“ Prinsengracht 263 / Tel: 626 45 33 / Mo / Sa 9 / 17:00 / Su 10 / 17:00 (July / August from 19:00 open) „
Anne Frank's House
As part of a recent holiday, I went to Amsterdam. At the top of my list whilst there was visiting Anne Frank's house. I loved Anne Frank's diary when I was at school. I read it in year 8 after being encouraged by my older sister. To this day, I consider it to have been the first 'moving' novel I read and for this reason, it has a very special place in my book collection.
For those who are unaware, Anne Frank is the author of her own diary. She was born in Frankfurt in Germany in 1929. She and her family and friends were some of the millions of Jewish people who were persecuted during the Second World War. In 1933, Hitler took power and implemented a range of anti-Jewish measures. At this point, Anne Frank and her family moved to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. However, in May of 1940, the German army occupied the Netherlands and anti-Jewish measures were not far behind. On 6th July 1942, Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in Amsterdam, in an attempt to survive the war. Anne was brought a diary for her thirteenth birthday, by her parents. Her diary goes with her and becomes a record for life in hiding.
The museum is located on Prisengracht canal in Amsterdam, at numbers 263-267. I found it to be well signed in the immediate area and once I saw the first sign for it, I had no need to continue using my map! Being such an immense tourist attraction, it's definitely well signed and is easy to reach by public transport or on foot. From the outside, it looks like a large glass fronted building, you can't possibly miss it! Mostly due to the size of the queue outside...
You enter the museum via the main entrance and pay your entrance fee which is currently 9 Euros for an adult, or 4 Euros 50 for a child aged between 10 and 17. If your child is 9 years or under, they're admitted for free! The foyer of the museum has ample space for storage of pushchairs etc, which is good as it is physically impossible to get such items around the museum and annex. You will follow a pre-set path through the warehouses which formed part of the factory where Otto Frank had his businesses located. Mr Frank ran Opekta and Pectacon from these warehouses, where a jelling agent for jam was made and also spice mixes for meat. The workers of the museum had no idea that the families were hiding in an annex of the building. On this walk, you will find out all about the German occupation of the Netherlands and the treatment received by Jewish inhabitants of the cities which became under Nazi control. I was vaguely aware of the treatment received by Jewish people, however the sheer amount of cruelty displayed was really hammered home during this exhibition. You will also find out a bit about the businesses that Mr Frank ran and life in the Netherlands. You will follow the trail through the offices of the people who worked for Mr Frank and who risked their own lives and their families lives by assisting Mr Frank, his family and the Van Pels' family during their time in hiding. These brave people were Victor Kugler, Miep Gies-Santrouschitz, Johannes Kleiman and Bep Voskuijl. There are interviews recorded many, many years later with the surviving people which play on a loop as you walk through the offices. The memories of the Frank family clearly still burned very vividly for Miep Gies-Santrouschitz and Bep Voskuijl who helped to hide the families and to provide them with food supplies throughout their time in hiding. You then pass through the storeroom where the products were stored whilst the factory was operational. All through the trail, you are moving towards the back of the house where the secret annex was located.
The door to the annex was hidden from view by a movable bookcase. The bookcase is still there in the museum today and just looking at it is very eerie. When you walk past the bookcase and step through the door to the annex, you honestly feel like you've gone back in time. In the annex, it is immediately very narrow feeling and you instantly get an indication of what the inhabitants of the annex actually had to put up with for such a long time. The rooms of the annex are empty of furniture. After the families were betrayed, the annex was emptied of furniture by the Nazi regime. When it became a museum in 1960, Mr Frank insisted that the rooms remained empty in order to symbolise the void left behind by the millions of people who were deported and never returned. The annex consists of a room used by Otto, Edith and Margot Frank as a bedroom and doubled as the sitting room, Anne and Fritz Pfeffer's room, a bathroom, Hermann and Auguste van Pels' room which doubled as a communal living room and finally, Peter van Pels' room. You will be able to see on the wall, a map which is still attached. During their time in hiding, Mr Frank used the map to mark the progress of the advancing allied forces. Also, a growth chart, showing Anne and Margot's growth over their time in hiding is still present on the wall today. Also still present on the walls are the pictures of film stars which were collected by Anne and glued to the walls. Although there is no furniture, you will be able to see a model created to be a replica of the inside of the annex whilst it was furnished. Looking at the amount of people/beds that were crammed into the annex, it really gives you an idea of how cramped it would have been. Just before you leave the annex, the display explains how they were betrayed and how it's still unknown who did it. I already knew that they had been betrayed, and yet after the exhibition, I honestly felt like I'd been told for the first time! The annex moved me that much! Leaving the annex, you will progress to the front of the house, via an exhibition about Auschwitz which will most definitely move you if the rest of the exhibition didn't! Anne's original diary makes up part of this exhibition, along with various short stories she had written during her time in hiding.
After leaving this part of the exhibition, you go back downstairs where there is a further exhibition. There are pictures of Anne throughout her childhood, with her sister and with her friends. Something that moved me rather a lot is the picture of her classmates at the age of 5. The sheer amount of them who were affected by the Nazi regime was shocking. Also, there is another exhibition space which is not specifically about Anne Frank and her family, but illustrates the lessons which should be learned from the past. It shows how human rights are still being violated and that this has a knock on effect even in society today, right across the world. It hopefully hammers home to the population that all humans have a right to fundamental freedoms and not to be persecuted. You are able to express your own opinion, as there is a large screen which gives examples of various rights being violated, some examples include the right to wear religious symbols on your person, or the debate about freedom of speech versus the right not to be offended. You are able to vote on these topics via the buttons on the benches and it automatically calculates the opinion of the room and expresses it as a pie chart.
One thing I would say about this museum is that although there are large, open and accessible exhibition spaces in the museum; the annex itself is not accessible to those who have mobility problems. The stairs within the annex are typical of the Netherlands staircases and are steep!
