection of notebooks kept by his daughter between 1942 and 1944 whilst the Franks, Jewish refugees from Frankfurt, and another family hid in a closed-off annexe inside this house.
In 1957 the house was donated to the Anne Frank Foundation who have restored it to give some idea of the conditions in which the refugees existed. The front of the house, where Otto Frank ran his business, now contains exhibition space whilst the inner part (which was reached via a revolving bookcase) has been left as it was; empty of furniture, which was confiscated by the Nazis. Anne's original notebooks are on permanent display, along with films showing how the rooms looked during the war and documents recording the history of National Socialism and anti-Semitism."
I enjoyed seeing the house and I felt sick to my stomach walking inside and thinking of the day when she and her family were taken away. The only one that survived the war was her father, Otto. It was sad to see and learn more about their family history and their last days in the house.
I bought a copy of her diary and a book about her 7 months of life.
We found the Anne Frank house to be quite a moving experience if you know the story of this poor girl and her family. The place does have a rather somber atmosphere as one should probably expect considring the subject matter, so perhaps more people should consider this when bringing children here if they can't keep them under control.
The entrance isn't included in the "I amsterdam" card and so it was one of only two entrance fees we had to pay during our visit to the city but it is something you must see if visiting Amsterdam.
We had been tipped off that we needed to go either very early to be there ready for opening at 9am or late after 7pm (it's open until 9pm) to avoid long queues. We went early and got in fairly quick but the place then started to fill up quickly and as it is, by it's very nature, a small space it soon got quite crowded in parts. The queue when we came out at about 10.30 was shocking! Down the road, round the corner, down that road and round the next corner!