Anne

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I have never read her diary but I knew the general idea of her story so as I struggled to figure out where I wanted to go in the city the Anne Frank House was the only ticket I pre bought. At the I Amsterdam store in the Airport where I bought the two day transit pass I was also able to purchase a ticket that allowed me to bypass the line up as long as I arrived at 8:30 pm the next night. The rather strange instructions at the time were to walk past the line and go and ring the bell at the door.

I arrived at the museum a little early and thinking that the instructions seemed a little odd I waited to see what other people did. There is a sign beside a rather plain green door that says quite simply Anne Frank Huis and interestingly enough there does seem to be a door bell there…. but no one was ringing it. There were many people who took their pictures there but no one went in.

After a few minutes I did finally decide to go up to the area near the line only to see that in fact there was a different bell to ring which brought a very serious / somber man who would let you in at the exact time on your ticket. When I finally got in he searched my bag, informed me that no photos allowed and then directed me on.

The museum itself has now taken over quite a few of the surrounding houses and at times it is a little hard to know if you are in the actual house or not but as you climb higher it becomes more obvious. One big factor are the stair cases of the upper floors which go straight up and reminded me of walking around on a ship. According to one exhibit Otto Frank had insisted that the rooms remain without any furnishings when the museum was created. I am not sure why he wanted that but I don’t think that the rooms would be big enough to support the millions of visitors a year that go through if there was stuff in the way. The one thing that is very telling are the sections of preserved walls that were decorated by the Franks. There were many pictures of people either from the family or famous people of the time but the one thing that still stands out to me was the map that was being made at the time that was tracking the advance of the Allies after D-Day.

As you come to the end of the museum you are presented with information and stories from Otto Frank, Classmates of Anne who survived the war and of people who have visited the museum. There are many people talking about how much of a hero she was but in fact it was the video clip of John Green that seemed to capture my thoughts. One of the artifacts at the end of the tour is a book with all of the names of people taken from the Netherlands and it was huge. I’m not sure that I would describe her as a hero, rather a strong girl who had the hopes and dreams of us all. It was her diary that gives a face to the horrible loss of events of that time.

I had thought that it was fitting that this would be the last thing I do in the city but now I am not so sure. The experience has had a bigger impact than I thought it would and I am leaving the city in strange mood. Current events are very troubling to me with the U.K. leaving the EU, the current success of Donald Trump and the obvious boiling point in race relations that are within the USA and a little in Canada as well, it is scary to think we may not have progress as far as we would like.

The city itself busy and bustling at all times and just about anything you would like to do is on offer here. The volume of people took some getting used to and the simple reminder that in Europe 4 right (or left) turns do not simply bring you back to the same place was a quick lesson relearned after getting lost once. That said I haven’t had enough time to do it all and will definitely come back some time soon, in fact if you are planning a trip here give me a call, I would love to tag along!

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One comment

  1. The first time I visited the Anne Frank Huis was in 2007. I too had not read her diary at that point but visited anyway. On the way out, I purchased a copy of it and set off to Vondelpark where I sat and read it cover to cover. It’s amazing how you can see a young woman grow from a child so quickly and in such conditions simply through her adolescent thoughts penned in a diary. Five years later, I returned to Amsterdam and went back to the Anne Frank Huis. It was a completely different experience after having read her diary and knowing her struggles and frustrations while living there. If you ever go back, give her diary a read and visit again. You will feel much more connected to all of their lives there.

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