Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Walk to Visit the Anne Frank Huis In Amsterdam

After a short nap, we left the hotel with map in hand, having been steered in the right direction by the concierge. The Westerkerk (Protestant Church in the Netherlands) has the highest church spire in the city, and Paige used that spire to direct us. The Anne Frank House sits directly behind the beautiful church building. I wish I'd known at the time of our visit that Rembrandt van Rijn is buried in the Westerkirk Church.I did know that Anne mentioned the spire and bells as a source of comfort, but I was shocked at how close the church and the hiding place were.

A typical Amsterdam view as we walked to the Anne Frank Huis.

We weren't the only ones out that day. Beware the bicycles. They are everywhere.

We turned the corner and met the queue. No waiting in line in Europe--it's the queue. Queue up!

A closer view of 263 Prisengracht Canal . At its rear is the Secret Annex. 

The canal in front of the museum   (photo via www.scrapbookpages.com)

Another photo I took later as we walked. We were so happy the rain had stopped so we could take some pictures.

I think this was a view across the street from the side of  Westerkerk. Sometimes when you cross the road, there's a bike lane, a tram lane, a bus lane... It can get confusing.

The Westerkerk is a gorgeous building and the final resting place for genius, Rembrandt van Rijn. The Secret Annex is directly behind it and ever so close.
  photo via Wikipedia Commons

The sun came out for a few minutes after our time at the Anne Frank Huis.

The Anne Frank Huis is a museum located at 263 Prisengracht Canal. In 1940, Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father, moved the offices of his companies to that address. In a courtyard at the rear of the building is the Secret Annex where Anne Frank's Jewish Family and four others hid from Nazi persecution. They moved to the annex on July 6, 1942 and lived there until they were discovered by the Germans on August 4, 1944. Of the eight that hid there, only Otto Frank, survived the war.

In her book, The Diary of Anne Frank, the young writer reveals honestly, from her perspective, what life in the hiding place was like. I've read the book four times, once within the last year or so. It's on my Top Ten Favorite Books of All Time list.

The Diary is on display at the museum   
photo by Rodrigo Galindez via Wikimedia Commons

Anne's Diary

Visitors who have read the book before visiting the museum will definitely benefit. The crowds and the queues affect the whole atmosphere. One reviewer on www.trip advisor.com stated, and I agree, that because of the crowds a visit becomes more of a pilgrimage than a museum visit. I found it was best to visit with low expectations, then go to a quiet place later and reflect on what I'd seen. For me, it was marvelous to become a witness with my own eyes and see what I'd read about for years. Fascinating and sobering.

A statue of Anne Frank in Amsterdam, near the Westerkerk

If you have read the book, but haven't had a chance to visit the museum there are opportunities for online virtual tours, and it'll be without the crowds:
The official museum site is @ http://www.annefrank.org/

There are other easier-to-view tours on youtube, but some of the comments left by viewers are so atrocious I couldn't post the links here. Tours abound online, and I even found a short video of real-life Anne Frank before her imprisonment.


The Prude said...

Thank you Lori, for treating this place with such restraint and respect. A good visit again. Isn't it hard to believe evil could come calling in such a lovely city?

Robin J. Steinweg said...

Your photos are marvelous--I mean the ones you took yourself--not only the others.

I appreciate your narration, too.

Europeans have the queue down to a science. Have you noticed that we Americans don't queue well at all? Half the time when I step up to a counter, there are people milling about, but when I obediently step up, they take offense. Now, I ask you--when someone is 6 feet behind and off several feet to the side of the person at the counter (and looking off in a different direction to boot), how are you supposed to know they're in line?

Robin J. Steinweg said...

Oh, and don't even get me started on bikes!

Joanie said...

What a privilege to visit Anne Frank's hide-out. It was a very memorable book.