A visit to the Anne Frank House is, we think, a must for every visitor to Amsterdam. It's quite frankly one of the biggest attractions in the city. Not exactly a hidden gem. However, it's such a special place that it should be on every one's list. And with this post, we'll make your experience extra special.
Enrich your Anne Frank house experience
We highly recommend that you spend half a day to a full day around this little girl's life. Below you'll find suggestions for things to do to enhance your experience at the house later in the day.
You'll also learn HOW to visit the Anne Frank House. Because getting a ticket is not as straightforward as it is for other attractions. It's in the top 10 list of mistakes first-time visitors to Amsterdam make. However, this won't happen to you if you read this post.
Day itinerary for an in-depth Anne Frank experience
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Below are the activities we would recommend if you can spend a full day around the theme of Anne Frank in Amsterdam. If you are short on time, you can, of course, pick and choose. Just click on the links below to jump straight to the activity or read the full article and discover the thing(s) that sparks your interest the most.
1. Anne Frank Walking Tour
A guided Anne Frank walking tour is a great option to start your day. It will make it that much easier to put yourself into Anne's footsteps.
How was life in Amsterdam before and after the Nazi's came? What was it like to resist the Nazi's in this city? What risks did people take by helping others?
She was also just a girl, what was her personal life like? Where did she live, play, and went to school, after she fled Germany, and before she went into hiding?
It's questions like these that will bring the story to life, put it into the right perspective, and make it more tangible.
Because of that, we really think it's smart to start the day with this 2-hour tour in the area where she spent her childhood. And learn about her life from the moment she moved to Amsterdam until she went into hiding. Together with a knowledgeable guide, you'll also see important war monuments.
The purpose of this walk is not to enjoy the beautiful sites of Amsterdam. On the contrary, the tour is meant to get a glimpse into a girl's ordinary daily life from a historical perspective. Right before all the horrors of World War II unfolded.
It will give you more food for thought when you get to the back rooms of the house.
Pro and Cons walking tour
A private walking tour
You can also opt for a private Anne Frank walking tour, which is another excellent option for a guided walking tour in the privacy of your own group (or just yourself).
With a private walking tour, it will be just you and the tour guide. A tour like this will allow for some customization. It will give you more one on one time with the tour guide. Plus you won't be bothered by strangers in the group :-).
TIP: WINKEL 43
Make a stop at Winkel 43, a cafe on the Noordermarkt. Here you'll get a piece of the best apple pie in the city, at least in our opinion.
And we're not alone. On Saturdays, the line is usually far into the street.
2. The Anne Frank House itself
After the walking tour, it's a great time to go the house itself. With the stories fresh in your mind, it's a perfect time to see the house for yourself.
Why visit the Anne Frank House?
The Anne Frank House is one of the most well-known things to do in Amsterdam, together with the Rijks- and the Van Gogh Museum. And it should be.
It's quite something to suddenly stand in the actual rooms you know so well from her diary.
The experience is impressive and at the same time, accessible and relatable, it's not scary.
It's the story of a young girl in hiding during World War II. Anne Frank gave a face and a personality to the horrors of World War II. All through the lens of a child.
“To build up a future, you have to know the past..”
Photo: Jac. de Nijs, Nationaal Archief / Anefo
Getting tickets for the Anne Frank House
Buying admission for the Anne Frank House is the number one problem most visitors face. You have to know how to get them. And we'll explain exactly how you can.
Remember, this was a family home, not a purpose build visitor center to accommodate the many visitors that come today.
There is NO ticket office in order to optimize the usage of space.
Tickets are ONLY available online and in advance
It's not possible to buy a ticket at the house itself. Only online and in advance. Those are the magic words: in advance and online.
Once on the website, you'll need to select a date and a time slot. This is to spread the flow of people. It's also a benefit to you because with your time slot you can get in much faster. PS: Making a reservation online also applies to pass holders.
Many people, unknowingly, show up without getting their tickets online first and are being sent away.
When do tickets become available?
