Centrum, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands, Europe.
Juan Carlos Muñoz/age fotostock
One powerful and emotional experience in Amsterdam that shouldn’t be missed is a visit to the Anne Frank House. This home, where Anne Frank wrote in her diary while she, her family, and four others hid from the Nazis during World War II, has been preserved as a historic site. Today it also features a museum with artifacts and exhibits about her diary and what happened to her—she and her loved ones were ultimately betrayed and captured—as well as the larger worldwide context in which her brief life took place.
The Anne Frank House
If you are in Amsterdam, you must visit the Anne Frank House, which is located on the Prinsengracht Canal. It was in this “Secret Annex” that the young Anne Frank wrote her world-famous diary while hiding in occupied Holland.
Visitors are allowed to visit almost all rooms in the cramped annex, where eight people hid for two years (1942-1944), bravely assisted by four of Otto Frank’s employees. It is a stirring, solemn, thought-provoking experience. Buy your tickets online - it will allow you to bypass the blocks-long line and enter immediately through a side door.
After visiting the house, stroll through the pretty streets surrounding the Prinsengracht Canal. Anne Frank’s old neighborhood has developed into an upscale area with inviting cafes and boutiques.
Main sights include the Westerkerk Church (above, whose ringing bells were mentioned in Anne’s diary) and the Nine Streets shopping district.
I expected to do and see a lot of things while in Amsterdam, one of them being visiting the Anne Frank House and museum. The museum features exhibitions but more importantly walks you through the Secret Annex where Anne Frank, her family and others hid from the Nazis during the occupation in WWII. It is now preserved to tell their story and promote tolerance. While all of that is admirable and powerful on its own, I found it hard not to be shaken by the spirit of the young girl who wrote in her diary, which I read in high school, imagining a better world and a better mankind.