The Anne Frank House is a museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, who hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the building. As well as the preservation of the hiding place — known in Dutch as the Achterhuis — and an exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, the museum acts as an exhibition space to highlight all forms of persecution and discrimination. The building was opened as a museum to the public in 1960.

The house — and the one next door at number 265, which was later purchased by the museum — was built by Dirk van Delft in 1635. The canal-side facade dates from a renovation of 1740 when the rear annex was demolished. It was originally a private residence, then a warehouse, and in the nineteenth century, the front warehouse with its wide stable-like doors was used to house horses. At the start of the 20th century a manufacturer of household appliances occupied the building, succeeded in 1930 by a producer of piano rolls, who vacated the property by 1939. On 1 December 1940 Anne's father Otto Frank moved the offices of the spice and gelling companies he worked for, Opekta and Pectacon, from an address on Singel canal to Prinsengracht 263.

The ground floor consisted of three sections; the front was the goods and dispatch entrance, behind it in the middle section were the spice mills, and at the rear, which was the ground floor of the annex, was the warehouse where the goods were packed for distribution. On the first floor above were the offices of Frank's employees; Miep Gies, Bep Voskuijl and Johannes Kleiman in the front office; Victor Kugler in the middle; with Otto Frank in the rear office above the warehouse and below the floors which would later hide him and his family for two years until their betrayal to the Nazi authorities.

The Achterhuis or Secret Annex — as it was called in The Diary of a Young Girl, an English translation of the diary — is the rear extension of the building. It was concealed from view by houses on all four sides of a quadrangle. Its secluded position made it an ideal hiding place for Otto Frank, his wife Edith, two daughters (of whom Anne was the younger), and four other Jewish people seeking refuge from Nazi persecution. Though the total amount of floor space in the inhabited rooms came to only about 46 m2, Anne Frank wrote in her diary that it was relatively luxurious compared to other hiding places they had heard about. They remained hidden here for two years and one month until they were anonymously betrayed to the Nazi authorities, arrested, and deported to their deaths in concentration camps. Of the hidden group, only Otto Frank survived the concentration death camps.

After those in hiding were arrested, the hiding place was cleared by order of the arresting officers and all the remaining contents (clothes, furniture, and personal belongings) of the Frank family and their friends were seized and distributed to bombed-out families in Germany. Before the building was cleared, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, who had helped hide the families, returned to the hiding place against the orders of the Dutch police and rescued some personal effects. Amongst the items they retrieved was The Diary of Anne Frank.

After Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam, he was given Anne's diaries and papers, and subsequently compiled selections into a book published in Dutch in 1947 under the title Het Achterhuis, which Anne had chosen as the name of a future memoir or novel based on her experiences in hiding. Achterhuis is a Dutch architectural term referring to a Back-house (used comparatively with Voorhuis meaning Front-house), however when the English translation began production it was realised that many English-speaking readers might not be familiar with the term, and it was decided that a more evocative term (the 'Secret Annexe') would better convey the building's hidden position.

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Founded: 1960
Category: Industrial sites in Netherlands

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Visar Aliu (2 years ago)
Wonderful museum! Make sure to get the tickets in advance. I was lucky enough on getting the the day of. Had to check the website since 8:00AM. You have to be quick with refresh button! 20% Day of tickets go very fast. The lady at the door was nice enough to allow us early entrance so we can make our flight back! We spent 1h30min at the museum. Make sure to bring your own headphones. Very well presented museum. Worth the money. Great memory.
Tracey Smith (2 years ago)
Worth a visit, very interesting and moving, very busy these days and can only be booked on line either two months before your visit or take a chance on the day to see if you can get tickets when they release them at 9am which is what we did. Just a warning if you are no good with stairs this is not the place for you, the museum is over 4 floors and although there have been many improvements, to keep the place authentic there are a couple of small narrow staircases. The museum itself is set up well and you have a audio guided tour which is in various languages, which has some really interesting added information about life in the flats and what happened from day to day and what these poor families had to endure. If you are in Amsterdam I would recommend a visit......
Christie Schunk (2 years ago)
What an important museum. Well maintained and organized for the amount you pay. Audio guides are given in many languages. I would advise you to bring headphones to plug into your audio guide and make it more comfortable to listen and walk around. The cafe had limited seating but was a lovely view to look out for a moment after the tour was over.
Jane Ku (2 years ago)
After reading the book I was really looking forward to the visit. I really think the Anne Frank House is amazing. It transfers the story of her life really well. BUT BE AWARE!!! You have to get tickets online now. I would have loved to visit it at my latest trip too but the tickets were booked our way in advance.
Josh L (2 years ago)
An incredible insight into Anna Franks life in hiding. With an eye opening audio tour and beautiful kept interior you are truly immersed in the living condition they were subjected to during their time in the hiding place. The most powerful moment was hearing about her innocent want - to be a journalist - and how something so sinister came from something so pure.
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