Visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

Back in December, my mom and I made a super quick stop in Amsterdam (less than 24 hours) on our way home from our fantastic Scandinavia trip. We knew we wouldn’t have time to do much, but knew that a stop at the Anne Frank house was a must.

I read Anne Frank’s Diary back in my language arts class in middle school. At that point I was 13, the same age Anne was when her family had to go into hiding during WWII. I still remember all the emotions from it, but it wasn’t until another 13 years later that I actually got the opportunity to visit the site where the diary was written, and where Anne herself lived.

Visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

History

Let me back up a minute for anyone who might not be familiar with Anne Frank and her story.

Anne Frank is arguably the most “famous” victim of the Holocaust. She was born in Germany and lived there for a good portion of her childhood years, but once Hitler’s power began to rise, she fled with her family to Amsterdam, where they could enjoy the freedoms Jewish people were no longer allotted.

On her 13th birthday, she received a diary from her parents and began to write to an imaginary friend, Kitty, who she promised to confide in and use as a source of comfort and support. A few weeks later, Anne and her family went into hiding in the “Secret Annexe,” a hidden space in the back of her father’s office building, where they lived for 2 years before being captured and sent to concentration camps.

The only surviving member of the Frank family from the Holocaust was Anne’s dad, Otto. When he returned to Amsterdam, his friend, Miep (who helped hide the family), gave him Anne’s diary, which she had held on to. He discovered an entirely “different” version of Anne in this diary, which showed her incredible storytelling skills, depth of emotions, and unbreakable spirit. And several years later in 1947 (almost 70 years ago), he had her diary published for the world to read, honoring her dream to one day become a writer. Since then, her diary has been translated into 70 different languages and sold 30+ million copies.

Visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

About/Visiting the Anne Frank House (Museum)

The Anne Frank House officially opened as a museum in 1960 and has had over 32 million visitors, each year bringing more people in than the last. The museum features SO much history in the form of videos, photos, model diagrams, and text, putting visitors in the shoes (so to speak) of the two families that went into hiding in the “Secret Annexe” and their friends who helped keep them hidden during the dark days of WWII.

But it’s not until you see the bookshelf which hid the sole entrance/exit to the hidden spot the families hid that it actually becomes a reality to you, as you duck under and climb through the narrow stairway to enter the area where 8 people lived 24/7 for 2 years.

The space itself was much bigger than I had imagined (those Amsterdam houses really play a trick on your eyes with how small they look on the outside and how spacious they are inside), but still, tiny when you imagine the number of people living in the space and that these rooms and walls were the only things they saw for such a long time.

The Annexe had a shared kitchen/living room, bathroom, a couple small bedrooms and an attic. But since they were in hiding, the curtains were drawn, windows blackened, and minimal movement was allowed, so nobody would suspect that there were people hiding above. The families were entirely dependent on their friends who hid them for food and really, their lives, in keeping them hidden. But this life was much better than what lay outside the walls.

Thoughts on the Museum

I’ll admit, this was NOT an easy museum to walk through, especially in the Annexe, and when you walk out and see videos and photos of what happened to the families and individuals that helped keep them hidden after they were discovered.

It’s absolutely chilling and really brings Anne Frank’s Diary to life, as you walk where the vibrant young girl did so many years ago. It’s an incredibly solemn atmosphere, and no one said a word when walking through the Annexe. It seemed to be an unspoken rule with everyone just taking it in. But also, what really is there to say? It’s absolutely heartbreaking. You can still see some of the photos Anne had clipped out of magazines on the walls.

Anne Frank gave a voice to those without one during those harrowing years, and just like she wanted, she lives on, even after death.

Visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

Getting Tickets

I cannot stress this enough. BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE. I started watching the site months in advance to make sure we’d be able to get tickets. If you know the date(s) you’re looking to visit, be sure to log on 2 months prior to, when they go on sale. There is a standby line, but you could be standing outside for HOURS to get in, so better to plan ahead, if possible.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to visitors who pre-purchase their tickets online for a specific timeslot. If you don’t have a ticket in advance, you can purchase at the museum entrance, but are unable to visit until after 3:30. Tickets cost 9€ for adults and 4.50€ for kids (ages 10-17).

It’s also worth noting that photos are NOT allowed inside the museum, hence the lack of photos in this post.

