Europe Travel

Anne Frank Museum, everything you need to know

Anne Frank, I always loved her story. It is very sad but inspiring. I read her diary a few times and went to the Anne Frank Museum a couple of times.

During history lessons in High School, the second world war was always my favorite subject. Don’t get me wrong, it was horrible. But I have been interested in it for as long as I can remember. Mostly because it is not that long ago.

You know, the hunters and gatherers were less interesting for me, because it was just too long ago. You still hear things related to the war and how it affected people. This is why it really grabs my attention.

Safe for later!

The Anne Frank Museum

Anne Frank

Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1929. She had a sister Margot, who was three years older. The horrible situation in Germany was the reason that Anne’s parents, Otto and Edith Frank, decided to go to Amsterdam.

Otto founded a company that sold pectin, an important ingredient for making jam. The family liked it in Holland, Anne felt right at home, learned the language, made friends and even went to a Dutch school.

Anne was 10 years old when Germany invaded Poland. The world war began. Just a few months later, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. The Dutch army invaded after five days.

The Nazis introduced more and more laws that made the lives of Jews more difficult. They could not visit parks, cinemas or some shops anymore. They even had to go to different schools and Otto lost his company. Jews were not allowed to run their own business anymore.

Anne Frank Pictures
Pictures of Anne Frank
Copyright Anne Frank House
Photographer Cris Toala Olivares 2010

Into hiding

On 5 July 1942, Margot got a call-up to report to a ‘labour camp’ in Germany. Her parents got suspicious and decided to go in hiding. In the spring of 1942, Otto had started a hiding place in the annex of this business.

His former colleagues helped them. There were joined by four more people pretty quickly and the place became cramped. These were the family Van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer.

Just before they went into hiding, Anne was given a diary. During the 2 years in hiding, she wrote about the Annex and her feelings and thoughts. She also copied books and passages. The writing was a way to pass some times.

First Diary of Anne Frank
First Diary of Anne Frank
Copyright Anne Frank House
Photographer Cris Toala Olivares 2010

The Minister of Education of the Dutch government was in england and he made an appeal on Radio Orange, a secret radio, to make documents and write diaries about the war.

Anne decided to write all her diaries into one running story, which we now know as ‘Het Achterhuis’ or translated ‘The Secret Annex’.

Discovered

Before Anne was finished with her diary, they were discovered by police officers on 4 August 1944. Two of the helpers were also arrested.

Until this day, we do now know the reason for the police raid.

Luckily, part of Anne’s writing was saved. Two other helpers took the documents before the Nazis emptied the Secret Annex.

Auschwitz

Through a prison in Amsterdam and the Westerbork transit camp, the people from the Secret Annex were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp.

The journey was by train and took three days. Anne and over a thousand others were packed together in cattle wagons. The toilet was a barrel and there was little food and water.

When they arrived at Auschwitz, Nazi doctors checked to see who could work and who couldn’t. Around 350 people were immediately taken to the gas chambers.

Anne, Margot and their mother were sent to the labour camp for woman. Otto was send to a camp for man.

Her death

November 1944, Anne and Margot were transported once again. They were sent to Bergen-Belsen. The conditions were horrible. Because of the lack of food, coldness, humidity and contagious diseases, Anne and Margot both got typhus.

In February 1945 Margot died from the typhus and Anne died shortly after.

Otto Frank

Otto was the only one from the Secret Annex that survived the camps. He was freed from Auschwitz by the russians and went on the long journey back to the Netherlands.

On the journey back, he learned that his wife had died. Once he was back in the Netherlands, he heard that both his daughters also died.

Anne’s Diary

Otto read the diary of Anne and read that she wanted to publish her stories about life in the Secret Annex. After long thoughts, friends convinced Otto to publish the diary in June 1947.

3000 copies were printed. Later the book was translated to 70 different languages and adapted for stage and screen.

The Secret Annex became a museum in 1960: the Anne Frank House. Otto stayed closely involved with the museum until his death in 1980.

Het Achterhuis, book Anne Frank
The first edition of the book in Dutch.
Rights reserved by press_anne_frank_house

The Anne Frank Museum

The building consisted of two parts. The main house and the Annex. The Annex stayed empty on Otto’s request. When he returned from Auschwitz, the annex was empty and he wanted to keep it that way.

The story is also famous because the secret annex was behind a bookcase. The bookcase is still there and you will actually go behind it. You will visit Anne Frank’s room, which she shared with Fritz Pfeffer.

Book case Anne Frank Museum
Bookcase door to the secret annex
Copyright Anne Frank House
Photographer Cris Toala Olivares 2010

The walls are covered in pictures and postcards that Otto had brought for here. This makes the room look like one big picture.

In another room, you can find her diary. You will see the original red-checked diary and the rewritten version that consists of 215 loose sheets. You will also find the two other notebooks of there. One with quotes she liked and one with short stories she wrote.

The entire collection consists of around 15.000 documents and artifacts. They don’t have enough space, but the small exhibition Tangible Memories gives you a good impression.

Anne Frank Museum
Anne Frank Museum
Copyright Anne Frank House.
Photographer Juul Hondius

Practical Information

Location

The Anne Frank museum or the Anne Frank House is located at the original place in the center of Amsterdam. You can find it at Prinsengracht 263-267. The entrance is around the corner at Westermarkt 20.

Audio tour

There is a free audio tour through the museum. It gives you more information about the Second World War, the people in hiding, their helpers and the persecution of the Jews.

It will be essential to the stories inside the museum and the documents you will seel.

The tour is available in nine languages:

  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Shop and Café

The Anne Frank museum has its own shop and cafe. You can only access through the museum.

The café has a beautiful view of the Prinsengracht. There is a wide range of drinks, snacks and lunch dishes available.

The shop offers the Diary, catalogues, postcards and more. If you buy something at this shop, you help conserve the museum and contribute to the educational activities.

Tickets

Tickets are only available online and are gone really fast. So if you want to visit the Anne Frank Museum, make sure you get your tickets before you go.

It is not possible to buy tickets at the location itself.

80% of the tickets are available exactly 2 months in advance. The other tickets are released at 9 AM on the day itself.

The museum is not that expensive. Adults are €10,-, kids 10-17 years are €5,- and children under 10 are free. There is a booking fee per ticket.
(Please remember that these are the prices while writing this in April 2019)

Opening hours

There are two different kinds of opening hours for the Anne Frank Museum.

From 1 November to 1 April:
Daily from 09:00 to 19:00
Saturdays from 09:00 to 22:00

1 April to 1 November
Daily from 09:00 to 22:00

There are a few days at different times, so please check the site for exceptions. These are mostly holidays.

Frequently asked questions

Conclusion

This is a museum you should definitely visit if you are going to the Netherlands. It fits perfectly in this 3-day itinerary for Amsterdam!

You will learn a lot about how the life was as Jew in the second world war. I tear up every time I visit and I never cry! It really grabs your attention and you will appreciate how you live right now even more.

After you visited the Anne Frank Museum, there is a lot more to do in Amsterdam.

Have you been to the Anne Frank museum? Or are you planning to go?

DIscover the life of a Jewish girl in the second world war
Secret house behind the bookcase

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