Also, I was advised to get there early as there are large queues. The house is open from 9am until 7pm in the week, 9-5 on a Saturday and 10-5 on a Sunday. We got there at 9.30 and we queued until 11 to get in! I had thought that 9.30 would be a reasonable time to get there, but no! If you have a jam packed schedule, I would get there before it opens as you will have to queue for tickets. The queue literally snakes round the block to get in! Whilst you are waiting, the staff at the museum work their way along the line and give out a small leaflet which briefly explains the layout of the house and outlines what actually happened for those who are unfamiliar with the diary.
My friend and I easily spent a few hours here. The experience was amazing. Firstly, it was devastating as you see the wide reaching effects of the Nazi regime. It was moving (I cried. I also wasn't the only one) and thought provoking. I was previously anti-discrimination; however, this museum reinforced by beliefs and still made me angry that anyone whatsoever could think that their fellow humans are any less worthy for any reason, whether race, religious beliefs, sexuality, age etc!
A trip to Amsterdam would not be complete without a trip to the Anne Frank House.
Anne Frank's House, Amsterdam
At the end of March 2012 during a trip to Amsterdam we decided to take a trip to the former house of Anne Frank which has now been turned into a museum.
A Little Bit of History
When I was at school I have a vague memory of briefly learning about Anne Frank. So vague is this memory that I have to admit I hardly knew a thing about her, other than she was Jewish and was in hiding during the war. Shameful as it sounds I didn't even know the location of her hiding place! No comment on the standard of our history lessons! Regardless of my lack of education regarding Anne Frank I was still interested in learning more about her and therefore when this trip was being planned I insisted that we visit the museum.
For those of you who, don't know the story of Anne Frank I will try to give you a brief history...
Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl born in Germany in 1929. In 1933 the Frank family emigrated to the Netherlands after becoming worried about the situation in their homeland when Hitler took over Government. Life was great for the Frank family until the second world war in 1940 and the German invasion of the Netherlands. It was at this time that Otto Frank, Anne's father constructs a Secret Annex hiding place behind the family business and takes his family, along with 4 other Jews' into hiding to evade capture. The family live here for a number of years, before eventually being discovered and taken away to concentration camps after somebody, the identity of whom is still unknown, betrayed the Franks and revealed their hiding place.
During the time spent in hiding Anne kept a diary detailing their secret life, how they must be silent so they are not discovered, the pressures of so many people living in such a small area and of course the feelings of Anne and how she deals with their living situation. This diary was returned by a family friend to the sole survivor of the concentration camps, Otto Frank, on his return to Amsterdam after the war. It had been his daughter's dream that one day she would have her writings published and so he decided to fulfil her dream and in 1947 'The Diary of Anne Frank' was published.
Anne Frank's House - The Museum
When we arrived at Anne Frank's House we saw the queue was so long that it stretched outside the building and around the corner! We had a little grumble but decided to wait anyway as this was something we all wanted to do. We queued for around 15 minutes before paying our admission and being free to enter the house. I don't like calling it a museum as it feels slightly inappropriate and it doesn't really feel like a museum, but rather more of a family home, which of course at the end of the day it is.
We entered into a room which was mainly white and contained a few photographs of Anne as well as a couple of extracts from her diary written on the wall, from here we moved into the yard or garage area of where the Frank's family business would have operated from. All around us we could see photos and memorabilia from the time and extracts from Anne's diary have been painted onto the wall. From here we moved around the house and through the offices of the family business before making our way upstairs to the living quarters. I found it both interesting and moving that all of the original decor of the house was present with regards to the wall coverings and various fixtures on the wall, however the contents of the house, such as furniture have been removed as this was Otto Franks' wish if the house was to be turned into a museum and open to the public. For me, this created a strange feeling in the house but at the same time I think I managed to capture the reason as to why Otto had wanted this.
In one of the rooms there were two glass display cabinets showing how the furniture was arranged prior to it being removed and there were various photos shown of reconstructed scenes made especially for the museum. These photos were often accompanied with a written description of what we can see in the photo and there are a lot of pieces of writing for you to read as you make your way around the house. The rooms also had large TV's showing interviews with surviving friends of the Frank family telling their memories from the time and their feelings. I enjoyed listening to these interviews as I found them really interesting, I also found them quite emotional and moving too.
From the living quarters we then moved to the Secret Annex. Entering behind the infamous bookcase we had to climb a very steep set of stairs at the top of which we found ourselves in a much smaller space than downstairs and trying to take in the reality of how 8 people would have lived together in such a small space. As with downstairs the Secret Annex contained no furniture, only the fixtures and fittings along with a small kitchen sink and the old pipe works. On the walls of the Annex we could see pictures, magazine clippings and photographs which Anne has used to 'brighten the place up'. These items are the originals and are still in their original positions on the wall although they are now protected by large perspex cases.
From the Annex we move back down some more very steep stairs and find ourselves in a large open area with various displays of paperwork and memorabilia including original and substitute immigration forms for the Frank family. We can also see the paperwork from when the Franks' were taken to the concentration camps which are displayed alongside photographs of each family member.
Our visit to Anne Frank's house ends in the gift shop where as you can find copies of Anne Frank's Diary published in many languages if you wish to purchase it. I personally came away from the house with the urge to read the diary, but, I was not willing to pay the prices they were charging in the gift shop and have subsequently ordered a copy online!
Due to the steep stairs located around the house this museum is unfortunately completely unsuitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs.
The Anne Frank House has toilet facilities located on the entrance level, at the time of our visit they were nice and clean and well looked after.
Location, Opening Hours & Entrance
Anne Frank's house is located in Amsterdam on Prinsengracht 263-267. It is open 7 days a week from 9am until 9pm or 7pm from September to March. The entrance fee is 9 euros for an adult, 4.50 Euro for under 17's and under 9's go free!
Overall I really enjoyed our visit to Anne Frank's House. As I mentioned at the start of the review I knew very little about her and how she and her family lived, by the time I had been around the house I came out with more knowledge that I could actually absorb. I felt like I had learnt a lot from this visit and like I wanted to read the Diary to not only learn more but also remind myself of the many details I was bound to forget.
I like the way the house is displayed to the public although I can appreciate that some may not like that the rooms are now bare, while I personally like this I also felt as if the empty rooms made the space feel slightly bigger as you couldn't see exactly how cramped this already small area would have been. We managed to spend around 2 and a half, possibly even 3 hours here and I can honestly say the time flew by!
