Monday, July 13th ~ Amsterdam
Everyone had warned us about the LONG lines to get into the Anne Frank House. Our hotel encouraged us to go first thing in the morning or suffer the consequences which would probably translate into waiting in line for 3-4 hours.
They officially open at 9:00 every morning, so we thought that arriving by 8:30 would be OK. Our friendly concierge advised us to go earlier, so we were IN LINE by 8:00, a full hour before opening time.
And I am so glad we listened as 75-100 people were already queued up when we arrived.
Tim had read on-line that it was not uncommon for them to open a little early, and true to form, at 8:40 the line began to move and by 9:00 we had progressed enough to enter the building to buy our ticket.
Just FYI, there are toilets available inside, just past the ticket office. No photography is allowed inside.
The Anne Frank House is a museum, as well as the actual place where Anne wrote her now famous diary while hidden in the upper floors during the Second World War.
The office/home is relatively small. It is empty and devoid of any furnishing. There is no “tour” per se, but instead we stayed in an orderly line for a set route, weaving along room by room, taking in the recorded videos and reading the numerous written messages that covered many of the walls.
This is the location where Anne, her older sister Margo, their parents (Otto and Edith), and four other jews were hidden and kept safe from the German’s starting on July 6th, 1942.
Anne had received a diary with a red checkered cover for her 13th birthday and she took it with her. The actual diary is on display near the end of the tour.
They remain in hiding until they were betrayed, and arrested on August 4th, 1944, just over two years later. The eight former inhabitants of the Secret Annexe were all deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps. Of the eight, only Otto (Anne’s father) survived.
Two of the “helpers” who had provided food for the eight, found Anne’s diary and kept it safe. In 1945, Otto returns to Amsterdam, learns that none of his family survived. The diary is given to him.
Otto Frank finds a publisher and in 1947, the diary is published for the first time in The Netherlands.
This was obviously a very short version of the story. If you have never read the diary, I recommend doing so. You can get it on Amazon by clicking here.
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Today was hotel moving day. I am going to miss our cozy room at the Die Port van Cleve Hotel. I would give it high marks for location, friendly and helpful staff. They made an effort to assist us with planning each days activities, gave helpful tips regarding how to get there and the best way to avoid wasting time waiting in lines.
The location is fabulous – 5-10 minute walking distance from Central Amsterdam train station, right across the street from Dam Square, 6 minute walk to Anne Frank House, and the tram stop is right in front of the hotel.
They have a strong no smoking policy which I appreciate. We were fortunate to have been given room #221 which has one of only two balconies that overlook the main boulevard. If you are overly sensitive to street noises, you may not want this room, but for us it was a bonus to look out onto the church and Royal Palace of Dam Square.
The internet was recently redone, and works well now. Refrigerator and a safe in the room that was large enough to hold our laptops. I was able to do my blog posts and upload pictures with a reasonable fast and free service. The breakfast buffet was filling, tasty and more than adequate.
My one small complaint, is that the shower was just OK. Plenty of hot water and average water pressure, but for some reason the shower curtain had been folded in half and put on the rod that way which resulted in only 1/2 of the shower/tub being covered. It made it more challenging than it should have been to get a proper shower. I’m also not a big fan of hand-held shower heads, but that is more a personal preference, and they are common in Europe.
We ventured out via the tram system with our luggage to move to our next hotel where we joined our Gate 1 tour group.
Gate 1 has selected the Ramada Apollo for this date, however I believe that other departures use a different hotel. The Ramada was formerly a bank and was only a few years ago remodeled and turned into a hotel. The room is comfortable, spacious, has a small sitting sofa/nook in the corner with a decent view of the city. We are in an end/corner room #1528 with nice large windows that let in good light. Nice perk – there is an iron and board in the room.
It is disappointing to be out so far from the heart of the city. Granted it is easy to hop on the tram to get anywhere, it is just a shame for those just arriving to not be able to simply walk out the door to explore the highlights of Amsterdam.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful that places such as the Anne Frank House have been preserved so that we and generations to follow can see and learn from the past. I hope that as we progress as a civilization we will eliminate hatred and prejudices.
How lucky you were to be able to visit the Anne Frank House! I too am glad that places like that were preserved so that we can learn from our past. I just love Anne Frank- her story is so touching and how she managed to stay positive in a time of fear and hatred is really inspiring. Great post and hope you have a wonderful day! 🙂
Hi Shannon! I am so inspired by you. At 14 years old, you seem wise beyond your years. I love that you have already figured out how important it is to concentrate on the positive aspects of our lives. And YES, all of us working together can and are making a difference. Big hugs, Joanne
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love the pics from there; your hotel looks amazing & sooo glad you visited Anne’s house..many of us would love to do that also. thks again for the posts; always enjoy them; love you 2!!!
The museum is sobering and inspiring, isn’t it. We visited last November. It’s hard to imagine hiding for so long. I hadn’t appreciated that young non Jewish Dutch men were “seconded” to Germany to help with their war effort. Have you seen any “struikelstenen”, the small brass cobblestone sized plaques on the pavements, memorials to victims of the Holocaust?
No, that term is new to me. I’ll have to inquire about the struikelstenen today. Thank you for mentioning them.
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The Anne Frank Museum has long been on my list of places to visit. I have long been moved by her story. Looks like a wonderful hotel too – in the heart of it all!
I hope that you too get to mark this off your list. I can certainly recommend the Die Port Van Cleve Hotel for your stay when you get there 🙂
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You are so lucky to see and tour the house where Anne Frank lived during the Nazi occupation. Wish I could do the same thing. It is such a sad story on her life as well as other Jewish people during that time in History. Thanks for Posting.
Les, you are right, it is a very sad story, but one I am so thankful that Anne put into her diary. I think people the world over could learn a valuable lessen from her.
I had the opportunity to visit the Anne Frank house a few weeks after reading her diary for the first time in 2014. As you said, I was fully expecting the crowds, and therein lies the problem. While it’s admirable that so many people want to visit this place (and they should), it’s that same large number that takes away from an intimate, emotional experience. It’s hard to really get a feel for what it was like for Anne and the others when you’re on a one-way line with 30 people in the same small room as you at any given moment. Would you agree? Nevertheless, it was a tremendous honor to be there, and you can’t leave without having learned something about humanity or, like Anne herself, a little bit of hope.
I do agree with you that having fewer people would have made it a more authentic experience. That said, I was still very impressed with the way the house was organized that allowed so many to be able to at least get an idea of what life was like for Anne and her family as they hid from sight for two years.