Share:
  • Wow! Definitely a must-see in Amsterdam. It’s probably a requirement for most schools to include Anne Frank in the reading curriculum in elementary/middle school. Thank you for sharing your experience with us – as solemn as the experience was, it’s such a famous historical site that you can’t miss!

    Jenn
    http://www.honeydewblog.com

  • Wow! Absolutely a must-see when in Amsterdam! Such a great post!

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  • When I was in college my theater company put on a production of The Diary of Anne Frank. I played her mom and it was one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever done – to actually put yourself in place of what they were going through and feeling, and trying to act it. I’ve developed a strong connection to Anne and her story as a result and I would love to visit this museum, though I’m sure it would also be a difficult experience.

  • If I am ever in that area I intend to visit this site and appreciate getting a sneak peak. Thank you. I think it’s important to honor the victims even as there are some really delusional people who say the Holocaust never happened.

  • I’m probably one of the only people in the world who hasn’t read The Diary of Anne Frank. It is probably a tough, but important book to read. Talk about a strong person!!!

  • I remember being required to read The Diary of Anne Frank in middle school too and it being one of the best pieces of required reading. I never knew the story behind how it was published though or that her dad survived – so interesting. I would love to visit that house!

  • Lynn White

    We had to read this for school and it was one of the few books I actually liked. What an honor to be able to visit this museum. This is definitely a place I would like to visit.

  • Wow! What a great experience to see this part of history up close. If I’m ever in Amsterdam I’ll definitely be visiting this museum.

  • I can’t even imagine visiting the Anne Frank house, but I know that it’s something that I would definitely want to see if I visit in Amsterdam. I can’t even imagine how surreal it must have felt to visit.

  • Marsha Sommervil

    I’m planning on going to Amsterdam this summer and want to go there. Coincidently yesterday the movie was playing on tv. I read the diary when I was 13 years old as well and like you it has made a even deeper impact on me as an adult.

  • Shannon @ Lady’s Little Loves

    What an amazing experience! I’d really like to go to this some day!

  • Christa Stull

    I can only imagine how emotional it would be to visit. But what an amazing experience!

  • I want to visit so badly! I think I had heard in the past it’s not easy to navigate, because that’s just how it was back then and how she was able to hide. Saving this for the future <3

  • Alissa Carpenter

    Wow! What an incredible experience to be able to visit. That is one place that is on my list for sure!

  • Jessica Bradshaw

    This is on my bucket list! Hopefully next year I can cross it off. Thank you for sharing!!

    • I hope you can get there too, Jessica. Be sure to buy those tickets ahead of time!

  • I got chills just reading your post. I’ve always wanted to visit the Anne Frank House. I read a lot of WWII fiction and non-fiction but her diary is absolutely one of the best about that horrific time.

  • Those chills! Such a bucket list place to visit and experience!

    • It definitely is! Not an easy place to visit, but it’s an important piece of history!

  • Jordyn Upchurch

    As a history teacher, this sounds like such an interesting place to visit-it’s on what I call my historical travel bucket list!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

    • Oh absolutely! Do you have any favorite historical sites you’ve visited already?

  • I’m SO personally connected to her story – I actually played Anne Frank in high school when we did The Diary of Anne Frank as a fall play! So I had to do so much research for that and WOW. Just chilling and amazing and just such a powerful piece.

    Coming Up Roses

  • Great post! I had such a humbling experience at the Anne Frank house when I visited a couple years ago! Thanks for sharing!

    // itsCarmen.com

  • I can’t imagine how it would feel to be at this museum! I’m sure you had chills.

  • This is on my bucket list and has been for a long time. The history is so interesting and so heartbreaking. I don’t know how I would feel going though, i feel like it would be an emotional visit.

  • Lynzy

    This museum is insanely amazing. I am so intrigued by the museum, I can only imagine the chills you had inside. The history alone is so amazing and powerful.

  • Anna Hubbard

    I went to Amsterdam for a few days last year, but we didn’t know we were going until it was too late to get tickets ahead of time. We thought about going to stand in the line, but we didn’t want to miss out on anything else. It’s definitely on my list of places to go, though!

  • Kaitlynn Charalambopoulos

    my friend is visiting Amsterdam this summer. I will send this her way. She would love it i’m sure

  • One of the most haunting experiences of my life. I’m glad you all were able to make it over there. I think it’s one of those places that people should experience given that most everyone reads the book. The creaking floorboards were what got me – how impossible and terrifying that must have been for everyone there.