Final Note: Photographs are prohibited completely within the house, even without a flash on your camera. There are many signs warning you of this placed around the house.
Recommended by me :)
Thanks for reading :)
One of the most popular tourist spots in Amsterdam is Anne Frank Huis - the home of both the Frank and Van Pels families. This is an emotional place to visit with a tragic story to tell and unlike any other "attraction" in the city.
During the Second World War in 1942 the German invaders were actively seeking Jews in Amsterdam, leading to the two families hiding in a secret annexe on Otto Frank's businees premises where he made pectin. The annexe was directly above the warehouse section of the premises and the families had to keep quiet for fear of the workers discovering them. The warehouse section of the museum is on the ground floor and is one of the first things visitors get to experience.
On the next floor is the office section where Frank's trusted staff assisted in hiding the two families. It was one of the staff that made the famous "moveable bookcase" that hid the annexe on the second floor. The tiny rooms behind the bookcase remain unfurnished marking the fact that the Germans cleared out all of the families possessions after their capture. It is here that pencil marks on the wall can still be seen where Anne and her sister Margot's growth were recorded. On the same level is Anne's room with posters and other belongings still in place.
The Third Floor is home to the Front Attic and displays an exhibit explaining how Anne and her sister Margot died just before the Berhen-Belsen concentration camp that they were taken to was liberated.
A separate bulidng is home to a multimedia and exhibition room and Anne's favourite Chestnut Tree has also been preserved at great expense.
I found my visit to the Anne Frank House was a unique experience and reminded me of the mixed emotions I had when I visited the A bomb site in Hiroshima. It is home to a truly tragic story of two families losing their lives and only Otto Frank survived. The fact that he managed to get Anne's diary published served as a timely reminder of the tragedies of the war and the fact that innocent young lives were needlessly lost.
A visit to the house needs to be planned in advance as it gets very busy and queues around the block are common. I seem to recall we paid 15 euros for two adults admission and the house is open from 9am-9pm daily in the summer months.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, which is a subject that has fascinated me for a long time. I was certainly not disappointed with the experience, but generally speaking I'm not sure how interesting the outing would be for the average tourist.
Getting to the Anne Frank Museum was a bit different for me, as I had decided to rent a little canal pedal bike with a friend, and the stop was directly outside of the attraction. There was however some parking not too far away, perhaps 300 metres, so it would be possible to park. There are otherwise good transport links.
Despite going at a very busy time of time, even though it was a weekday, there was not too much of a queue and we were only in line for maybe 15 minutes. There were plenty of guides available in different languages and the cost of entry was 7 euros each, which is quite reasonable, even taking into consideration the current exchange rate!
The bulk of the museum involves quotes from the diary of Anne Frank being stuck onto the walls in both Dutch and English. There are also television screens around the building, which include interviews with poignant people in the whole experience and are in a variety of languages. There were also a few documents that had been saved, such as magazines belonging to Anne Frank, or board games. These were quirky items which helped to lift the sombre mood of the visit.
While it was fascinating to be in building and to actually be in exactly the same space that was occupied by the Frank family, it was extremely upsetting for me and very moving. It is certainly the best way to understand what went on during that time and really helps to envisage the enormity of the task of hiding two families. The untouched decor and small touches, such as a height chart marked on the wall in pencil, or small pictures put onto the wall by Anne herself, just make the experience very real and unlike a museum.
After the main house, there is a smaller area with more multimedia and modern technology which further enhance the visit. While these are interesting, they were worlds away from the main house and I didn't find them to be that exciting. They mainly focussed on life after Anne Frank's death.
On the whole this is a must for anybody interested in the subject. It would be interesting for the average person, but can be quickly visited. I would say that for children this is not really a suitable attraction and it is a little bit of a tight squeeze, especially during busier periods. It's good value for money and offers a unique insight into crucial history.
The Anne Frank House is a must-visit museum for tourists in Amsterdam.
It's about a 15 minute walk fromAmsterdam Centraal station, and although it's vaguely signposted you really need a map. You can also take tram 13 or 17 or bus 170, 171 or 172 from the station, getting off at 'Westermarkt', and then going right onto Prinsengracht.
The house is open daily from 9.00 a.m, and doesn't close on Mondays like most Dutch museums. They only close on Yom Kippur. In the summer the house stays open until 10.00 p.m although out of season it closes at 5.00p.m. There are some exceptions, which you can find on their website, www.annefrank.org.
Admission for 2009 is as follows:
Adults: euro 8,50
Age 10-17: euro 4,-
Age 0-9: free
Euro <26-Card: euro 4,-
On arrival, you're most likely to be greeted by long queues, although you can dodge them to some extent by arriving very early in the morning or booking online. Large bags are not permitted inside, and small bags need to be kept on your person at all times, as leaving them on the floor could cause someone else to fall on them - the space inside is extremely cramped.
The atmosphere inside is astonishing - the cramped and stuffy conditions are uncomfortable for a visitor, and the mind turns inevitably to the people who had to live there, in silence, for months and years in constant fear of being caught or betrayed. Most poignant are the pictures of contemporary famous people pasted to Anne's bedroom wall, an attempt at some degree of normality in a terrifying situation. Once you're through the Franks' rooms, a comprehensive exhibition explains the situation that led up to their having to go into hiding and what happened next both to them, the family with them in hiding and in general.
The whole exhibition is incredibly moving, but there are two main flaws, both related to each other. There are far too many people in the museum at any one time, making it hard to concentrate on what should be a deeply moving experience, and far too many of these people are undersupervised Dutch schoolchildren who find it appropriate to run through and shout to each other. A visit very early in the morning can go some way to counteracting both these problems.
This is a must-visit for those going to Amsterdam.
It will take you about 15-20 minutes to walk there from the central railway station (Amsterdam Centraal), and although there are one or two signposts you really need a tourist map to find it as it is fairly well hidden! If you prefer not to walk, you can take tram 13 or 17 or bus 170, 171 or 172 from the station, getting off at the bus stop/tram stop called 'Westermarkt', and then turning to your right onto the Prinsengracht street.
The house is open year round every day from 9.00 a.m, which unusually for The Netherlands includes Mondays, a popular day for museums to be closed, but not in this case. In the summer the house stays open until 10.00 p.m, giving you some idea of just how popular it is as an attraction.
You will need to try and get there as soon after it opens as possible, as very long queues develop quickly, because of a strict limit on how many people are allowed into the house at any time. However you can book and buy tickets online at www.annefrank.org, which will save you the queueing hassle.
The price to enter is fairly average for tourist attractions and museums in The Netherlands, set at 8.50 Euro for adults, 4 Euro for 10-17 ages, and free for 9s and under in 2009, and you do get your money's worth here. If you wish to avoid
You are not allowed to take large bags around with you, and all smaller bags have to be carried (i.e not placed on the floor) at all times. They were very strict about this when I was there. Also you can't take any photographs, not that you would really need or want to, as postcards and books are available from the shop after the tour ends.
The whole experience is very moving, even for those like myself who were born long after the Second World War. The way the tour is presented, you get to know and identify with Anne Frank through short video clips and quotes on the walls, and you get a real feel for how awful it must have been for a young, active girl to have been shut up inside such a small room. Although I use the word 'tour', in actual fact there isn't such a thing as an official tour - what happens is that you are led around by timed video clips playing, when it ends everyone moves on to the next room. This does mean that if you want to see any of the video clips again you can certainly do so, moving around at your own pace.
Towards the end of your walk around the house, when the truth gradually emerges about how her family and her were treated after capture, it is impossible not to feel some sadness about how such awful discrimination and 'ethnic cleansing' can happen. The tour lasts around 30-45 minutes, but you can do interactive computer exercises at the end, and browse the shop, to extend your visit.
For me, I found visiting this place made my trip to Amsterdam worthwhile.
TIPS: The Netherlands national discount 'museumkaart' is not valid here, and they do not give discounts to groups or students. You can pay with cash or with Visa or Mastercard at the entrance kiosk.
The Anne Frank House, on the Prinsengracht, was the foremost in my mind, when I visited Amsterdam. The place I had wanted to visit for over thirty years. Ever since I had first read "The Diary of Anne Frank". It is hard to imagine this quiet canalside street, echoing with the clatter of jackboots on the cobblestones, and the harsh, guttural commands as Dutch Jews were herded from their homes and onto trucks bound for who knew where? The tree-lined street looks to have changed little in the fifty years since. Other than the constant lines of people waiting to pay homage to a young girl whose life was cut tragically short by one of the greatest crimes against humanity.
It was Otto Frank's wish that the house remain as it was after the Germans looted it, so the living quarters are empty save for a model on each floor which shows how it was furnished, and the pictures on what was Anne's bedroom wall. Despite waiting about 30 minutes in line, and the line of people being ever-constant, there was a silence as we all trudged through. Some quiet sobs. A respectful awe. At first, it seems quite spacious and then you begin to realise the number of people sharing this space, and you begin to see how cramped it actually was. And you ebgin to think of the way they had to live. not to be able to flush the toilet. Not to be able to open the windows for air in the Summer, or light a fire for warmth in the Winter. To be afraid to sneeze or cough. It is hard to imagine the fear that made people capable of living under those conditions.
And then to remember that Anne was one person of millions. Not just Jews, but Romany gypsies, the mentally ill, and any other deemed undesirable in that awful time. Had she lived, how great might her talent have become? And, taking hers as the story of just one, how can we ever begin to imagine the immense talents in all walks of life, that were lost forever during this period?
The Anne Frank House now owns the building next door, which was being transformed into a museum when we were visiting. I believe this has to be a must-visit for anyone visiting Amsterdam. If nothing else, it truly makes you appreciate all that you have.
Having a strong interest in history, one of the first places I wanted to visit in my weekend trip to Amsterdam was Anne Frank's house.
Anne Frank's diaries are famous the world over, telling her story of when she, her family and another family, stayed in hiding in an attic in a house in Amsterdam. She wrote the diaries to occupy herself during her long days in the house and she recorded her inner-most thoughts about her life and that of the others in hiding.
The building is situated on the Prinsengracht, next to one of the canals in central Amsterdam. Signing for locations in Amsterdam I found to be generally quite poor, but the signing for the Anne Frank House was much better and it was easy to find.
The opening hours are the longest of any museum I can think of, open 365 days this leap year (even open on Christmas Day, shutting only for Yom Kippur). In the summer the museum stays open until 10pm on some nights, making it accessible to anyone whenever they go to Amsterdam.
The entry fee is 7.50 Euros at time of writing (roughly about five pounds) and there is a small free guide book given to you when you enter, available in many different languages. Like when anyone visits a concentration camp, a war site or similar venues, the visit is very personal, and for me, the memory of my visit remains very fresh and I think about it often.
I went to the museum at opening at 9am on a cold Friday morning in February. I did so to try and catch the house as quiet as possible, and although there was a queue waiting to get in, overall I found the experience to be a solitary one as the museum was relatively quiet.
You walk round on your own without a guide so you can go at your own pace, walking through the rooms of what were the offices in the building, and then suddenly in front of you is the bookcase which hid the stairs up to the secret annexe. I found it a great surprise to see it in "real life" and climbed the staircase into the rooms.
The first room is that of Anne Frank's parents, Otto and Edith, which they shared with Anne's elder sister, Margot. The rooms are not furnished, this was a decision made by Otto Frank after the war. The rooms were though furnished during a television show made in the house, and there are some pictures around the museum of what the rooms looked like furnished.
Walking round that first room, without furniture, but with the marks on the wall of where Otto recorded the height of his two growing girls, was sobering and fascinating. Next door was Anne Frank's own room, which she shared with Fritz Pfeffer. The original wallpaper, stained and worn was still on the wall, covered over by protective glass.
There then followed the bathroom, which is quite large, still with the original toilet and sink that the families in hiding used. To avoid being heard by the workers downstairs, who didn't know that the families were in hiding in the upper part of the house, they couldn't use these facilities in the day.
There are then stairs to go up to the next floor. As with a lot of Amsterdam buildings, the stairs are very steep. This is because many years ago the buildings in the city were taxed on their width, so the Dutch builders built many storeys high and many staircases are steep because of that lack of space. Unfortunately if you are disabled, you wouldn't be able to access this part of the building, and indeed, the museum is probably much less relevant without being able to visit the actual rooms.
Once on the next floor, there is the room of the van Pels family, Hermann and Auguste. This room was also used as the lounge for everyone in hiding. Next door in what was a corridor to the attic is their son's room, Peter van Pels.
Peter's room for me was the most touching. There was no-one else on the floor when I was in this room, and seeing the steps up to the attic, the space where his bed was and the original board game he was given as a present for his birthday on the wall (again behind glass to protect it) was really thought provoking. Peter was just 16, and to imagine what he had to go through was just unbelievably sobering.
The museum then goes through to a neighbouring building, where there are some displays of original items left in the house, including Anne Frank's original diary, details of what happened to those in hiding after they had been caught, and numerous televisions showing films and documentaries.
After visiting these rooms you go back through to a room with many computers which have inter-active displays. These have a wealth of information about the house, in many languages, and I spent some time reading all that was available on these computers. One computer wasn't working, but was soon fixed by one of the staff who was very aware of making sure everything was kept spotless and organised.
Also in this room there are some computers where you can "leave a leaf" to mark your visit to the house, and this also sends an e-mail to you if you want. You can also send a free video message which is recorded by a small webcam type camera above the computer, and send this to a friend by e-mail.
After this there is a well-stocked shop where you can buy the book in many languages, including an exclusive version only available in the shop. The items in the shop are reasonably priced and there is lots of choice.
Leaving the museum is easy, but forgetting the visit is hard. The members of the house were arrested by German police on August 4th 1944 after someone tipped them off that they were in hiding, that person has never been idenitifed.
Hermann van Pels was gassed in October 1944, Edith Frank died in Auschwitz in January 1945, Margot Frank died in Bergen Belsen in March 1945, Anne Frank died just days after Margot in the same concentration camp, Auguste van Pels died in May 1945 and Otto Frank survived the war. After the war he went back to the house and was given the diaries of Anne which had been left by the Germans on the floor.
For me the tragedy which struck me the most was the death of Peter van Pels on May 5th 1945, who died in Mauthausen concentration camp, the day after it was liberated by the allied forces. It brought home to me the desperate waste of life and the tragedy of what he had been through.
And that is why I rate this museum highly. The money you pay goes towards the Anne Frank charity which promotes peace, understanding and education. As I walked out of the museum I felt a sense of being over-whelmed by what happened in that house. I know that there were many such instances, but a visit to the museum was almost spiritual and showed the inner strength of youngsters like Anne Frank and Peter van Pels in the most trying of times possible to imagine.
I visited Anne Frank's House on a visit to Amsterdam last week. 6 of us went on the trip and the only thing that we all agreed we wanted to see was Anne Frank's House. I wanted to see it, as being a historian this was one of the most important sites in the city. Others had read the book or even just heard Anne mentioned in passing. The thing was that everyone knew something about the story of Anne, which is pretty remarkable in itself, that a small girl's diary could become so famous.
Most people will know at least the basics of Anne's story, but here's a reminder. Anne was a Jew, living with her father, mother and sister in Amsterdam. She was born in 1929 in Germany. When the Nazi party came to power the Frank family decided that Germany was no longer safe and they moved to Amsterdam. They thought they were safe, until 1940 when the German army invaded the Netherlands.
The Diary itself was begun before the family went into hiding. Anne received it for her 13th birthday in June 1942. Soon after this the family went into hiding, along with Hermann van Pels, his wife and son. Later in the year an eighth joins them, Fritz Pfeffer. They hid in some unused rooms in one of Otto Frank's warehouses, on the canal in Amsterdam. They were helped by four friends, who brought them food and news. During the day they all had to keep quiet, so not to alert the workers.
Those hiding were found in August 1944, after over two years in the annexe. They were taken to a camp where they were made to work, before being ordered to the eastern camps in September 1944. They were sent to Auschwitz. Hermann van Pels was murdered shortly after this. The captives were moved around various camps. Anne and her sister Margot died at Bergen-Belsen, from disease, in March 1945.
The only survivor of the secret annexe was Otto Frank, Anne's father. When he returned to Amsterdam he was given Anne's diary by Miep Gies. Anne had herself wished to publish the diary, and had even edited parts of it. Therefore Otto Frank decided to fulfil this wish. Since its first publication it has been made into a play and a film and has been widely translated.
The house is located on Prinsengracht. The entrance is in the house next door, a modern looking building. Trams 13, 14 and 17 will take you to the house.
The house costs 7.5 Euros for adults, and 3.5 Euros for children and Under 26 cardholders. The price didn't seem too steep to me, we were in the house for probably 1.5 hours. The last entrance is 1/2 hour before closing but this would mean a rushed visit and I wouldn't advise that. It is open from 9-7 and 9-9 in the Summer.
All the guidebooks warn you about the queues for Anne Frank's house. When we went there were no queues to get in, even though we went in the middle of the day, but it was on a cold March day! However, when we got inside it was very busy (or so I thought) so I wouldn't like to see what the queue gets like in the summer. Get there early. Not only to avoid the queue but also the crowds within the house as it is very cramped in some places and made me feel claustrophobic.
The House's website states that the house may provide some obstacles to disabled visitors - huge understatement!! I found it difficult to climb the stairs and I'm able-bodied. They are very narrow and steep and there is no lift or ramps. I would say it was almost impossible for disabled access.
During your visit you can't take photos or video, which is fair enough as some of the displays may be damaged. You can pick up a brochure at the entrance which gives you information and a photo about each room.
You begin by visiting the downstairs rooms of what was the warehouse belonging to Otto Frank. Throughout the visit there are quotes from the diary, written on the walls, in both Dutch and English. During this first part of the museum you see exhibits to do with being a Jew in a Nazi occupied state, such as the infamous yellow star which they were made to wear. There is a video showing Miep Gies, one of four who helped conceal the family. This part is interesting, but a little sparse on the exibits. You can fully understand why there aren't very many exibits though, there is simply not enough room. Even when I visited in March, when it is quieter, people were jostling for space to read the small cards which go with the exibits.
