In this guide, we’ll explore the story of Anne Frank and what you can expect when you visit the museum, known locally as Anne Frank Haus. But first, let’s take a look at how you can get there.
Getting to Anne Frank House by train
Amsterdam is home to an excellent public transport network, which lets you get all around the city in no time. You can take a train, tram, metro, or a bus. All you need is a ticket or a multi-day pass, and you can hop on and off services at leisure.
Anne Frank House is located in the very heart of the city. It’s a beautiful canal-side setting with a rich and unique history. The entrance to the museum sits around the corner – you should be able to spot it by looking for the long line outside!
Which station is nearest to Anne Frank House?
The museum is a 20-minute walk from Amsterdam Central train station, and you’ll pass lots of picturesque spots along the way. We recommend the journey if you’d like to take in some of the city vibes while you’re there.
You might like to take the tram to Anne Frank House, saving your energy for other adventures. Simply hop on the 13 or 17 services, and alight at the Westermarkt stop.
A tour of Anne Frank House takes around an hour, although you can take longer if you’d like. Afterwards, you’ll find yourself in a bustling and beautiful part of the city, so spend a little time here and see what you can find. Or, jump back on a tram and head to any other part of Amsterdam. There’s plenty to explore, so you might find you’re spoilt for choice!
What to see at Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is more than just a museum. It has a story all of its own, as the location of Anne and her family’s famous secret annexe and the place they hid for over two years.
When you visit, you’ll explore letters, pictures, quotes, videos, and some original items that tell the story of Jewish life during the war.
Exploring the main house
The family went into hiding in July of 1942, in the building which housed Otto Frank’s business. They were later joined by the Van Pels family and another friend, Fritz Pfeffer. The building is split into two parts; the main house and the secret annexe.
When you visit today, you’ll start with a tour around the main house, which has been converted into a modern museum. As you pass through, you’ll see objects and reminders of the Jewish people who hid in the house for over two years.
The secret annexe where Anne and others hid was concealed behind a bookcase. This hinged bookcase worked like a thick door but covered the hidden space form Nazi searchers. It’s one of the most impactful things to look out for as you’re exploring the museum.
The secret annexe
Although the rest of the house has been converted into a museum, the annexe remains empty at the request of Otto Frank, Anne’s father. You’ll see the original simple décor and some moving touches, like height markings for Anne and her sister sketched up one wall. Anne grew over 13 centimetres during her 25 months in hiding, which sadly represents how long the family were concealed for.
Another feature of the secret annexe is a map of Normandy, marked with pins. The residents of the house followed the advice of the Allied Forces they heard over the radio, keeping track of their progress on the map.
Anne Frank’s room
As you walk around the annexe, which is surprisingly large, considering it remained concealed for over two years, you’ll also have the chance to visit Anne Frank’s room. She shared this space with Fritz Pfeffer, the German dentist who hid in the annexe.
A grown man sharing a bedroom with a teenage girl led to plenty of disagreements, with the two annoying each other frequently. We know about this from reading Anne’s diary. Since he was alone with two families, he started out by acting as a mediator when things became tense. But according to the journals, Fritz soon gave up this role.
The Diary Room
When you’ve finished looking around the annexe, you can visit the Diary Room. Here, you’ll find the original red diary which Anne Frank wrote her thoughts in. This was a gift for her 13th birthday, a few weeks before the family went into hiding. She filled the diary quickly, then move onto notebooks.
In March 1944, Anne heard that the government would be collecting diaries after the war. She decided to rewrite her entire diary since she’d always dreamed of becoming a famous journalist and saw the opportunity to get her work out into the world.
You can see sheets from the original and rewritten diaries of Anne Frank here, as well as her books of favourite quotes and short stories. Sadly for the teen, she wouldn’t live to the world fall in love with her legacy. Reading straight from the pages of these notebooks is an incredibly moving and often upsetting experience. Still, it will make you feel grateful for the life you live today, and every visit helps keep Anne’s story alive.
Anne Frank House History and Facts
So who was Anne Frank? What’s all the fuss about? In truth, Anne was just an ordinary Jewish girl living in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation. What makes her story so special is her documentation of it. The diaries of Anne Frank let us get up close with her family experiences during this terrible time of their lives. It’s an intimate look at a widely represented story, more real than any film or novel you can explore on the subject.
Moving to Amsterdam
The Franks were a German family. They moved to Amsterdam to escape developing antisemitism in Germany under the rule of the new leader Adolf Hitler. In Amsterdam, Otto Frank established his own company trading an ingredient used to produce jam.
