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 visitors' list. And with this post, we'll make your visit extra special.
Enrich your Anne Frank house experience
We highly recommend that you spend half a day to a full day around Anne Frank and her life. Below you'll find suggestions for things to do to enhance your experience at the Anne Frank 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 museums. 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 pick and choose, of course. Just click on the links below to jump straight to the activity or read the full post 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 the day. It will make it easier to put yourself into Anne Franks' 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?
It's also useful to find out more about Anne's personal life. 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 reason, you should start the day with this 2-hour Guided Anne Frank walking tour in the area where Anne Frank 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 Anne's ordinary daily life from a historical perspective. Before, all the horrors of World War II unfolded.
It will give you more food for thought when you visit the back rooms of the Anne Frank house.
Pro and Cons walking tour
A private Anne Frank walking tour
You can also opt for a private Anne Frank walking tour, which is another excellent option for a guided Anne Frank walking tour.
With a private walking tour, it will be just you and the tour guide. A private tour will allow for some customization. It will also 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 on your way to the Anne Frank House, 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 Museum itself
After the walking tour, it's a great time to visit the Anne Frank House itself. With the stories fresh in your mind, it's a perfect time to see the house for yourself and experience the museum.
Why visit the Anne Frank House?
The Anne Frank House is one of the most well-known museums in Amsterdam, together with the Rijksmuseum 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 Anne's diary.
The Anne Frank House is impressive but at the same time, also very accessible and relatable.
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..”
Foto: Jac. de Nijs, Nationaal Archief / Anefo
Getting tickets for the Anne Frank House
Buying a ticket for the Anne Frank House is the number one problem most visitors face. But it shouldn't have to be. You have to know how to get them. And we'll explain exactly how you can.
You have to 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 at the museum so they can optimize the usage of space.
Buy your ticket to the Anne Frank House online and in advance
It's not possible to buy a ticket at the museum itself. Instead, you'll need to buy your ticket to the Anne Frank House museum online in advance. Those are the keywords: in advance and online.
Once on the website, you'll need to select a date and a time slot. The museum does this to spread the flow of people. It's also a benefit to you because with your time slot ticket you can enter the museum 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. So buying your ticket online is essential. Please don't buy them from any other place than the museum's website itself. The museum forbids reselling tickets. So when somebody does, it's often a scam.
When do tickets for the Anne Frank House become available?
Tickets for the Anne Frank House are released exactly two months in advance. As you can imagine, popular time slots will go quickly. Therefore book your tickets as soon as you can. But 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 the Anne Frank House Museum is 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 tickets 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. There will never be tickets available in person at the door.
What does a ticket to the Anne Frank House Museum cost?
Please check the Anne Frank Museums' website for current prices. Please note that also "free" tickets for pass holders require an online time slot reservation. For this reservation, you'll still pay a small fee.
E-tickets on your phone are accepted. There is no need to print your tickets 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 timeslot/ticket without a refund. So store your luggage at your hotel or at the train station.
For a small surcharge, you can participate in the optional introductory program before your visit to the museum. Buying this extra ticket 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 your visit into more perspective, and you'll have a much deeper understanding of what happened.
It's important to note that you can only buy a ticket for this program at the same time as your regular ticket. You can not upgrade at a later point.
And as a final note, the Anne Frank House does not provide refunds or exchanges. If you've missed your time slot or you have booked the wrong date, you've lost your ticket. You'll have to purchase a new ticket, again online. They will not re-book or change it at the museum.
How long does a visit to the Anne Frank House Museum take?
The recommended time for a regular visit is 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If you take the pre-visit introductory program, your visit 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.
During the visit itself, you'll receive 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 1 hour to 2 hours is accurate and enough time to see the museum and take it all in.
How to get to the Anne Frank Museum?
The Anne Frank House is located in the city center. The address is Prinsengracht 263. The entrance to the Anne Frank museum 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 many visitors that visit 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) the museum closes at 7 p.m. except on Saturdays when it closes at 9 p.m.
Is the Anne Frank House Museum Accessible?
The Anne Frank House is, as you might expect, not a great place to visit if you have difficulties walking. It's an old private residence house with many (steep) stairs and no room for an elevator.
The place where Anne Frank stayed was hidden. As you can imagine, there was no grand entrance. If you have difficulties walking, climbing these steep stairs might be difficult or even impossible.
Visitors using a wheelchair can only visit the new part of the museum, not the original house. For that reason, it's, in our opinion, not worth it to visit the Anne Frank House if you are in a wheelchair.
You can get a lot of historical information online as well, and that is what you'll find in the new area. Being in the original old house, in the rooms, going through the cabinet, in other words, following Anne Franks' footsteps, is what makes this such a special place to visit.
If that is not possible for you, then we would recommend visiting one of the other recommendations in this article.
3. The National Monument on Dam square
After the Anne Frank House, we would go to the Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum).
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 Anne Frank.
On your way to that museum, 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. Holland 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 Amsterdam Schiphol airport.
If you happen to be in Amsterdam on May 4th, then we highly recommend attending this ceremony in person. It's something you won't forget. It's free of charge, and no ticket is needed. 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)
The Resistance Museum is often called the "Best Historical Museum in the Netherlands." We quite agree. 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.
And 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 at this fantastic museum.
It's just amazing to see, even the darkest of times, that humanity can still be incredible. And that love prevails.
I hold dear memories to this museum. I was in primary school when I visited this museum 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.
The museum is open daily. They only close on January 1st, Kings Day (April 27th), and December 25th.
Please check the museum's website for current ticket prices and opening hours. An audio tour is available to you free of charge.
The address of the Resistance Museum 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 the Netherlands and then to the Nazi death camps.
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 visit. 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 (Verzetsmuseum).
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 give you entrance to five museums, and all are worth exploring. Your experience will be better if you're rested and have time to explore.
Your all-in-one ticket is valid for these five museums: The Jewish Historical Museum, the Children's Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, and the National Holocaust Memorial & Museum.
All are worth a visit. 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 has them discover 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.
You can reach the Jewish Historical Museum (Joods Historisch Museum) by 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 Museum.
The Jewish Historical Museum (Joods Historisch Museum) is very close to the resistance museum and the Dutch theater.
You can buy an all in one ticket here for these five museums combined. You don't have to rush your visit because tickets are valid for 30 days.
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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 Holland in general during WWII. And that it made your visit to the Anne Frank House extra special. Have you used this itinerary? If so please tell us about your experience. We would love to hear from you!