Tickets are released exactly two months in advance. As you can imagine, popular time slots will go quickly. Therefore book them as soon as you can. Usually, especially off-season, you can get tickets (much) closer to your arrival date, especially if you're flexible with time. Don't despair yet if you're traveling on short notice.
What to do if tickets to the Anne Frank house are sold out?
If your time slot or date of choice is sold out, you are still, not yet, out of luck. Only 80% of the time slots get released in advance. The other 20% is made available on the day itself at 9 a.m local time.
Go online as close to 9 a.m as possible and look for today's tickets. You should still be able to find one.
What does a ticket to the Anne Frank Museum cost?
Please check the website for current prices. Also note that pass holders require an online time slot reservation. For this reservation, you'll still pay a small fee.
E-tickets on your smartphone are accepted. There is no need to print them in advance.
Note that luggage is NOT permitted. If you arrive with larger backpacks or suitcases, you'll be sent away, and you will lose your time slot/admission without a refund. Store your luggage at your hotel or at the train station.
For a small surcharge, you can participate in the optional introductory program before you enter the house. Buying this extra option is something we highly recommend. The program is available in English only.
Why should you opt-in for this? Because it helps again with putting everything into more perspective, and you'll have a much deeper understanding of what happened.
It's important to note that you can only add this program at the moment you purchase your regular ticket. You can not upgrade at a later point.
And as a final note, you won't be able to get a refund or exchange. If you've missed your time slot or you have booked the wrong date, you've lost your money. You'll have to purchase a new ticket, online. They will not re-book or change it when you arrive at the entrance.
How long does a visit take?
The recommended time for a regular visit by the museum is 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If you take the introductory program as well, your stay will take 30 minutes longer. Again we highly recommend this because it will set you up for a much better understanding of what you're about to experience.
Everybody is offered a complimentary audio tour. Please accept this, because again it will bring the story to life and there is no extra charge. The audio tour is available in different languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish).
Our experience is that 1 hour to 2 hours is accurate and enough time to see everything and take it all in.
How to get to the Anne Frank House?
The address is Prinsengracht 263. The entrance is just around the corner, at Westermarkt 20. It's a 20-minute walk from Amsterdam Central Station if that. Alternatively, you can take tram 13 or 17 and get off at the Westermarkt stop. Or take tram 2,11 or 12 and to Dam square.
What are the opening hours of the Anne Frank House museum?
The museum has long opening hours to accommodate the high volume of visitors that come each day. It opens daily at 9 a.m. It closes in high season (April 1st - November 1st) at 10 p.m. The rest of the year (from November 1st - April 1st) it closes at 7 p.m. except on Saturdays when it closes at 9 p.m.
Is the museum accessible?
As you might expect, this is not a great place to go if you have difficulties walking. It's an old private residence with many (steep) stairs and no room for an elevator.
The room where the family stayed was hidden. As you can imagine, there was no grand entrance. If you have difficulties walking, or climbing steep stairs this might be difficult or even impossible.
Visitors using a wheelchair can only go the new part, not the original house. For that reason, it's, in our opinion, not worth it to go if you are in a wheelchair.
In the new area you mainly find historical data, it's like an archive. That information is available online as well. Being in the original old house, the hiding room, going through the cabinet, in other words, following Anne Franks' footsteps, is what makes this such a special place.
If that is not possible for you, then the other recommendations in this article will be a much better choice.
3. The National Monument on Dam square
After your visit, we would go to the Resistance Museum.
It's a well set up museum where you'll learn more about those AMAZING people who tried to prevent precisely the horrible faith that awaited this little girl.
On your way, you'll pass the national monument on Dam square. That statue plays a significant role in Dutch culture, even today.
Every year on May 4th, at night, the royal family, many organizations, and survivors of war will lay wreaths of fresh flowers at the monument to remember the victims who have fallen to war. Not only those who have fallen during World War II but also in conflicts since.
It's aired on national television, the army orchestra will play music, and people (often youth) will read poems.
At 8 p.m. precisely, the national anthem stops playing, and life in the country comes to a complete halt. Quite literally.
