Anne Frank House

When it comes to recent history, there may be no more endearing a figure than Anne Frank. A Jewish girl who was born in Frankfurt, Anne relocated to Amsterdam with her parents in 1933 in hopes of escaping Nazi Germany. That was all well and fine until the Nazis eventually gained power in the Netherlands, which began in 1940. With Jewish persecution increasing in 1942, Anne’s father, Otto Frank, moved his family into hiding in his office building. For two years, the Frank family maintained silence as best they could, sharing the space with the van Pels family and a man named Fritz Pfeffer. During these two years, young Anne, who dreamed of being a writer, kept a most remarkable journal recording her thoughts on a range of topics, including her family and her hiding companions. Now a monumental book, Anne’s journal is both inspirational and heart wrenching, especially when one considers the fate that Anne and most of her family members met in the end. Today, visitors to Amsterdam can visit the Anne Frank House Museum, which is housed in the very building where Anne and her family sought refuge. It’s truly one of the top Amsterdam attractions, and something you won’t want to miss when enjoying Amsterdam travel.

It was the morning of August 4, 1944, when German police finally raided the Achterhuis, which was the name of the Frank’s building hideout. Supposedly, these Nazi officials were made aware of the Jewish “prisoners” by an unknown source. After being rounded up and interrogated, the Frank family, the van Pels, and Mr. Pfeffer were sent on to concentration camps. Both Anne and her sister Margot died of typhus in the camps, and sadly, their deaths came not long before the end of the Second World War. Amazingly enough, Anne Frank’s diary survived the war, as did her father, who was gifted the diary by a friend who had found and kept it. In 1947, the first edition of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was released in Dutch. Since that initial printing, it has been published in some 60 different languages. As amazing as the journal is, so is the chance to visit the actual house where Anne hid out, which is now the Anne Frank House Museum.

Inside the Anne Frank House
Inside the Anne Frank House  Image: archer10 (Dennis) 80M Views (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

The Anne Frank House is located in the heart of the city at Prinsengracht 263. Though it was an office building at the time of hiding, the Anne Frank House was also a standard canal house, and it appears as such to this day. Exploring the Anne Frank House Museum is both eerie and intriguing. The rooms are still very much as they were, predominantly bare and indicative of just how rough life must have been in hiding. Among the most interesting exhibits on display here are the pin-up photos that Anne hung when still alive. One of the photos is of Deanna Durbin, who was Anne’s favorite silver-screen star. The others are of Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth of England. An Anne Frank House tour will likely leave you a bit sad and melancholic, though at the same time it encourages inspiration. What Anne and her fellow captives had to endure was most definitely an affront on basic human rights, and thanks to reminders like the Anne Frank House, the world can stay aware of just what can happen when human rights are thrown to the wayside.

The Anne Frank House Amsterdam experience will certainly leave an impact on you. When visiting Amsterdam, you can pass by the museum any day you please, as it is open daily from 9 a.m. Depending on the day or season, the museum closes at 7 p.m., 9 p.m., or 10 p.m. It can get quite busy in the summers, so if you don’t want to wait for a long time in line, you might choose to show up a bit early. Though showing early won’t exactly guarantee small lines, it’s a good idea nonetheless. The admission prices are very reasonable, and when you consider the magnitude of this place, it seems hard to put a price on it anyhow. Before or after your Anne Frank House tour, you might wander over to nearby Westermarkt, where you will find a bronze Anne Frank sculpture.

There are more than 40 museums in Amsterdam, including the Anne Frank House, so you can satisfy a range of cultural interests when exploring the city. Perhaps you’ll also be up for a tour of the Amsterdam canals or for a side trip to the Artis Zoo. And, no trip to Amsterdam would be complete without at least a few minutes spent hanging out in DAM Square, where you can marvel at the architectural splendor of the surrounding buildings. Pair an Anne Frank House tour with some of the other great Amsterdam attractions, and you"re in for an excellent day.

Top image: daryl_mitchell (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

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