One of Amsterdam’s most popular and important museums is the Anne Frank House. The house is located on the Prinsengracht canal in the centre of Amsterdam. It contains the secret annex where the young girl Anne Frank and seven others hid from German occupation during WW2. It was here that she wrote her world-famous diary.
Anne Frank Story
Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1929. The Frank family moved to Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1933. Hostilities broke out in 1939 and within a year, the Netherlands found itself under Nazi occupation with the Jewish population experiencing increasing persecution.
In July 1942 the Frank family went into hiding in concealed rooms (the secret annex) at Prinsengracht 263 – the building where her father Otto Frank ran a business trading in pectin.
It was here where Anne wrote her diary giving a unique and touching perspective of wartime Amsterdam through the eyes of a teenage girl.
After 2 years the family was somehow betrayed and the secret annex was discovered by the Germans. In September 1944 Anne and her sister Margot were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau and then a few weeks later they were relocated to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They both died there of typhus in March 1945. Bergen-Belsen was liberated by British forces in April 1945.
Otto Frank survived the war and returned to Amsterdam. His efforts led to Anne’s diary being published in Dutch as Het Achterhuis in 1947. In 1950 it was translated into French and German and in 1952 came the first English edition entitled The Diary of a Young Girl.
It has since been translated into many other languages and the diary has been portrayed in theatre plays and films around the world.
In 1957 the Anne Frank Stichting organisation (with close involvement of Otto Frank) was established. They wanted to save the Prinsengracht building which was due for demolition and set up a place where the Anne Frank story and message could be preserved.
Anne Frank Museum
The Anne Frank House originally opened on 3 May 1960 and over the years attracted a growing number of visitors keen to experience the diary location at first-hand.
Between 1999-2001, it underwent a major expansion into the adjacent building. In 2018 the museum exhibition layout was completely refreshed with a new entrance opened on the Westermarkt side
A visit to the Anne Frank House can be poignant, thought-provoking and for some an emotional experience.
Each visitor undertakes an audio tour which provides historical and chronological context as one moves through the rooms. This maintains a quiet atmosphere inside the museum.
The presentation is spartan and uses quotes, photos, video clips and original items. The rooms are only very sparsely furnished – houses of deported Jews were generally stripped down with items taken away to Germany. However photos illustrate how the rooms would have looked at the time.
The audio tour is available in 9 languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. It is suitable for children aged from about 10 years.
After going through rooms in the Main House you reach the Secret Annex. It is accessible via a concealed entrance through the original hinged bookcase.
You will see Anne Frank’s room with photos of movie stars and royalty glued on the wall. You will also see height marks of Anne and Margot drawn on the bedroom wall.
The Diary Room holds Anne’s original red-checked diary plus some of her other manuscripts.
The film Reflections shows what Anne Frank’s diary and life story meant to 22 writers, actors, visitors and people who knew Anne.
The interactive exhibition A Room Full of Dreams is about the pictures and postcards that Anne had on her wall.
Note, the old part of the original house has very steep staircases and is not accessible for wheelchair users. The modern section of the museum is fully accessible. Photography is not officially allowed inside the museum.
The museum has a shop and café on site as well.
The Anne Frank House is not only a museum but a memorial to those who perished in World War 2. The renewed museum is a must-see in Amsterdam.
Nearby is the Westerkerk church tower (currently under renovation) which has fine views over the house and the city. There is a sculpture of Anne Frank on the Westermarkt square.
For more background you can also consider taking a Life of Anne Frank and World War II Walking Tour
How To Buy Anne Frank House Tickets
Tickets can only be purchased online at the Anne Frank House website. You must book a ticket and timeslot online in advance.
Tickets can only be booked up to a few weeks in advance. On every first Tuesday of the month tickets are released for the following month. Entry timeslots are offered in 15 minute increments.
Currently tickets are booked out a few days in advance with slots between 1000 and 1500 the most popular.
There is a €1 per ticket fee for all online bookings. Dutch Museumkaart holders must still book an online timeslot and pay the booking fee.
There is also a 30 minute introductory program available (in English or Dutch) at the extra charge of €7 which provides further insight.
Anne Frank House Essential Info
|Opening Times||Daily, 0900-2000 Mon-Thu, 0900-2200 Fri-Sun.|
|Admission Prices (2022)||€14 for adults, €7 for children 10-17, €1 for children 0-9 and Museumkaart holders. Tickets must be pre-booked online with a timeslot and include a €1 booking fee. Tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable. Note, Iamsterdam City Card holders and students receive no discount.|
|Getting There||The Anne Frank House can be reached on foot from Central Station in 15-20 minutes. From Dam Square head west along Raadhuisstraat towards Westermarkt. Trams 13 and 17 stop at Westermarkt. Then turn right (north) onto Prinsengracht and walk up one block.|
Anne Frank House, Westermarkt 20, 1016 DK Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 556 7105, annefrank.org
Last updated 30 September 2021. This article was first published in 2008 and has been regularly updated.