Touring the Anne Frank annex and museum was very emotional for me. I’ll share more about that in the next post, but first I’ll explain the logistics. You don’t enter the house from the original front door, but through the museum next door. However, you do enter the “secret annex” through the famous moving bookcase and use various steep stairways. You can see all the rooms the families used, including the attic. Original photos and magazine clippings of Anne are on the wall of her room. I hadn’t realized Anne used three different notebooks, as well as the original red and white checked diary; or that she also wrote separate stories and poems (in what she called “The Tales Book”), personal notes, a book of quotations, and an unfinished novel on loose sheets of paper called “The Secret Annex.” These are available to see in the museum, as are many items belonging to the Frank family — photo albums, artwork, paperwork, receipts, tickets, and other items. In addition, you can learn more about the amazing, loving people who helped the families while they were in hiding. One of the special places is the wall where the Franks kept track of Margot and Anne’s heights; it makes it all so real and sad when you see something like that.
If you go to the house, I highly recommend arranging for tickets well ahead of time. Since we travel on standby flights (and aren’t certain of reaching our destination), we didn’t purchase tickets ahead of time, but were able to get them (for later use in the week) by arriving super early one day and waiting for over an hour or two. Waiting for hours won’t guarantee you’ll get a ticket, either, of course. So plan ahead if you can.
Though we weren’t able to take photos in the annex, you can see photos online; but the best option is to walk through the entire building on their website in 3D. It’s a little difficult to navigate, but once you realize that movements are opposite of what you expect, it should work well for you as it did for me. Click here where it says “Go straight inside.”
The Anne Frank house has huge international connections. Otto Frank, Anne’s father, wanted it to become an International Youth Center, and it is. Their website says:
It would be a place for dialogue, where young people could gather; a place serving as a warning from the past, but focused on the future..Now young people from around the world gather here every summer to participate in meetings and debates. They stay in the adjacent dormitories, which the University of Amsterdam students are contractually obliged to give up for two months during the summer…
In addition to hosting youth conferences, Anne Frank House also began offering lectures and courses. This resulted in a regular series of study meetings led by Rabi Yehuda Ashkenazi that created a dialogue between Judaism and Christianity. The meetings attracted priests, ministers, rabbis and members of the public alike.
It was at this time that Anne Frank House also began hosting cultural evenings showcasing literature, poetry and classical music, which where primarily held downstairs at Prinsengracht 265. Those who performed at these musical evenings were usually students from the Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam.
In addition, the family lived at an apartment at Merwedeplein 37 in Amsterdam before going into hiding, and this apartment is also owned and used by the Anne Frank House. I found this quote from their website to be very interesting:
The Anne Frank House is the new owner of Anne Frank’s former home on the Merwedeplein square in Amsterdam. Its purpose remains the same: the apartment offers accommodation to writers from around the world who cannot work freely in their own countries. The Frank family lived in the apartment at Merwedeplein 37 II from December 1933 until July 1942. Anne first wrote in her diary, which she was given for her thirteenth birthday on 12 June 1942, in the apartment. Three weeks later the family went into hiding. [November 16, 2017]
I highly encourage you to visit the Anne Frank House if given the opportunity. Allow plenty of time to view all the rooms, exhibits, films and gift shop. There are many books available to purchase that tell more of the story of Anne Frank and her friends and family.
This video is excellent too; it doesn’t show all the rooms that the above 3D experience shows, but it’s really good.