Anne Frank House

Whilst I was in Amsterdam over the Summer I also got chance to visit the Anne Frank House. Somewhere I have wanted to visit since reading her diary as a teenager.

Visitors are not allowed to take photos, so i just have a few from the outside. The spice factory where the Franks hid looks perfectly ordinary from the outside (I guess that was the whole point).  Once inside the museum, you are led through a series of rroms that were part of the factory. These rooms do a very sensitive job of building up the atmosphere of the period using extracts from the diary and other supporting objects. After climbing some very steep stairs you are asked to pass behind a bookcase to the Secret Annex.

The rooms the families occupied are stark. There are very few objects, principly the photos  of film stars Anne pasted on the walls and lines on the walls recording the children’s heights. Very ordinary.

The few things displayed in the rest of the museum were very thoughtfully displayed, especially Anne’s diary. It was in the middle of a room on its own.

One of the things I really wated to see was the exhibition about free speech. It showed video about the boundaries of free speech in modern society and asked visitors to vote on wether they agreed with them or not. For example, should the muslim cartoons have been allowed to have been published in Dutch newspapers last year? This was really interesting and sucessfully put the intolerance of the second world war into the context of modern society.

Well worth a visit if you are in Amsterdam, but remember to book tickets before.

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