You then progress upstairs, where you are faced with the famous bookcase, which covered the entrance to the secret annexe. This probably haunted me more than anything else. For some reason the bookcase symbolised their hiding for me. When you go through the bookcase you enter the rooms where they actually hid. Behind the bookcase you see the room shared by Anne's father, mother and sister and the room shared by Anne and Fritz Pfeffer. I found the size of the rooms striking, for so many to live in such a small space. In Anne's room the pictures which she glued to the wall remain, although they are behind glass to protect them. The area is also dark because of the black curtains on the windows, although it must be very light compared to the blackout curtains which would have been there during the war. You also walk through the kitchen/living area, which doubled as Mr and Mrs van Pels' bedroom and then their son's bedroom, which was very small, and the bathroom. I felt claustrophobic in the rooms, and I was only in them for 20 minutes (admittedly with lots of young school children from various countries trying to stand on my toes to get a look!). Walking through the rooms really makes you think about how life was for these people, who stayed there for over 2 years, with no access to outside.
When you leave the living quarters you see the death records of all who were in the house and who died in the concentration camps. These were very crude, with the date of death being recorded next to what I think was a swastica. There is also a video of Anne's friend, who was in the concentration camp with her but on the 'privileged' side, and about how she threw a parcel to Anne. You also see the diary itself, but the object is nothing out of the ordinary, it is what it contains which is amazing. At the end of the visit there are computers where you can learn more about the house and those who lived there, although I found these very difficult to control (the mouse had a mind of its own). There was also a room where you could vote on topics such as freedom of press and speech (eg should Holocaust denial be printed on the internet and should Protestants in Northern Ireland be allowed to march through Catholic areas). All were controversial topics, so be careful of offending others if you voice your opinion loudly (although the voting buttons allow you to do it discretely). The results of those sitting in the room and also the results from all visitors are then displayed. I think this is a very interesting part of the museum, and it shows how the prejudices which Anne suffered are alive today.
The visit ends, as with most museums, the shop. There weren't really any tacky museum gifts which you find so often, but the diary was the main focus, being sold in many languages. There were also various books about the war and the Holocaust in general.
If you go to Amsterdam then this is a must see museum. It isn't huge and won't take up too much of your time if you've gone to the city for certain other attractions. It is, however, very poignant. There is not a huge number of exibits, but I think that this is a good thing. Firstly, there are far too many visitors to make it viable, and secondly, the number of exibits perhaps reflects the lives of these people while they were hiding, sparse. I thought that the entrance fee was reasonable and you can certainly get your money's worth. I would spend at least a hour in the house to make the most of seeing everything. The house however is not about money's worth, but the story of a young girl. Parts of the house, like the pictures on Anne's wall, make it feel as if they have only stepped out, and they will return. The only downside is the lack of access and I thought that there could have been more information in the rooms, although the information booklet is quite detailed. I also recommend reading the book before you go, and then you can place scenes and bring it to life. I found the whole experience very moving and would recommend a visit to anyone.
I have an appalling confession to make. I thought myself pretty aware of Anne Franks life, having skimmed her diary many years ago and watched umpteen documentaries and films based on her experience as a Jew in hiding during the Holocaust. However, I thought with all my heart that she spent the war years hiding from the Nazi's in Germany. So while wandering around Amsterdam I was slightly surprised to see a sign reading (in Dutch of course) The House of Anne Frank.
I followed the route really just expecting some small memorial to the Frank family outside the house, but as soon as I realised the slender townhouse I was looking at also doubled as a museum I had to have a look around.
Upon arrival I paid my 7.50 Euro admission and was given a rather large pamphlet containing general information on the house itself, plus tips to get the most from my visit. The pamphlet is definitely a one size fits all affair, being printed in 7 or 8 different languages, but its worth having as there are exhibits and news broadcasts (shown on televisions) which arent particularly well labelled and the brief explanations in the leaflet helped me, in 2006, to understand better the life of a thirteen year old girl back in 1943.
I visited the Belsen Memorial Site a few years ago with my dad and remember the dark, oppressive feeling the former concentration camp gave me. I was expecting a similar sensation as I approached the first room in Anne Franks house but this museum has an altogether lighter feel. The museum pieces are basically located around the house in glass fronted cabinets and arent all related directly to Anne Frank. For example, one of the first items I noticed was the horrific yet innocent looking threadbare yellow star which Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. I expected the star to belong to Anne or a member of her party but its an anonymous piece donated to the museum collection from a survivor.
I simply cant go through absolutely everything youll see in the house. I spent around two hours looking at the various exhibits but as most of the collection is paper based, excerpts from the diary and photographs make up the bulk of the museum; my descriptions wont even begin to touch on the personal detail of life in war-time Amsterdam.
Otto Frank (Annes father) survived the concentration camp and devoted the latter part of his life to collecting original letters and documents written by Anne, Margot, their mother and the other people who hid with them in the annexe. These have been displayed to good effect in the museum, with a small tartan autograph book taking pride of place its in this book that Anne first wrote her diary and when the realisation of what youre looking at hits, youll be rocked by the innocence this simple item seems to project.
Walking through the door into the secret annexe where Anne, her family and their friends lived until their capture in August 1944 is sobering. Theres a definite change in the air as you stand inside these small living quarters, it certainly felt cooler than the rest of the house and even with the door open seemed shut off from the world. I could imagine the fear and (oddly) the boredom as day turned into weeks, turned into years for the inhabitants
Walking around the house is a bit of a tight affair as the original stair cases and doorways are still there, and the house itself is narrow. This means theres a strict route to follow which will take in the entire collection from beginning to end, and if you dare to deviate from this pre designated route expect a gruff voiced Dutchman to herd you back into line! Its a pretty good system considering the amount of people who visit the house daily, although it does give the house a conveyor belt feeling as if you stop for too long to look at a particular exhibit you can literally feel the queue of people behind getting longer. It also means that its not viable to take pushchairs or wheelchairs into the house and this isnt a human rights offence, there simply isnt room for anything bulkier than the average standing person!
