If we look at the world’s history, and the 20th century, in particular, we will come across many heroes. Some used their guns, some used their voice and others used their pen. Although she might not come first to mind when thinking about the heroes of the 20th century, Anne Frank is most definitely on this distinguished list.
In this blog post, we will cover different aspects regarding Anne Frank’s life but mostly focus on its influence on Amsterdam and the entire world. We will talk about the Anne Frank House and other Jewish sights and attractions in Amsterdam. We will not go in too deep on all the factual details of her life -if you want to read about that I suggest you go to Wikipedia. But to give you a short summary anyway here is some background information (in case you did not already know) to begin with.
Short summary of Anne Frank’s life
- Annelies Marie Frank was born on June 12th, 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany to Otto Frank and Edith Frank-Holländer. She was the youngest of two children and was raised as a liberal Jew. Which means she did not take part in all of the Jewish customs and traditions.
- After Hitler’s Nazi party won elections in 1933, Anne’s father feared what would happen to his family if they stayed in Frankfurt. Anne’s father was offered work in Amsterdam and in time he and his family moved to Amsterdam. Anne was about 5 years old at the time.
- For her 13th birthday, her father gave Anne an autograph book with a small lock on the front. He decided that Anne would use the book as a diary and she began writing.
- In July 1942 Anne’s older sister Margot received a letter from the Central Office for Jewish Emigration that she was ordered to report for relocation to a work camp. Anne’s father decided she would do no such thing and they went into hiding above and behind the rooms of Anne’s father his workplace, where trusted employees would help hide them.
- Eventually, they were betrayed and Anne was transported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she died of typhus just weeks before the camp was liberated in 1945.
Anne Frank House
- Anne wrote all her feelings and experiences during her hiding in her diary. Otto Frank was the only survivor of the Frank family. He and one of his former helpers, Miep Gies -who lived to see her 100th birthday (yeah talk about good Karma), were able to publish Anne’s diary. The Diary of a Young Girl became an absolute bestseller and was well received all over the world.
- On May 3rd, 1960 the Anne Franka House was opened in central Amsterdam at the Prinsengracht (near the Wester tower). The Anne Frank House is a writer’s house and biographical museum dedicated to the now called: Jewish wartime diarist, Anne Frank. It preserves the hiding place and actual diary, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination. The Anne Frank House is open 7 days a week from 09.00 – 22.00 h.
- Ever since its opening in 1960, the Anne Frank House has been a huge success. Locals, as well as tourists from all over the world, come to visit and pay homage to this courage’s young girl who had to endure the hard times of a Jew during World War 2.
- The Anne Frank House is rated as the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum. A lot of schools take a mandatory trip to the Anne Frank House, as part of Dutch History lessons.
- It will not come to you as a surprise that the queues at the Anne Frank House are often very long and sometimes even go around the corner. Unfortunately, you will not be able to find Anne Frank House tickets anywhere else but at the Anne Frank House itself. The best time to visit the Anne Frank House is either before 12.00 or after 18.00 h.
- Sometimes the Anne Frank House is referred to as the Anne Frank Museum. To help eliminate all misunderstandings, this is one and the same. So also for Anne Frank Museum tickets, you will have to be at the Anne Frank House (or their website).
Amsterdam’s Jewish Cultural Quarter
Amsterdam has a quarter, the Jewish Cultural Quarter, dedicated to the Jewish community, their history & culture. The tragic that took place during World War 2 is shown in the form of events and exhibitions. The Jewish Cultural Quarter exists of:
- Jewish Historical Museum
- Portuguese Synagogue
- National Holocaust Memorial
- Jewish Historical Museum for children
In this district you will learn everything there is to know about Jew people, their experience during the Holocaust and their legacy.
At Tours & Tickets, there are unfortunately no tickets available with regards to the Anne Frank House. Tours & Tickets does sell Jewish Cultural Quarter tickets, with a nice discount.
Anne Frank’s influence on Amsterdam and the entire world
World War 2 obviously has had a great influence on Amsterdam. The diary of Anne Frank is one of the key elements used to explain the horrors of the Holocaust at schools. In Amsterdam (and most parts of the western world) you will not find a local who has not learned about Anne Frank in their school days. In 1975 Anne Frank received a special monument near the Western church. Which is visited daily by dozens of people. In the former Jewish quarter there is an actual street named after her. Also, the Montessori school (which she was forced to leave because she was Jewish) is now named after her.
In 1999 Time magazine published a special edition titled; Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century. And Anne Frank was mentioned as one of these iconic figures. Over the years many other iconic figures have paid homage to Anne Frank. World leaders such as Hillary Clinton and Nelson Mandela used references of Anne Frank in several speeches.