Where Anne Frank Wrote Her Diary

When you are in Amsterdam, be sure to include a visit to the Anne Frank House, the Frank family’s wartime hiding place: the place where a young Jewish girl wrote her diary. The Anne Frank House is very popular and visited by over a million visitors every year. That’s why it is best to buy your ticket online.

‘Our room looked very bare at first with nothing on the walls; but thanks to Daddy who had brought my film-star collection and picture postcards on beforehand, and with the aid of a paste pot and brush, I have transformed the walls into one gigantic picture. This makes it look much more cheerful’. Anne Frank, July 11th 1942.

The Diary of Anne Frank has been translated into many languages

The Anne Frank House

Entry to the house is through a modern reception area, built to deal with the many visitors. Anne herself entered up a narrow creaky staircase. She walked through the front office of her father’s company to the unused part at the back of the canal house. A filing cabinet stuffed with files and paperwork concealed the entrance to the back house. This secret door to the hiding place is now permanently open. The rooms are without furniture and the windows are blinded. The semi-darkness reflects the atmosphere in the house while the Frank family lived here. The Nazis removed all furniture after the family had been discovered. Miep Gies, an office worker and helper of the family, found Anne’s diary. After the war, she gave it to Otto Frank, Anne’s father. He was the only member of the family to survive.

Every Day Life in the Secret Annex

Wandering through the rooms, you will ask yourself how it was possible for the family to live in such a confined space for two years. Creaking floorboards and subdued voices show that moving about was clearly audible. Blinds were down, curtains closed so that neighbours would not see lights or activity in the house. The family were very restricted in their movements: no walking about, no loud talking, no flushing of the toilet. The office workers on the floor below mustn’t hear any sound from above. Evenings and weekends were slightly more relaxed, but there was always the fear of being discovered. The family almost became self-sufficient, but this was only possible with the help from friends outside.

Anne Frank’s Room

Walking through the house, you notice almost uncanny normality such as pencil marks on the wall indicating the growth of Anne and her elder sister Margot. In Anne’s room, you get a glimpse of what she saw every day: posters on the wall, pictures of famous movie stars. The room is now empty, but two beds and a table crammed the space. Anne had to share this room with middle-aged Fritz Pfeffer. She did not get on with him and they often quarrelled especially about the bedroom table. Anne wanted to sit there and write entries in her diary.

Anne Frank’s Diary

The red-checkered diary, a present on Anne’s thirteenth birthday, is on permanent display in the diary exhibition room, as well as the second and third diary, the Verhaaltjesboek (Tales from the secret Annexe) and the Mooie Zinnenboek (beautiful sentences book). You will see a rotating selection of forty brittle loose sheets of the reworked novel version of the diary. Anne started working on this diary-novel after listening to a radio broadcast. The Secretary of Education and Science in exile urged people to keep letters and diaries. The aim was to publish them after the war as valuable war documentation. In May 1944, Anne started reworking her diary into a novel. The journal as we know it today is a combination of the original diary and the novel-to-be.

Anne Frank House Postcard

This illustration clearly shows that the House at the Prinsengracht 267, where the Frank family was in hiding consists of two parts. On the left Otto Frank’s office which overlooked the canal and the street. At the back is a second house known as the Achterhuis (achter meaning back and huis meaning house). The Frank family was hiding from the Nazis in the two top floors.

 

Amsterdam-Now Tip:

Skip the long waiting queue. Buy a combined ticket; Anne Frank House & Jewish Amsterdam and save €4.


The Long Waiting Queue at Anne Frank House

Address

Anne Frank House

Prinsengracht 263-267

Amsterdam

Opening Hours The Anne Frank House is open 7 days a week 1 November – 31 March: 09.00-19.00, Saturdays until 21.00 1 April – 31 October: 09.00-21.00, Saturdays until 22.00 During July and August every day from 09.00-22.00

photo credits (diary) heatheronhertravels, (Waiting Queue and Anne Frank in print) & Marianne Crone,

Anne Frank House