The one thing which I found odd in a way about the house was the fact that all the furniture has gone. I dont mean I think its odd that the curators of the museum have (correctly) decided that if the displays and the furniture are all in this narrow house there wont be room for visitors, rather the lack of human comforts and belongings give the house an oddly desolate atmosphere. I knew I was in a house because I was in Anne Franks House but it was easy to forget that a group of people had their survival instincts tested to the full here many years ago.
How can I sum this attraction up? I had butterflies as we queued to go in, anticipating some kind of emotional reaction to be in the place where the young girl whose face we all know so well struggled to grow up in such a strange and enclosed environment. While I felt a sense of sympathy as I made my way around the house, I cant really say I felt any kind of empathy with the people the museum is dedicated to. It was interesting to read through the many documents, and the television section brings a bit of much needed background to the Anne Frank story making good use of not very hi-tech technology. To be completely honest, I found parts of the display boring and lacking in any imagination. I dont expect flashing lights and slot machines at what is, in essence, a memorial site but the way documents are laid out in such a businesslike manner made me feel I was browsing the town hall records.
I enjoyed the visit, if enjoyed is an appropriate word for such a depressing tragedy, and Im glad we found The House of Anne Frank. Our hotel was literally a ten minute walk from the museum, but its easily found by taking one of a number of trams from Central Station and following the signs to Prinsengracht 267 or easier again, take one of the cheap cabs you find all over Amsterdam and you wont have to worry about navigating confusing Amsterdam streets! Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that the house has limited opening times during the winter, I say limited because while researching this review I found that the museum doesnt open this year until 15th March when we in fact visited in January!
One other thing which I think is worth a mention is the gift shop. Here you can buy 24 different translations of The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Franks now famous wartime diary. I bought an English copy after my error in the girls nationality and I now intend to read up on this young heroine, because hers really is a story which should not be forgotten.
*The issue of Anne Franks nationality is a problematic one. Anne and her family were German refugees, although her father did apply for (and receive) Dutch nationality after World War 2.*
With not much more than thirty hours to spend in Amsterdam (and still eat, drink and sleep!), I was forced to make some tough decisions about what could and couldn't be done.
In the end I decided that I should visit the Anne Frank House, partly because it was raining heavily and it was obvious that it was time to do some indoor activities and partly because I had visited Auschwitz earlier in the year and am very interested in this period of history.
Anne Frank was born in Germany in 1929. In 1933, Otto Frank and his wife, Edith, decided to leave Germany with Anne and their older daughter, Margot, to make a new life in Amsterdam because, being Jewish, they feared that their lives would not be safe in Nazi Germany.
They lived happily in Amsterdam until the Germans invaded and occupied the Netherlands in 1940. At first Jews were instructed to wear yellow star-shaped badges to identify them as Jews; then they were forbidden from running businesses and holding certain types of jobs and finally they were rounded up and sent away to concentration camps in eastern Europe. Initially they were told to present themselves for this but many tried to avoid it and so troops were sent to houses known to be occupied by Jews and anyone found hiding was forcibly removed and put on the trains to almost certain death.
The Franks were one family who refused to give themselves up. They did not see why they should. They had already fled Germany and rebuilt their lives, they were not going to leave without a fight. They now had a nice house on the Prinsengracht with the offices and warehouses of the family business next door. The girls were doing well at school and Otto and Edith did not want the family to be separated.
The decision was made to go into hiding; the family would live in an annexe at the rear of 263 Prinsengracht. They were joined there a week later by Hermann and Auguste van Pels and their son Peter, a couple of years older than Anne. This was in May, in November Fritz Pfeffer also moved in.
The families were helped by the staff of the Frank family business. In particular the secretary, Miep Gies, risked her own safety to smuggle in food, medecines and other supplies including school work for the young people. This was done by the children and sent secretly for marking by a school teacher hiding elsewhere.
As soon as staff started arriving for work downstairs, everyone had to remain silent. The slightest noise might alert someone. The families lived like this for twenty-five months until their hiding place was betrayed in August 1944.
The Anne Frank House is situated in central Amsterdam on the Prinsengracht, just a stone's throw from the Westerkerk (west church). We walked there - it's only twenty minutes from the central station - but it can be reached by taking trams number 13 or 17.
You enter through the recently built modern visitors centre and as you go in there is a leaflet available in eight languages which will give you extra information as you go round. There is a designated route to take - not because the Dutch are stuffy, rules-happy people but because this is a traditional Dutch townhouse and therefore very narrow with steep staircases and therefore not practical for lots of people to wander at random.
Unfortunately, this also means that these premises are not suitable for wheelchair users or people with limited mobilty. I think this is a shame but really unavoidable without drastically altering the building and then, of course, it would not accurately show what the families went through.
I am not going to describe in minute detail everything there is to see in the Anne Frank House - I think this would spoil the experience for anyone visiting the museum. What I will do is briefly describe the main rooms and how the story is told.
The rooms are now devoid of furniture and therefore look very sombre and sad. Information panels on the wall in each room say (in a couple of languages) who lived in the room and give a quote relating to those people from Anne's diary.
Some of the rooms also contain display cabinets exhibiting items such as a yellow badge worn as identification by a Jewish person or papers instructing Jewish people that they must surrender themselves for deportation. One very poignant exhibit is the first, tartan bound diary Anne kept while in the house.
Aftr the first couple of rooms, you passage throughthe low and narrow doorway past the bookcase which hid the secret entrance to the annexe. My heart began to beat harder and faster at this point - it really struck a chord that Anne herself had once gone through this doorway.
Upstairs are more rooms with exhibits and a few have large TV screens and show interviews with Otto Frank and Miep Gies and also newsreel footage showing events at the time that the Netherlands was occupied. These are either recorded in English or subtitled. They really add to the experience and enhance your knowledge but they also slow down the passage of visitors throught the house. This is because only a limited number of peple can properly see the screen at one time so the next people wait in the corridor and then the whole thing grinds to a halt.
This, though, is only to be expected in such a busy place but you should leave enough time to do the museum justice taking into acount these delays.
As you complete the tour of the house,you are led back to the visitors centre where there are lots of computers offering interactive learning and opportunities to learn more about Anne Frank, the persecution of the Jews and the work done by the Anne Frank House (a registered charity) to keep her memeory alive and to educate pboth adults and children and promote the concepts of freedom and democracy.
