The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

At age 13 I got the Diary of A Young Girl as a Christmas present from my Godmother. I was anxious for my new book, not only because I was an avid reader, but also because Anne was about my age when she wrote her diary, and I thought it would be easy to connect with her thoughts. But I was wrong. Because what Anne endured during the two-year period when she wrote her diary wasn’t just the usual teenage problems – she was a Jewish girl who lived in hiding from Nazi prosecutors and later fell victim to the Holocaust.

Anne Frank's diary in Hungarian & English with a pamflet from the House in Amsterdam

Anne Frank’s diary in Hungarian & English with a pamflet from the House in Amsterdam

It was a hard read for me at that age, when we were only starting to learn about these horrible historical facts, getting to know the most awful parts of our World. I remember how there were parts that I adored in the book, when Anne talked so lovingly about her parents. There were pages when I was sickened of the fact that she was in the house for such a long time – a thing I couldn’t imagine as a young girl who was roaming free on her bicycle, roller skates or simply on foot in every spare minute I had. But I was mostly repulsed by how the book had ended – suddenly..with some afterwords from a totally different person..

So when we went to Amsterdam earlier this March, I just had to see the Anne Frank House with my own eyes. Although the weather was pretty chilly as we stood in line for half an hour in front of 263 Prinsengracht, we stood and we waited. We handed over the 9 euros to get our tickets and got our free pamflets to help guide us.

It was nothing like I imagined it would be. I thought the house would be fully decorated, everything in place, like the way it was when they were taken. I thought there would be furniture, and maybe even some art. What we saw instead were quotations from Anne’s diary decorating the white walls, plenty of photographs of the house and the family, and short films projected on the bare walls which  produced a chill down my spine as I listened to the words of the helpers.

It made an impact. 

Just like Anne made an impact on me ten years ago, when I first read her diary. And it made me greatly appreciate the freedom I currently have, which she didn’t get any of in the last few years of her life.

“I long to ride a bike, dance, whistle, look at the world, feel young and know that I’m free.”(Anne Frank)

Did you read herdiary or have you seen the Anne Frank House? What impression did it have on you?

Other unmissable sights in Amsterdam: From Flora to Fauna: Artis Zoo and Boat Trip on the Canals of Amsterdam. If you’re interested in doing a day trip from the city, I recommend checking out The Keukenhof Experience or 7 Awesome Things to do in Muiden.

13 Responses to “The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

  • I read it years ago when I was a student. This makes me want to read it again.

  • I remember the visit to the Anne Frank House was chilling and haunting, worth the one hour wait. I haven’t read the book yet, I haven’t even watched the dvd I bought from the museum shop, but I need to change this soon 🙂

    • Same here! It’s a very interesting museum and the mix of feelings you get from it is just unique. You should read the book, I think you’d really like it 🙂

  • I went to Anne’s house, the place is well made and i could really imagine the conditions she experienced

  • A very good book about World War II and the Holocaust from a Jewish child’s perspective is “Wartime Lies” by Louis Begley. It’s semi-autobiographical, but was written 50 years later, so it’s linguistically more refined.

    And then there is of course “Jacob the Liar” by Jurek Becker, maybe the only book by a Holocaust survivor that can make you laugh and cry and laugh again from one page to the next.

    • Noted. Thanks for the recommendations 🙂 PS. I wanted to recommend to you a Hungarian book written by Szerb Antal called “Journey by Moonlight”. I tried to find it in print for you in English but couldn’t. But it can be found online, and I know you hate to read from your laptop. Maybe you can print it 😀

      • Oh yes, this sounds not only like a very good book, but also very fitting for me. Thank you!

        I found English and German paperback editions on Amazon, so I won’t need to start the press myself. 🙂

      • Today, I picked up “Journey by Moonlight” from post office no. 7. Thank you for the recommendation!

        The Gutenberg bookstore on Piata Trandafirilor even had the German translation in stock, but when I discovered it, a friend had already ordered the English edition for my birthday.

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Travels of 2015 | CityoftheWeek :

    […] sister Reka and her husband Amine, who currently live in Amsterdam. While there, we went to the Anne Frank House, the Zoo, the Botanical Gardens and also visited the awesome small town of Muiden and the stunning […]

    6 years ago

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