It didn’t take long for the family to settle into Dutch life, with Anne and her older sister Margot attending a school near their home and making lots of new friends.
The Nazi invasion
In September 1939, when Anne was just 10 years old, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and began the Second World War. The invasion came to the Netherlands in May 1940, and the Nazis began introducing new laws to make life difficult for Jews.
The new rules made life different for Anne, who was too young to understand the extent of of the Nazi rule. During this time, Jewish people weren’t allowed to visit parks, cinemas, and some shops. Anne was eventually required to move schools.
Going into hiding
In July 1942, Anne’s sister Margot received a call to go to work at a ‘labour camp’ in Nazi Germany. Her parents were suspicious and decided to take the family into hiding to avoid persecution.
With the help of his colleagues, Otto Frank started building a secret hiding place in the annexe of his work premises. Before long, the family were joined by four others, and their hiding place became the cramped living area we can visit today.
The family discovered
Anne, her family, and the four others in the secret annexe were discovered in August 1944, over two years after they went into hiding. We still don’t know the reason for the police raid and whether it was the result of a tip or general suspicion about the house.
Two of their non-Jewish helpers retrieved some documents and personal items before the Nazis could clear out the secret annexe. Anne’s diaries were among these.
Anne and the others were sent to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in Poland. The journey lasted three days, during which time the family were held in unimaginable conditions inside a packed carriage. Anne, her mother, and her sister were separated from Otto, being sent to men’s and women’s parts of the camp.
By November 1944, the same year the secret annexe was discovered, Anne and Margot moved to Bergen-Belsen, another concentration camp in Germany. The two sisters both contracted typhoid due to the horrible conditions and died within a few weeks of each other in February 1945.
Discovering the diaries
Of the eight people who lived together in the secret annexe, Otto Frank, Anne’s father, was the only one to survive. He returned to Amsterdam and discovered Anne’s lengthy diaries. It’s no surprise that her father was very moved by her work. Friends convinced him to publish the writings in 1947.
Soon, Anne’s diaries had been translated into 70 languages and adapted for the stage and screen. People all over the world fell in love with Anne. The Anne Frank House was founded in 1960, with Otto Frank working closely with the establishment until his death 20 years later.
Restaurants, Bars, and Shops near Anne Frank House
The museum is a moving and often upsetting place to visit, although there are feelings of hope and strength to take away too. Thankfully, there are lots of great bars and restaurants in central Amsterdam where you can go to regroup after your experience.
Stroll around, and you’ll find what you’re looking for in no time. Whether you’re after a bite to eat, a meal, a hot drink, or a local beer, there’s plenty of choices nearby.
The museum café
Why not stop at the museum café after your tour? It’s a beautiful glass-walled spot boasting views of the Prinsengracht. You can grab a hot or cold drink and a snack or lunch, and help support the Anne Frank House even further.
The Anne Frank House shop
If you’re interested in reading her full diary after you visit Anne Frank House, you can pick up a copy in the gift shop. It’s available in several languages, with the English translation costing €12.90. You can also browse books, DVDs, and catalogues which look deeper into the story, as well as some adaptations for children.
Anne Frank House Opening Times and Ticket Prices
The Anne Frank House can only be visited with a pre-purchased online ticket and a pre-selected timeslot. This helps manage the length of the line outside and keeps things running smoothly. The museum opens at 09:00 every day, except on December weekdays when the opening time is 12:00.
How much does it cost to visit Anne Frank House?
The cost of your visit to the Anne Frank House will depend on a couple of things. Here are the most recent prices for 2020, but do check online in case any changes have been made before your visit.
Children (under 9)
Youths (aged 10-17)
Tickets (including €1 booking fee)
While everyone is welcome at the museum, there are lots of steep stairs inside the narrow terraced building. Visitors with reduced mobility might have problems getting up and down, so keep it in mind when you’re preparing for your visit.
There’s a free audio guide available for visitors to the Anne Frank House. Don’t go inside without grabbing one of these. The audio guide is available in nine languages. It provides lots of information about World War II, the people in hiding, and the objects you’ll see as you walk around.
Travelling to Amsterdam by train
It's easy to take the train to Amsterdam from many major destinations across Europe. Travel direct from London to Amsterdam in just 4h 2m on a high-speed Eurostar service, or why not jump on an equally high-speed Thalys train, and whizz from Paris to Amsterdam in just 3h 12m. Brussels to Amsterdam is also another well-connected route, taking just 1h 45m.
You can find out more about travelling around the Netherlands by train in our trains in the Netherlands guide.