Anne Frank House

A few square metres of timelessness in central Amsterdam, it's a transcendental experience that many put into words. Here's my go.

Anne Frank House

I walked from Amsterdam Central Station. Each canal is lined with blooming flowers and every street is yet always more eye-catching. You do not expect the terrors of World War II to haunt this youthful and vibrant city. But there it is, all the same, a memory planted between ancient Dutch architecture: Anne Frank's house.

Visitors to the house were diverse not only in culture but also age range. From seven-year olds to grandparents. Although some argue that history is not relevant to everyone, it is universally agreed this particularly horrific part of history most definitely is.

The experience of Anne Frank's house was brought to life massively by audio guides. I'm not talking about a hefty radio and headphones, but instead a tiny remote you scan at a certain point in each room. It was nifty and easy to use; the guide contained basic information, quotes read out in character from the diary, and a deeper insight into what events occurred both inside and outside the attic during those years. However, tactfully, the guide paused for a few rooms as we visited the 'hiding place'.

Cramped: that word describes it in one. As we trod behind the swinging bookcase – that would have been very cool had the circumstances been utterly different – and through the tiny bedrooms, I marvelled at it. How could you not? These people lived in complete isolation, seclusion and discomfort for years. Only to be led to their death.

A huge variety of nationalities visit daily and the house, in the simplicity of its displays and hushed museum-like interior, it would appeal to everyone. Always thought-provoking, I marvel at how Anne Frank managed to write a diary of pure timelessness. She is incandescent.

Anne Frank's bedroom was covered in posters. I thought back to my own bedroom in England and similarly, the walls are plastered with posters and photos. Two teenage girls, both writers of sorts, but I would never see the high walls of Bergen-Belsen.


Sienna James

Sienna James Activist

Let's talk art, politics, TED.

Formerly home-educated and now studying the lot: history, politics, creative writing, media.

Give me anything Italian and I'm happy.

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  • Luke Taylor

    On 29 August 2017, 12:36 Luke Taylor commented:

    Wow! What an amazing piece of history

  • Joanna Bailey

    On 28 February 2018, 10:17 Joanna Bailey commented:

    I went there a couple of weeks ago now. I agree it's an incredibly moving experience. Nice review, Sienna :)

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