On May 4th at 8 p.m. the Netherlands turns silent for two minutes. In respect of those who paid with their lives for our freedom. People pull over their cars on the freeways, sit in front of their television, and even airplanes stop moving at Schiphol Amsterdam airport.
If you happen to be in the city on May 4th, we highly recommend attending this ceremony in person. It's something you won't forget. It's free of charge. However, many people come to Dam square, so please get there early.
Also, don't take any large bags with you. You might not be allowed in. And please allow time for security.
If you can't make it in person, you can watch the entire ceremony on TV. It's on channel 1. The program will be in Dutch only. However, it will still be impressive to attend or watch.
But even if you're not here on May 4th, now you know what the monument represents and the meaning it has to the nation it's well worth to take a look any day of the year.
4. Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum)
Here you'll learn about the many heroes who cared for those who went into hiding. To keep them out of the hands of the Nazi's. And they did so at significant personal risk.
Plus the resistance not only helped those in need. They also tried to fight the Nazi's whichever way they could, like misleading them. You'll learn all about that here. The children's sections is especially impressive, also for us adults.
It's just amazing to see, even in the darkest of times, that humanity can still be good. It just goes to show that love prevails.
I (Gerjo) hold dear memories to this place. I was in primary school when I went with my class. I still remember how I felt, 30 something years ago. The sadness but also the belief that humans can be good. That how we act is a choice. And that caring for others is something to truly value. It was all engrained in that visit.
The museum is open daily. They only close on January 1st, Kings Day (April 27th), and December 25th.
Please check the website for current prices and opening hours. An audio tour is available to you free of charge.
The address is Plantage Kerklaan 61 in Amsterdam. To get there, you can take tram 14 from Central Station, stop 'Plantage Kerklaan' (Artis Zoo). Or it's a 2km, 30-minute walk from either central station or the Anne Frank House.
5. Hollandsche Schouwburg (Dutch Theater)
The name of this building implies like this was a fun place. A place for entertainment. And it was. It opened in 1892 as a theater to provide entertainment for the Jewish community in Amsterdam.
But in 1942, it became a deportation center for Jews. On this formerly festive spot, Jewish men, women, and children were gathered to await a transfer to a transit camp in country and then to the Nazi death camps. It never became a theater again.
Today the Dutch Theater is a Holocaust memorial, and it features a courtyard bearing an eternal flame and a permanent exhibition. The Holocaust memorial is free to access. For the Holocaust museum (across) the street you'll need a ticket (which is also valid for 4 other locations, see below)
The address is Middenlaan 24. It's a 3-minute walk from the Resistance Museum.
6. Jewish Historical Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue
We have to include the Jewish Historical Museum to this list as well. You're probably tired by now if you followed the whole itinerary. We suggest you'll do this one later in your trip. We would. Because
a ticket will not only give you entrance here but also to four other locations, all are worth exploring. Your experience will be better if you're rested and have time.
Your all-in-one pass is valid for these five locations: The Jewish Historical Museum, the Children's Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, and the National Holocaust Memorial & Museum for a period of 30 days (no rush).
The Portuguese Synagogue is striking, located in a 17th-century building, it's beautiful inside. The Jewish Children's Museum is about and for children. It's created for kids to learn more about Jewish life and traditions in an engaging way. The Jewish Historical Museum will give an inside in Jewish life in Holland, and the Holocaust museum tells the story of sorrow and death but also the story of courage and survival. It's located in a building where many Jews were smuggled to safety.
How to get here? Take metro lines 51, 53, and 54. Stop Waterlooplein. Exit "Nieuwe Amstelstraat" then it's just a 2-minute walk. Or take tram 14, stop "Waterlooplein." Alternatively, it's about a 30-minute walk from Central Station or the Anne Frank House.
All these locations are in the Jewish quarter and very close to each other.
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We hope this itinerary will help you get a deeper understanding of Anne Frank's life. And the Jewish community here in the Netherlands in general during WWII. We hope it made your day extra special. Have you used this itinerary? Or do have any questions? Please tell us about it in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!
Looking for other inspiring day trips to discover Holland? We've written more. Just click the link.