Monday 18 September 2023

Visiting Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam

On our recent visit to Amsterdam we had a really interesting and informative visit to the Anne Frank House. You can find out more about Anne Frank here - Who was Anne Frank. A visit to the Anne Frank House gives you the opportunity to visit the actual rooms of the Secret Annex where Anne went into hiding with her family and others, as well as being the home of a large museum and other exhibitions. 

We visited the house probably around twenty years ago, and things have changed a lot during that time! So I thought I'd share some information in case you are planning a visit, something which I would absolutely recommend if you find yourself in Amsterdam.

The most important thing to know about a visit is that you must buy tickets in advance. I'm pretty sure that it would impossible to turn up on the day and be able to visit. Be very careful if you book a local tour that includes a visit to Anne Frank's House - you will almost certainly find that it doesn't include actual entry into the house. 

Tickets are currently released for sale six weeks beforehand on a Tuesday at 10am CEST. They are only available through the official website and must be purchased for a specific time slot. You can find all the information here - Anne Frank House. There are two types of ticket available - Museum Visit and a Museum Visit with a 30 minute introduction in English.

I was very keen to get tickets and knowing that we were visiting in the summer holidays on the same day as several cruise ships were in port I checked out the website for a few weeks before we actually needed to buy the tickets. 

I was interested in Museum Visit only tickets for a visit in the middle of August, and from discussion in our cruise group, tickets with the introduction sold out within minutes. By quarter past many time slots were full, but because each slot is only 15 minutes there were still plenty of tickets available for several hours after opening. By the end of the day most of the daytime slots for that week had gone, but a couple of days later there were still some evening and weekend slots available. 

I noticed that when the ticket slots opened up for the six week ahead mark there were also extra tickets released for dates which were previously fully booked. It's worth checking nearer the time if you miss out, and if you are visiting out of the main summer season and are flexible with your times you may be able to get away with booking a week or two in advance.

Anne Frank House steep staircase leading up

The entry time was very strict, and there was a queuing system outside while you waited for your slot to open. The ticket conditions make it very clear that there are no refunds and the purchaser must be with you at time of entry. You can't take bags but there is a free cloakroom, and the ticket price includes an excellent audio guide. The Secret Annex and the older part of the museum are unfortunately not accessible for wheelchairs, pushchairs or people with limited mobility as there are some incredibly steep staircases.

Your visit starts in the house next door, with an excellent introduction to the history of the building, the family and others who went into hiding, their helpers, and how the family managed to remain in hiding for so long. It also covers the fates of everyone involved once they were discovered. I found that it was pitched perfectly both to people who know Anne's story well and to those who are unfamiliar and want to learn more. The audio guide is really well paced and keeps people moving along. There are also lots of videos to watch which are on a loop so you can jump in at any point. 

Then you enter the Secret Annex itself, passing by the bookcase which concealed the entrance still in place. The rooms are unfurnished, but there are photographs in each room showing how they would have looked when occupied. There are also some family possessions on display. In Anne's room you can see the pictures which she glued onto the walls, and there are pencil markings which show Anne and her sister Margot's heights as they grew while in hiding. The rooms are small and would have been crowded when occupied, but at the same time it's astonishing just how much space there was hidden away. You can spend as long as you like looking around. 

Bookcase at entrance to the Secret Annex in Anne Frank's House

After visiting the Secret Annex there are more exhibitions to see. The main draw here is Anne Frank's original diary and some of her other notebooks. There is also a model of the Secret Annex - the photo below shows the bookcase entrance at the bottom and the steep steps leading upwards. This really helps to understand how all the rooms are arranged, as it can be a bit confusing when you are inside. 

Model of the Secret Annex at Anne Frank's house

I think that Anne Frank's house is one of the must-see attractions if you are visiting Amsterdam. I'd been wanting to share the experience with my children for a long time, and so I'm really glad that we had the opportunity to do so. I hope that this helps if you are planning a visit!

1 comment:

  1. This is somewhere that I would love to visit. It's interesting to know about the tickets. It does look such a fascinating place to visit. x


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