The funny thing about being a traveler is that you’ve seen amazing places in the world some people haven’t even heard of, but when it comes to your own country you’re lucky if you’ve seen the highlights. Every time I get visitors from out of town, I’m made painfully aware of it and this time was no different. When my friend and her husband showed me their to-do list for the few days they would be spending here in The Netherlands, I felt ashamed to admit that there were things on there I hadn’t even seen yet. The most prominent one being the Anne Frank house!
Blessing in disguise
When we get there, a long line marks the unique building holding the hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her diary during the Second World War. Fortunately, due to an unfortunate fall the day before which left my American guest black and blue, with a limp and broken finger, we are allowed to skip the line. In this case the Dutch saying ‘een geluk bij een ongeluk’ which literally translated means a blessing at an accident, could not be more accurate 😉
We follow the set route through the former warehouse of Otto Frank’s business to where the offices and storeroom used to be. The objects, photos and furniture, demonstrate what each room was used for. The landing with the movable bookcase is self-explanatory. It conceals the door to the annex and was especially made for this purpose.
Now our secret Annex has truly become secret
If it weren’t for the reasons behind it, it would have been pretty cool!
It feels strange entering the secret annex after reading and hearing so much about it. I imagined it to be smaller, but it actually is quite spacious. Unlike the rest of the museum the rooms in the annex are deliberately left empty as a symbol of the void left behind by the millions of people who were deported and never returned. This definitely strengthens the feelings you experience while walking there. As do the pictures on the wall in Anne’s room and the closed curtains everywhere.
During the day our curtains can’t be opened, not even an inch
Out of respect taking pictures inside the house is not allowed, but don’t worry it’s an experience you’re not likely to ever forget! I was genuinely impressed and touched by this museum. It’s a part of history everyone should know about and it’s definitely a museum everyone should visit at least once when in Amsterdam.
To build a future you have to know the past
Sadly, even after all those years, whether it’s in Europe, the Middle East or the United States of America, Otto Frank’s words could not be more true today. “We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. It’s everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice”