Q is for Queues
In among the canals, the bikes, the red light district and the “coffee” shops that sell marijuana is The Anne Frank House at Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam. We were just strolling about when we came across the Anne Frank House, now a museum.
I was introduced to Anne Frank by my year 9 English teacher when we studied the novel, The Diary of Anne Frank. Since its publication in 1947, Anne Frank’s Diary has sold over 30 million copies and been translated in to over 70 languages.
A prescribed text for many high school students of the sixties, for my thirteen year old self it was a story of a young girl, about my age, living in a pretty terrible situation but to be honest back then I knew, and understood even less, about the Holocaust. But I guess the novel study did its job, because here I was decades later, remembering those year 9 English classes and very keen to go through the Anne Frank House.
So I joined the queue. And my goodness, it was a very long queue. More than a million people each year visit the hiding place of the Frank family of 4, another family of 3 and 1 other man in the “Secret Annexe” above Otto Frank’s business.
I was there in 2014 so please note the added information here from https://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/amsterdam-tip-avoiding-lines-at-anne-frank-house.htmls.Editor’s Note: We originally published this article in 2014 when visitors would have to line up (sometimes for several hours!) to get into the Anne Frank House. Now you can only visit with online tickets. We have updated the information to reflect the most recent changes to the ticketing system as of May 2019.
So I was in a queue of epic proportions which seemed to stretch out forever. One good thing was that the queue was moving and as it moved more and more people joined the end. This certainly is a popular attraction in Amsterdam.
But the thing that impressed me most was this; there were hundreds of people going through the “house” that day, the museum allows the visitor, to experience the Anne Frank story through quotes, photos, videos, her original diary and other personal items. It is all very authentic. AND you could simply feel the sobriety and respect, you could hear a pin drop. There was no chatter, no small talk, nothing to laugh at or about; if people needed to speak, they did so in a subdued whisper. It really was quite surreal.
For over two years Anne described the events of her daily life in hiding, told stories and shared her innermost thoughts in her diary which after the war she intended to publish. Of the 8 people hiding in the annex, only Otto Frank, Anne’s father, survived; he was liberated from Auschwitz by Soviet soldiers in January 1945. It was he who published Anne’s diary in 1947.
Anne was an ordinary young girl thrown into an extraordinary situation. Her personal recount of wartime persecution, racism and anti-Semitism is a powerful and true story.
This was one queue worth standing in.