There is also a comprehensive bookshop which stocks relevent books in many languages.
Entry to the museum costs 7.50 Euro for adults and 3 Euros 50 for 10 to 17 year olds and holders of the Under 26 Eurocard. Children 9 years and under go free. There is no discount for holders of the Amsterdam Museumcaart.
The museum is open from 9.00am until 7.00pm in the winter and until 9.00pm in the summer (April onwards). It is closed for Yom Kippur on 2nd October 2006.
Anne Frank died of typhus and deprivation in March 1945 in Bergen-Belsen, a couple of days after her sister. Edith Frank died in Auschwutz-Birkenau of disease and exhaustion in January 1945. Only Otto Frank survived. Miep Gies gave him Anne's diary which was first published in 1947 as"The Secret Annexe".
The "Diary of a Young Girl" has been translated into over 60 languages and is widely available from bookshops.
26th January is Holocaust Memorial Day.
I had learnt a lot about Ann Frank, her life and her experiences; visting her hiding place in Amsterdam let me down. It was so anaoymous, it had no feel of her life; her photos were behind galss and the furniture was not to be seen. The rooms are bare and the floor has been sealed over with lino flooring. The whole experience did not affect me as the book did.
I really recommend her book, not as a reflection of the holocaust as she did not see it, it is a personal account, however basing your learning on this is limited and cuts out a lot of what actually happened.
What happens when we are dead and gone, do our exploits on earth simply vanish into this materialistic world or is there something greater? Will we ever be remembered? Ann Frank has answered that questioned, although her bones and organs are gone forever, her written word ahs immortalised her and her generation. Millions of children were killed in the unforgivable holocaust of the Jews. The Nazi regime had reached a new low; from the millions of corps that lay on the battle fields of World War II, to the bodies worked to death in the concentration camp, it is difficult ever to forget what happened to human will in Nazi Germany. However, the important thing is not to forget, but to remember, remember every detail, not just the events, this really happened and the blood that washed mother earth can never be bleached. Ann Frank helps us to do just that; remember. Situated in Amsterdam, Prinsengracht, 263, Ann Frank’s house is an absolute must. Ann Frank was born on 12 June 1929, and she was only the tender age of eleven when the Nazi regime decided to invade the Netherlands, not only threatening her life, but that of every Jewish inhabitant. From July 1940 to June 1944, Ann Frank’s father Otto Frank decided to put his family into hiding from the Nazi authorities. Throughout this period of underground living, Ann Frank wrote a diary of her family’s hardships. An intelligence and genuinely honest account of her exploits. Her bravery and faith in the entries are commendable, but not exhaustible, and in the dying moments of the Nazi regime, her faith is broken as is her life. A tragic and compelling story. The house is a historical marking on earth. It symbolises everything that happened in World War II; the hope and courageousness on the battlefields, the resistance against the Nazi’s on the streets and the sprinkle of hope that existed even when Hitler had successfully orated to entire nation the devil’s word. Along with the Daan family, the Frank’s managed to escape detection for a while, it was only until they were informed upon that they were shipped to the concentration camps where the family was divided and Ann and sister Margot were left as orphans. Perhaps the saddest of all facts is that it was only weeks before the camp was liberated that Ann and her sister passed away due to typhus. Despite her inspiration and initial hope, she was broken, a symbolic event that marked the evil of the early 40’s. The structure of the house was designed to provide a very unsuspicious hideaway. The upper, floor back annexe was the hiding place for the Frank family, when entering this place, you will be greeted with a short documentary commenting on the life and diary of Ann Frank. Afterwards, you will be allowed to explore the historical monument by yourself. The souvenir shop allows tourists to buy a copy of Ann Frank’s diary, which was first published in 1947. Although initially written by a Jewish girl, the text is so crucial to human history and culture that it has been translated in over 50 languages. It’s hard to draw conclusion on a monument, which symbolises one of the most controversial and politically aggressive eras ever known to man. I can only summarize by saying what the Ann Frank house taught me. It taught me both the positive aspects of hope, that hope is essential, it inspire invigorates and energises the most lost of souls, but sadly it also taught me that no matter how much hope, or courage you possess, evil can always prevail.
You may have read my recent opinion on the city of Amsterdam itself, well one of the attractions l had penciled in as my number one place to visit was house where Anne Frank lived or Anne Frankhuis. This is easily found either by canal boat or on foot at Prinsengrancht 263. Entrance was 12 Guilders - whis is about £4.50 - not too bad. The building dates back to 1635 and it shows the rooms where the yound Jewish girl along with family and friends hid during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam from 1942 until 1944. I would advise that you get here early. We arrived on a Wednesday morning about 9.45am and had to queue for about 15 minutes. There were a lot of school kids on trips visiting. Opening hours are 9am until 5pm Monday to Saturday and on a Sunday 10am to 5pm. Due to recent renovation works the museum now houses further exhibition centres, a gift shop and cafe. As you make your way around the narrow stair cases and empty rooms you really can not being to comprehend how it must have been like for these human beings to live couped up in such surroundings - families sharing one room, not being able to flush the toliet in case you attract attention - much has been said in the past about the treatment of this race of people and l cannot say anything more bar the fact that animals should not be treated like such. In each room there is some script from Anne's diary on the wall relating to that part of the house. There is also a video diary in English and dutch with related actors talking about their experiences and perhaps some artifacts from the time - the star of David they were made to wear by the Nazi's sticks out in my mind. The book case that lead to the secret annex is still in place as are pictures of Annes favourite stars stuck to the wall in order to brighten up the monotony of their entrapment. The stairs up to Annes room in the attic were blocked off but it does not take away from w
hat the house has come to represent. Anne's diary has become world famous with copies being printed in many different languages. It is sad to think that Anne and her sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945 - one week before liberation by the allied forces. Her diary is her legacy, and was published by her father Otto Frank the only survivor. I would recommend a visit to this place - it is surrounded by an air of quiet contemplation and respect, everyone is lost in thought - trying hard to imagine the hardship of living in such a manner. To find out more information visit the website - www.annefrank.nl
This is the house where Anne Frank wrote her diary, recording her experiences as a member of a Jewish family during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam in World War II.