A visit to the Anne Frank House is on the list of every visitor to Amsterdam. Lines at the museum are enormous every day. It’s not exactly a hidden gem. However, most people pop in and out and leave it at that.
With this post, I aim to give you a deeper understanding of her history and the time she lived by including less visited but also interesting sights to learn more about Anne Frank in Amsterdam and her history.
And I want to give you tips for an optimal museum visit. Because getting in is not as simple as just showing up at the museum, please follow the information in this blog post to avoid disappointment.
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Day itinerary for an in-depth Anne Frank in Amsterdam experience
Below is a list of activities I recommend you choose from to create a more in-depth experience. What to choose depends on your available time and your interests. All are good choices.
If you can spend a day around the theme of Anne Frank in Amsterdam, you can cover most things on this list. If you are short on time, you can, of course, pick and choose.
1. Anne Frank Walking Tour
A guided Anne Frank walking tour is a great option to start your day. This experience will make it much easier to follow in Anne’s footsteps.
- How was life in Amsterdam before the Nazis came and after?
- What was it like to resist the Nazis in this city?
- What risks did people take by helping others?
- Anne was also just a girl. What was her personal life like?
- Where did she live, play, and go to school after she fled Germany and before she went into hiding?
Questions like these will bring the story to life, put it into perspective, and make it more tangible. Because of that, I think it’s wise to start the day with this 2-hour tour in the area where she spent her childhood. And only then visit the museum.
It’s important to note that you will embark with a knowledgeable guide. Still, the purpose of this walk is not to enjoy the beautiful sites of Amsterdam but to learn about the life of Anne Frank in Amsterdam from a historical perspective. Her young life at one point was paused every day.
Pros and Cons of the walking tour
Anne Frank Walking Tour in Amsterdam with Get Your Guide © Get Your Guide
- Learn about Anne’s life in Amsterdam
- Knowledgeable guide
- Makes your actual visit more interesting
- See monuments in the Jewish quarter
- Small group experience
- Great value for money
- 2-hour walk with a guide
- Money back guarantee if you did not enjoy the tour
- This is not a tour that highlights the attractions of Amsterdam but highlights the life of Anne Frank in Amsterdam
- It’s conducted mainly in ordinary neighborhoods. It’s the story that matters.
- Don’t expect nerve-wracking stories. It’s the story of a child.
2. The Bests Way to Visit The Anne Frank House Itself
After the walking tour, it’s a great time to visit the museum. With the stories fresh in your mind, it’s a perfect time to see the rooms Anne had to hide in for years without being able to get outside once. Try to imagine that!
Why visit the Anne Frank House?
The Anne Frank House is one of the most well-known things to do in Amsterdam as it should be. It’s quite an experience to suddenly stand in the rooms you know so well from her diary.
What I like about this museum, compared to many other holocaust experiences, is that the message comes home. It’s also relatable, and it’s not scary or so intense that your day is ruined, maybe because it’s such a human story.
It’s the story of a young girl hiding during World War II who did not survive the Nazi camps. 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.“— Otto Frank (Anne’s father)
Getting tickets for the Anne Frank House
Buying admission to the Anne Frank House is the number one problem most visitors face.
Remember, this was a family home, not a purposely built visitor center to accommodate the many visitors today. For this reason, there is, for example, NO ticket office to optimize space usage.
Tickets are ONLY available online and in advance. Don’t be fooled by companies offering “tickets.” Those won’t be for the actual house since the Anne Frank House Museum ONLY sells those.
It’s not possible to buy a ticket at the house itself. You can only buy them online and in advance. Those are the two magic words: in advance and online.
Once on the website, you must select a date and a time slot. This is to spread the flow of people. PS: Making a reservation online also applies to pass holders.
Many people unknowingly show up without getting their tickets online, wait in the long line, and then are sent away once they get to the front. Don’t let this happen to you.
When do tickets for the Anne Frank House 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.
What to do if tickets to the Museum are sold out?
Don’t despair yet if you’re traveling on short notice and tickets show as unavailable. If your time slot or date is sold out, you are not out of luck yet. Only 80% of the time slots are released in advance. The other 20% is available on the day at 9 a.m. local time.
Go online as close to 9 a.m. (Amsterdam time) 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 also 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 lose your time slot/admission without a refund. Store your luggage at your hotel or 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 I 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 when you purchase your regular ticket. You can not upgrade at a later point. Buy it together with your regular ticket.
And as a final note, you won’t be able to get a refund or exchange if you miss your time slot or have booked the wrong date. 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 to the Anne Frank Museum take?
