A guide to visiting the Anne Frank House (and how to skip the queue)

Back in October I spent a week in Amsterdam. On my first day in the city, I visited the Anne Frank House - a place I have wanted to visit for many years. The museum is arguably Amsterdam's most famous and popular attractions, as a result I was half expecting to underwhelmed by a tourist trap, but luckily I was wrong and had a humbling experience.

Getting there
The museum is located at Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands.
It is very well signposted around the city and we had no problems find it. To get your bearings, I would suggest taking a canal cruise around the city - the Anne Frank house was pointed out to us on the cruise (most of which start near Centraal Station) .

The queue
My number one tip when visiting this attraction is to book in advanced. The famous queue is long and slow moving; you can expect to be stood in the queue or at least 45 minutes, and a lot longer during holidays. When only visiting a city for a few days, time is precious...

To skip the queue, you can purchase advanced tickets up to two months in advanced from the official website. You must pick a date and a time slot, so plan effectively. From 9:00 to 3:30 the museum is only open to visitors with an online ticket (all of which have very specific timeslot), after 3:30, tickets can be purchased at the entrance.

If you do choose to queue, be aware that the queue can be closed up to two hours before the museums closing time, so don't leave it to the last minute.

Introductory Programme
Although we managed to miss the normal advanced tickets online, we were able to buy some more expensive ones through the official site - these included a 30 minute introductory programme. This talk had information about WW2 and Anne Frank /her family. Although I knew the majority of this information already (I tried to read as much of the book that morning in the airport) it was done very well and used visual aids. This would be good in particular for children or any adults who did not know much about the Frank family in advanced and there was plenty of time for Q's and A's.
These tickets are sold two weeks in advanced so a good second chance if you missed the normal ticket sale.

Note: with an introductory programme ticket, you do not have to go to the talk, however as you have paid the extra you might as well go.

What I personally liked about the museum
 - Easy to find as it is well signposted around the city
 - It felt modern and well designed - with a good ratio of written information alongside videos which had subtitles in English and Dutch. Towards the end there are longer videos with lots of seating
 - I got to see an Oscar (Academy Award) in real life - along with seeing the original diary, this was the highlight of the museum for me as I had no idea it would be there. The original diary was on display also.
- The museum had a respectful feel - at no point did I feel that the Frank family were being exploited. Visitors also were acting appropriately  - I never heard loud talking or inappropriate comments.
 - The gift shop at the end was really nice- I purchased a limited edition book,fr a reasonable price, the diary was also available in a whole load of languages.

What to know before you go
You cannot take any videos or photos in the museum  - hence the lack of photos in this post!

You cannot take in any large luggage. Even some rucksacks will be deemed to large - you must leave these in your accommodation or in the Central Station and will be simply turned away. Buggies however can be left at the central hall, near to the entrance.

It will be busy, at some points this means you will feel rushed and at other times, you will want to move ahead but will have to wait for the people in front of you to move on.

The stairs are steep - if you have seen the movie, The Fault in Our Stars, you will have seen the steps. These must be climbed and there isn't an alternative - therefore if you have limited mobility you cannot visit. I find this a real shame as I know my grandparents would love to visit - but wouldn't be able to manage the steps.

There are obviously upsetting parts and some which may not be suitable for children, although nothing was particularly graphic, If taking children then I would educate them about the Holocaust in advanced to prepare them.

Why not add this to your bucket list...

Thank you for reading, Rachel


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