Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam (Holland) One of the most emotional visits that can be made in Amsterdam is that of the Anne Frank House Museum ( Anne Frank Huis ). We already recommend it as an outstanding visit in our article ” What to see in Amsterdam “, but I think that this place deserves an article of its own. If you are going to travel to Amsterdam, you should not miss it. Especially if you have a minimal interest in our recent history. It is not a pleasant visit, but it is necessary. As the Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Well, the Anne Frank Huis is a hard reminder of terrible facts that sometimes seem too far away and maybe we did not learn enough.
Ana Frank’s diary
A requirement that should be almost essential to visit this museum is to have previously read the famous Diary of Anne Frank . And the more recent you have the better reading, because a very important part of your experience in the museum will be linked to the memories you have of the story. For those who did not read it, or do not remember it, we briefly summarize the story of this young German girl.
Annelies Marie Frank was born in Frankfurt in 1929 into a Jewish family completed by Otto Frank (his father), Edith Hollander (his mother) and Margot Frank (his sister, three years older than her). In 1933, with the arrival of Hitler to power, Otto decided that they should move to Holland. There they lived in relative peace until in 1942, after the Nazi occupation, they were forced to hide in the back of Otto’s own company. A month before entering what they would call “the house behind”, Ana had received a kind of diary as a gift. Ana could not even suspect that those lines that she wrote day by day in her boring refuge were going to be historical.
The Diary of Anne Frank that we can read today is the compilation of several diaries that the girl wrote that month before entering the hiding place and during the more than 2 years of imprisonment. The Daily describes the daily life in the “back house”. Routines, reflections, loves, criticisms, fears … the Diary of Anne Frank are the memories of a girl who lost her teenage years hidden in a few square meters. The sad end of the book is that there is no end. The newspaper is interrupted on August 1, 1944. Three days later the Nazis discovered the hiding place by an anonymous tip-off and the 8 occupants of the house were arrested and taken to different concentration camps. The Frank sisters were separated from their parents, whom they would never see again. The Nazis moved them to Bergen-Belsen, where they would eventually contract typhus. Both died a few days apart in March 1945, just before the camp was released.
The only survivor of the eight occupants of “the house behind” was Otto Frank, Ana’s father. After being freed in Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, he returned to Amsterdam and little by little learned about the fate of his daughters , his wife and the rest of the group. It was at the news of Ana’s death that a former collaborator handed over her diaries, which she had kept for when little Frank returned. Despite the initial reluctance, Otto decided to publish those stories to make known to the world the testimony of his daughter. In 1950, with some retouching, deleted passages and several pseudonyms, the Diary of Anne Frank was released under the name “Het Achterhuis” (The house behind).
Anne Frank House Museum
The magic of this visit is that today we have the opportunity to enter what was really “the house behind.” The Prinsengracht canal building was close to being demolished in the mid-1950s, but a local newspaper launched a campaign to save it. The popular support finally made the house donated to the Anne Frank Foundation, created by Otto Frank himself, and finally opened its doors to the public in 1960. Employees who had hidden the occupants of the “secret annex” were able to save some assets personal after the arrests, but the Nazis appropriated most of the furniture, clothes and personal items, so the rooms we can see today are completely diaphanous. Photographs, signs, posters and our own memories of reading are those that fill that space that remained empty forever.
The access to the hiding place is done behind a bookcase, as it was done in his day. Steep stairs take us to the rooms of “the house behind”, where we can see the rooms occupied by the sad protagonists of that story. After seeing these spaces, which include small exhibitions, videos, etc. We will go back down stairs to the ground floor. We were surprised that many people missed a last stay with several exhibits. In their parade to the exit many do not notice that precisely in that room are the original newspapers. Although the crystals separate you from them, it is thrilling to see so close those old booklets that one day were in the hands of little Anne Frank.
Already on the ground floor, there is a last room that some visitors also overlook and in which we think it is worth stopping: the space ” Free2choose “. It is a wide stay where we can take a seat and attend a small video pass where we invite you to reflect on freedom of expression, censorship, discrimination, etc. After the passage of each piece we are encouraged to vote for or against several issues that will test our convictions about freedom, tolerance or racism. And the Anne Frank House is not only a museum, but also a didactic space from which we can learn several lessons.
Adult price: € 9 (up to 9 years free, reduced € 4.50) · Hours: open from 9am. Closing at 10pm in summer, 7pm in winter and 9pm the rest of the year · Consult all prices, detailed schedules and location [ official website ] · Keep in mind that queues can form during holidays and high season. To avoid it you can go at the last minute (but at least 30 minutes before closing) or buy tickets online.