'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 20 September 2020

Bookish Places: Anne Frank House

Statue of Anne Frank, Amsterdam (Photo: Sarah Steed)

The Kids' Book Review Bookish Places posts are a chance to celebrate museums, galleries and other places with a connection to children's literature and reading. The posts are compiled by KBR's Consultant Librarian, Sarah Steed, our intrepid traveller and hunter-gatherer of amazing places!

On a street in Amsterdam stands a statue of a young girl. Her name is Anne Frank and she wanted to be a writer. She would probably have been astonished that with the posthumous publication of her diary, her writing has been read by millions of people and her story known all around the world.

Not far from the statue, on Prinsengracht 263-267, is Anne Frank House (Anne Frank Huis). Its entry is at Westermarkt 20, 1016 DK Amsterdam.

This is a museum and the actual place where Anne Frank lived hidden in isolation with her sister, parents, and another family for two years during World War II. They were Jewish and went into hiding in 1942, when Anne was thirteen years old. In August 1944 they were found and deported to a concentration camp, where all but Anne’s father died.

During her two years in hiding, Anne kept a diary which was later published as The Diary of a Young Girl, and as The Diary of Anne Frank.

Anne Frank House lets you listen to stories, watch videos, view personal objects, and reflect on Anne’s life and experiences. Her original diary is on display.

Planning your visit to Anne Frank House is important. Tickets to enter are only available online and must be bought in advance for a specific time and date. It’s also important to note that there are many steep stairs, and to be aware that photography of any kind is not allowed.

Your visit to Anne Frank House will start in the museum through which you can explore the world and Anne’s life with her family before they went into hiding. Listen to memories and see photographs, including those of Anne over a period of seven years, before and during the war, showing her growing up.

Next is the Secret Annexe, the part of the building where Anne and her family hid. The journey through it begins at the bookshelf behind which is a hidden doorway to enter the Annexe. The stairs that lead from it to the small rooms at the top are steep. You can still see pictures stuck on the walls, and mark recording Anne’s height growth.

On leaving the Annexe you’ll return to the museum and further exhibitions.

It’s an emotional experience to visit Anne Frank House. The reality of Anne’s life and death, and time in hiding, will leave a lasting impression.

Near the end of the museum is a video called ‘Reflections’, in which people reflect on Anne and what her story means to them. Amongst them is actress Emma Thompson, who is quoted as saying:
‘The only thing we have to remember is all her would-haves are our real possibilities. All her would-haves are our opportunities.’
It’s a poignant reminder for everyone to life life fully.

Interested in taking a Bookish Places trip around the world with Sarah? Enjoy this sensational map, also created by Sarah, and check out our other Bookish Places posts here.