The recommended time for a regular visit by the museum is 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If you also take the introductory program, your stay will take 30 minutes longer. Again we highly recommend this because it will give you a much better understanding of what you’re about to experience.
Everybody is offered a complimentary audio tour. Make sure to accept this because it will bring the story to life again, and there is no extra charge. The audio time is available in different languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish).
My experience is that 1 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 museum is a 20-minute walk from Amsterdam Central Station. Alternatively, you can take the tram. Different lines stop nearby.
Do you need a public transport pass?
I recommend getting a GVB (multi)day pass before you go if you plan to spend much time in Amsterdam. It’s not a big city, but walking from the Rijksmuseum to the Anne Frank House is not a short walk. Taking the tram is quick, easy, and safe.
There are multiple ways of buying these passes. I recommend getting them from Get Your Guide: Public Transport Ticket for Amsterdam. Then exchange your voucher once you get to the city center. There are two locations at Central Station to do so.
If you (plan to) purchase an I Amsterdam City Card, you don’t need a separate pass since transportation is included.
What are the opening hours of the Anne Frank House Museum?
The museum has extended opening hours to accommodate the high volume of visitors daily. It opens from early morning to late at night, seven days a week. Have a look at the museum’s website for current opening hours.
Is the museum accessible?
As you might expect, this is not a great place to go if you struggle 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. Walking or climbing steep stairs might be difficult or even impossible if you have difficulties walking or climbing steep stairs.
Visitors using a wheelchair can only go to the new part of the museum and watch the exhibition, not the original house. For that reason, it’s, in my opinion, not worth it to go when you have mobility issues and are unable to climb a steep staircase.
You’ll find historical data in the new area, which is more 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, makes this such a special place.
3. The National Monument on Dam Square
After your visit, I would go to the Resistance Museum or the Jewish Museums. On the way to either one, 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 lost during World War II but also in conflicts since.
It’s aired on national television, an army orchestra will play music, and people (often youth) will read poems.
At 8 p.m., life in the country comes to a complete halt. Quite literally.
On May 4th at 8 p.m. every year, 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 at Dam Square. It’s something you won’t forget. It’s free of charge. However, many people come to Dam Square, so they get there early and expect heavy security because the Royal Family also attends.
Also, don’t take any large bags with you. You most likely will not be allowed in.
You can watch the entire ceremony on TV if you can’t make it in person. 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 its meaning to the nation.
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 Nazis. And they did so at significant personal risk.
The resistance did not only help those in need, by the way. They also tried to fight the Nazis in whichever way they could, like misleading them. You’ll learn all about it here. The children’s sections are especially impressive, also for us adults.
Even in the darkest times, seeing that humanity can still be good is incredible. It just goes to show that love prevails. When you’ve visited the Anne Frank House, this is an excellent museum to see next and learn about the people who helped Anne Frank in Amsterdam when they were hiding and so many other families.
I hold dear memories of this place. I was in primary school when I went with my class. I still remember how I felt 35-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 value. It was all engrained in that one visit.
The museum is open daily. You can buy your tickets here. An audio tour is available to you free of charge. The I Amsterdam City Card is also valid at this location. Read my post to see if this card is worth it for you.
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 entertain the Jewish community in Amsterdam.
That was until 1942, when 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 elsewhere in The Netherlands and then to the Nazi death camps. It never became a theater again.
Today the Dutch Theater is a Holocaust memorial featuring 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 do need a ticket (which is also valid for three other locations, see below)
6. Jewish Historical Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue
A ticket to Jewish Historical Museum gives you not access to one but four different museums. Including the Holocaust museum mentioned above and the Portuguese Synagogue. All are worth exploring.
Your all-in-one pass is valid for these four locations: The Jewish Historical Museum, the Children’s Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, and the National Holocaust Memorial & Museum for 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 engagingly.
The Jewish Historical Museum will give a broader perspective into Jewish life in Holland. Earlier in the day, we focused mainly on the life of Anne Frank in Amsterdam. Still, she was one of many, and this museum gives you a better understanding of Jewish life in the city.
The Holocaust Museum tells the story of sorrow, death but also the story of courage and survival. It’s located in a building where many Jews were smuggled to safety.
All these locations are in the Jewish quarter and very close to each other.
Which Anne Frank related Activity Are You Most Curious About?
I’d love to hear your thoughts: Are you planning to do any other activity than the Anne Frank House? Did this post changed your plans? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation 💬.
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