The Anne Frank Huis (House) is one of the most popular museums or sights to see in Amsterdam. Buy timed tickets online in advance or queue up in the afternoon.
The Anne Frank story is well-known worldwide making a visit to the house in Amsterdam where she and her family hid from the German occupiers during the Second World War one of the most popular sites to visit in Holland. For many visitors, visiting the Anne Frank Huis is almost a pilgrimage while others are disappointed by the long queues, crowded interior, and rather bare displays. Buying a timed e-ticket is almost essential to visit the Anne Frank House on busy days and even during quieter periods, visitors turning up without a ticket should expect very long waits with no guarantee of admission.
The Diary of Anne Frank in Amsterdam
Anne Frank was a German-born Jewish girl who famously wrote a diary of the months she and her family hid from the German occupiers in a small annex to her father’s business in Amsterdam. Het Achterhuis – literally, the house behind but usually translated as the annex – was behind the factory at Prinzengracht 263 (Prince’s Canal).
The Frank family and a few friends stayed in hiding from July 6, 1942 until their betrayal on August 4, 1944. With the exception of the father Otto Frank, all hiding in the annex died in concentration camps. Anne Frank died in Bergen-Belsen in March 1945.
Miep Gies, one of the Dutch helpers of the Frank family, discovered Anne Frank’s diary and after the war, Otto Frank decided to have it published as Het Achterhuis in 1947. The Diary of Anne Frank has since received worldwide fame making the Anne Frank Huis one of the most popular literary-historic sights to see in Europe. Annually, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam receives well over a million visitors.
The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam
Visitors to the Anne Frank House enter the museum through a modern side building and move mostly in single file through the various rooms. The queues outside the museum are thus basically continuing once inside with the added inconvenience that it is hard to read and follow displays with other visitors constantly pushing and shoving even if done unintentionally. Fortunately the museum brochure, available in many languages and online, is comprehensive and worth studying while moving to further rooms.
Displays, models, photos, and videos inside the former factory and adjacent buildings explain the story of Anne Frank and the circumstances surrounding her life and times. A scale model show the annex furnished.
Visitors enter the annex itself via the famous movable bookcase and see the rooms of the hiding place. The rooms are unfurnished with a few personal items still on display, e.g. the map on which the family followed the progress of the allied invasion, the growth lines of the children on the wall, photos, and pictures Anne used to decorate her room.
Anne Frank’s original diary, notebooks, and other sheets of paper with her notes are seen on the way out in a modern display room with examples of the diary published in many other languages.
Criticism of the Anne Frank House Museum
The main criticisms of the Anne Frank House are the long queues to get in, the lack of visitors’ facilities, the crowds inside, and the rather bare rooms. All of these criticisms are valid to some extend. However, the crowds and queues should not be a surprise for a sight so popular and physically small.
The decision to keep the rooms in the annex empty and unfurnished was consciously made by Otto Frank to respect and remind that the others did not return after the war. It would hardly have been possible to move visitors through the annex if the rooms were furnished – it was a hiding place not a palace with service corridors.
A further criticism is that the Anne Frank Museum does not clearly explain the story of Anne Frank and her circumstances. It is true that the excellent museum website with a 3D model of the house and annex does a better job than the museum itself.
Visitors’ who studied this model with many interactive features will easier understand the layout of the building. It is also a fun way to prepare children for a visit to the house itself. Following the story, events, and the videos is much easier on the website rather than inside the crowded museum.
Visiting the Anne Frank House remains very interesting but if queues are very long, or the main interest is in Second World War related Dutch history, it may well be more sensible to visit the Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum).
Tickets and Admission to the Anne Frank House
Ticket prices for the museum, if bought at the Anne Frank House, are €9 for adults, €4.50 for children 10 to 17, and free for children under 10 (but they must be included when buying tickets). The Museumkaart (Dutch Museums Card) is valid but the I Amsterdam Card not.
The only sensible way to visit the Anne Frank Huis is with a timed e-ticket bought from the Anne Frank Museum. Museumkaart holders and children can also buy tickets here – and it is a very sensible 50-cent investment. All online tickets have a service fee of €0.50 per ticket.
From May 2016, the Anne Frank Museum is open from 9 am to 15:30 for online ticket holders only and from 15:30 to closing times for tickets bought at the museum only. Online tickets are available two months in advance but during the high season sell out very fast.
Many Anne Frank tours are offered in Amsterdam but these are of the neighborhood she lived in, the musical, etc. and does not include admission to the Anne Frank House. The museum sells tickets only to individuals and not to resellers or group tours.
If online tickets are no longer available for the intended day of visit, think twice about visiting at all. The entrance will be locked around half an hour before the museum closing time irrespective of the length of the queue still waiting outside. Also, keeping space in the line for a group, especially when getting closer to the front or nearer closing time, is not allowed.
The Anne Frank Museum is at Prinzengracht 263-267 – the actual Anne Frank Huis is at 263.
Anne Frank House Museum Opening Hours
The Anne Frank Museum is open daily from 9 am. From November to March, the museum closes at 7 pm (9pm on Saturdays) and from April to October it closes at 10 pm. The museum is closed on Yom Kippur (30 September in 2017) with opening hours shorter (or longer) on some other major vacation days.
The Anne Frank House has no cloakroom or coin lockers. Small backpacks may be carried by hand but buggies and any larger bags may not be taken into the museum building.
Some staircases inside the museum are extremely steep even for visitors who otherwise have little difficulty walking or negotiation regular stairs.
The Anne Frank Huis itself is not accessible to wheelchair users, although the newer sections of the museum are.
Photography is not allowed inside the Anne Frank House or the newer museum sections.
A walking route leads from the Anne Frank House via amongst others the Jewish Cultural Quarter (with Portuguese Synagogue) to the excellent Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum). The brochure Persecution and resistance in Amsterdam(with map) is available for a nominal amount at the Anne Frank House or at the Resistance Museum.